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Single-Arm Cable Reverse Pulls

By RealJock Staff

This exercise provided courtesy of Mike Clausen, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.

Athletes love cable machine exercises because they mimic the continuous movement patterns they use while playing sports. The single-arm cable reverse pull provides continuous tension in your deltoids throughout the range of motion, strengthening both your rear delts and your traps.

Muscles worked
Rear deltoids, trapezius muscles

Starting position
Stand perpendicular to a cable system machine approximately two feet from the machine, so that your left side is closest to the machine. Attach a single-handed grip to the cable and set to the lowest setting, just off the floor. Bend your knees slightly and bend over at your waist, making sure to keep your back flat. Hold the grip in your right hand with your right arm slightly bent, directly over your left knee and in front of your left foot. (See Photo 1).


  1. From the starting position, pull the cable in front of your legs and then up to the right of you in one continuous arc, until the cable is fully extended up slightly past the plane of your upper back. Make sure your right elbow is slightly bent throughout the range of motion and your shoulder blades are retracted. Squeeze your rear deltoid muscles while you pull your arm out and back (See Photos 2 and 3).
  2. When you have reached a fully extended position, reverse the movement and bring the cable back to the starting position (see Photo 4).
  3. When you have completed a set using your right arm, turn around and repeat the exercise using your left arm.
About Mike Clausen: Clausen is the founder and co-owner of Diakadi Body Personal Training and Wellness Center, which was voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. He has been actively involved in sports and weightlifting since high school, and continues to use that knowledge when training his clients. Clausen is both A.C.E. and N.A.S.M. certified and has been training clients professionally for six years. He enjoys making his clients stronger, both physically and mentally, giving them the tools to create an efficient body and to do things they thought were not possible.