Cable Y-raise exercise

Cable Y-raise

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: Lateral Deltoid
  • Synergists: Supraspinatus, Teres Minor, Infraspinatus, Middle and Lower Trapezius, Serratus Anterior, Anterior Deltoid, Posterior Deltoid
  • Mechanics: Isolation
  • Force: Pull

Starting position

  1. Stand facing between two low cable pulleys, with each hand holding the handle of the cable of the opposite pulley.
  2. Step back so that the cables are pulled taut. The cables should be crossed in front of your hips.


  1. Keeping your elbows moderately flexed, exhale as you raise your arms upwards and outwards, forming the letter ‘Y’ with your whole body.
  2. Inhale as you reverse the motion and lower the cables to the starting position.
  3. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Comments and tips

  • The cable Y-raise is a fantastic exercise for the whole shoulder (deltoid). It is one of very few exercises that activates all fibers of the deltoid: anterior, lateral, and posterior.
  • Along with the dumbbell Scott press, the dumbbell armpit row and the upright row, the cable Y-raise is one of very few exercises that targets the lateral deltoid.
  • Keep your elbows moderately flexed and your torso upright throughout the exercise.
  • This exercise combines horizontal shoulder abduction with external shoulder rotation. Strengthening the external shoulder rotators (i.e. the posterior deltoid, teres minor, and infraspinatus) is important to balance strengthening the internal shoulder rotators (i.e. the pectoralis major, latissimus dorsi, anterior deltoid, subscapularis, and teres major). Many gym-goers strengthen the latter much more than they strengthen the former, leading to should joint problems.
  • For other exercises that strengthen the external shoulder rotators, see the dumbbell lying external shoulder rotation and the cable face pull.

Cable Y-raise video

The first exercise in this video is the cable Y-raise. Form can be improved by flexing the elbows a little more.


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