Lateral-Pull Machine Types of Exercises
Cable machines and similar devices are versatile exercise tools that let you move through a wide range of motion. For example, a single-cable machine lets you perform pulling exercises that target a variety of muscle groups. Lateral-pulling exercises tend to target your shoulders, but you can find alternatives that work other areas, such as your core or hips.
Work the Lateral Deltoids
Lateral raises not only require movements in a lateral direction but target the lateral deltoid muscle on top of each shoulder. To perform a lateral raise with a low-cable machine, hold the cable’s handle in your right hand, with your elbow slightly flexed, and stand with your left shoulder toward the machine. Pull the handle sideways and up from your right hip until your hand is about shoulder high, while maintaining your elbow flex. Perform eight to 12 repetitions with each arm. Do a two-handed version by standing between a pair of low-cable machines. As with all resistance exercises, warm up with five to 10 minutes of light cardio work before you start pulling the cable.
External Rotation Exercises
Shoulder external rotation exercises target rotator-cuff muscles, such as the infraspinatus and teres minor, as well as the posterior deltoids at the back of each shoulder. Hold a medium cable’s handle in your right hand and turn your left shoulder to the machine. Begin with your elbow by your right side and your forearm horizontal across your midsection. Keep the elbow in place as you pull the handle as far to your right as you can. Do eight to 12 reps with each arm.
Twisting the Obliques
Rotating your torso to pull a cable typically targets the obliques at the sides of your abdomen, while a variety of core, chest and back muscles assist or stabilize your movements. Perform a seated twist by sitting on a bench with your right hip directed at a medium-cable machine. Hold the cable in both hands in front of your chest with your arms straight and your torso rotated to face the machine. Keep your elbows locked as you pull laterally as far as possible to your left. Do 12 reps and then repeat the exercise with your left hip facing the machine. You can also do a standing twist with a medium-cable machine or use a low-cable machine to perform a Russian twist with your back on top of a stability ball.
Pulling for Your Hips
Your arms aren’t the only things that can pull a cable. Attach a low cable to an ankle cuff and you can perform pulling exercises that target your hip muscles. To work your abductors, sit on a bench with your left side turned toward the machine. Attach the cuff to your right ankle and position the ankle behind your left foot. Keep your thighs in place as you pull your cuffed ankle laterally to your right, as far as you can. Target your adductors by standing with your right side toward the machine and the cuff on your right ankle. Step away from the machine so your leg is straight and extended to your right and your foot is roughly knee-high. Pull your ankle as far as possible to your left while your knee remains locked. Perform eight to 12 reps with both legs for each exercise.