Best Upper Body Workout Using Cables

Cables are a really versatile way to work out. But because they’re so versatile, sometimes it’s impossible to know what you should be doing with them. 

How many times have you been at the gym and stared down at the box of attachments – without a clue as to what they all do? And when you do finally decide on a handle, how do you know if you have it set up right? What height do you need it at, and have you picked the right one for what you want to work? 

These are definitely the questions that go through a lot of people’s heads when training. 

And knowing which one does what is half the battle. Because as soon as you know which attachments to use as well as how to use them, you can have much better control over your workouts. 

Below, we go through the main types of cable attachment as well as what exercises you can do to make sure you get a full upper body workout. 

What is a cable system? 

fitness expert uses mirafit tricep rope for pulldown exercises

Most gyms have a cable machine. They will usually be either a large rig with which you can do cable crossover style exercises. Or they will be smaller stations where you can do things like tricep pulldowns – or they may have both. 

They work similarly to the resistance machines where your muscles are under constant tension as you either pull, curl or row. They’re very functional and great for building strength and muscle. 

However, if like us you train at home, it’s unlikely you’re going to have the room for a massive rig in your garage. 

But all you need is a power rack with a cable system and you’re good to go.  

These include: 

  • M1 200kg Half Power Rack – with cable system 
  • M1 250kg Power Rack – with cable system 
  • M2 350kg Power Rack – with cable system 
  • M2 360kg Power Rack – with cable system 

And if you’re not set up with one yet, you can find them all in our power racks section. 

On the cable system, there are weight sleeves at the bottom for loading your weight plates.  

You’ll also see two attachment points: one at the top and one at the bottom. It’s at these points that you can clip your cable attachment handles for training with.  

Cable machine benefits 

So, why use cables? 

There are so many benefits to using cable systems. Here’s why: 

  • Lower risk of injury – when using cables, you’re not actually carrying the weight. So, you can train to failure without the need for a spotter. 
  • Guided movements – cable machines help to guide your movements which in turn will help you make sure you’re targeting the right areas for each specific exercise. 
  • Tension/quality of movement – just like resistance bands, cables keep your muscles under constant tension as you train which really improves the quality of each rep. This will also help you maximise your gains.  
  • Functional – by maintaining tension on your muscles as you train, you can use cables to improve your functional fitness levels. 
  • Efficient – when you don’t have much time on your hands, you can still get a good workout in using cables. They’re quick and easy to set up, helping you get the most out of your time in the gym. 
  • Part of your power rack workout – you don't need loads of room to get a great workout at home. Simply upgrade your Mirafit power rack with a cable system to use cables on top of your heavy lifts. 
  • Get a complete workout – by having a power rack with a cable system in your garage gym, you’ll be able to get a full body workout. 
  • Engage your core as you train – cables work your core as you train so you can get more out of your time spent training. 

Best cable exercises 

a selection of mirafit cable attachments

So, now you know why cables are so good, let’s move onto which ones you should be using and for what exercises. 

To be honest, there’s such a wide range of handles – all with slightly different purposes. But which ones you choose is often a personal preference. There’s no right or wrong. 

However, if you’re just getting started and want to get a great upper body workout, the below exercises are just the ticket. 

For the exercises, we’re using: 

Cable back exercises 

These exercises will help you target your upper and middle back. Remember to squeeze your shoulders together as you train. 

  • Wide grip lat pulldown  
  • Face pull 
  • Reverse lat pulldown 
  • Seated row 
  • Bent over row 

Cable chest exercises 

The benefit of doing chest exercises with cables is that you can train each side individually. This is great for avoiding imbalances. It’s also an efficient way to train so ideal if you haven’t got much time on your hands. And of course, you can always finish off with some bench pressing on your power rack. 

  • Upward cable fly 
  • Downward cable fly 
  • Lateral cable fly 

Cable shoulder exercises 

Shoulders are prone to injury. By using cables you can help take the pressure off and strengthen them at an angle that’s optimal to you. 

  • Lateral raise 
  • Front raise 

Cable arm exercises 

fitness expert uses mirafit stirrup cable attachment

Cables are particularly good for working your triceps. And one of the main benefits is that you can train heavy without having to lift a bar over your head. 

  • Bicep curls 
  • Reverse bicep curls 
  • Rope pulldowns 
  • Overhead tricep extensions 
  • Single arm press 

And once you’ve finished working your upper body, checkout our best lower body workout for injury prevention here.  

And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @MirafitOfficial.