This exercise provided courtesy of Billy Polson, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
To target the complex of muscles at the back of the shoulder and between your shoulder blades, pull cables in opposing directions, from shoulder level down to hip level. The crossing motion directs the tension of the cables toward the back of the shoulder, an area that can be difficult to target.
Shoulders (deltoids, traps)
Set both arms of a cable machine at the high setting, without any attachments on the cables. Stand facing the machine with your feet hip-width apart and cross the cables by taking the end of each cable in the opposite hand—the left cable in your right hand and the right cable in your left hand. Your arms should extend straight toward the machine, at shoulder level, with your palms facing downward. Your knees should be soft, legs stable, chest high, and shoulder blades retracted throughout this exercise (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, pull both arms diagonally down in a wide arc at a 45-degree angle to your body, keeping your arms extended as you pull. Pull as quickly and as powerfully as you can while maintaining form and control. At the bottom of your motion, your hands will be at your sides at hip level and slightly behind you (see Photos 2 to 4).
- Allow your arms to return to the starting position, following the same arc as before, and keeping your hands wide as they rise and come forward. Don't let your hands come all the way together at the top; keep them shoulder-width apart to maintain tension on the cables between repetitions. Repeat the cross-backs for a full set of 12 repetitions (see Photos 5 and 6).