Also called a cable fly, this exercise isolates the pectoral muscles. The concentric phase of the movement strengthens the pectoral muscles, while the eccentric phase stretches both the pectoral and shoulder muscles. Many trainers make supersets of cable crossovers with other chest exercises, such as the bench press, or dumbbell fly. Use this exercise as an alternative to the dumbbell fly to add variety. Due to its unilateral nature, the cable crossover is good for strengthening the muscles for throwing sports. Adjust the cable height and body position to feel different parts of the muscle, or to tailor the movement more to a specific sport.
Stand in the middle, with the pulleys set at a height slightly above your head. Grasp the handles with palms down, shoulders turned in and hips bent slightly. Tighten the chest muscles to pull the arms down and in. Keep the elbows at a constant angle throughout the movement. Return to the starting position in a slow, controlled motion.
Do it well
Keep the elbows slightly bent so that the chest and not the arm muscles do the work.
Pulling the arms back too quickly can dislocate the shoulder.
Set the pulleys to slightly below shoulder height and do the exercise as described. If the weight is too heavy, the technique suffers and the exercise has no effect. Use light to medium weights and focus on the movement.
Mid to high cable crossovers provide a complete chest workout for advanced users. For a mid-height crossover, stand up straight and flex the arms horizontally so they meet in front of the chest. For a high crossover, start below shoulder height and bring your hands together overhead.
- Pectoralis major