Blast your Chest with Cable fly | Proper form, technique, benefits and variations

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best exercises for chest

What is cable fly/cross-over?

A cable fly is also known as cable cross-over is a compound exercise that works on your chest, shoulder and tricep muscles. It is a strength training exercise that engages the pushing muscles of your body. It is performed with the cable crossover machine.


Muscles worked

The major muscles worked in a chest fly are pectorals while the secondary muscles include shoulder deltoids and triceps and to a lesser extent, the lats.

Benefits of Cable Fly

Some major benefits of cable flys over the dumbbell fly are:

1. It’s a compound exercise

The cable fly machine is an outstanding exercise for strength training as well as for building muscles. It works a range of muscles including pecs, triceps, deltoids, lats and stabilizing muscles of the shoulders.

2. It teaches scapular retraction

Scapular retraction is the ability of the shoulder blades to pinch together. This movement can be very crucial for fighting the bad posture resulting from sitting hunched over a computer, mobile or steering wheel for longer periods of time.

Standing Cable Fly Instructions

cable fly
Blast your Chest with Cable fly | Proper form, technique, benefits and variations
  1. Select the desired weight and set the pully to shoulder height or lightly above. hold the handles in your both hands using a neutral grip and stand in a split stance (one foot above the other). Bring the handles close together in front of your hips position.
  2. Keeping a stable body position and a slight bend in your elbows, allow your shoulder to move backwards into an arms-extended position and bring the handles at chest height. Feel the stretch in your arms as you slowly open your arms.
  3. Bring the handles back together at the starting position and repeat the recommended no of reps and sets.

Cable Fly Mistakes

A good way to do more effective exercise is knowing what not to do. Check these common mistakes while doing the cable fly and try to fix them if you are doing any.

1. Keeping hands close to shoulders

Your elbows should be slightly bent during the whole range of motion. A common mistake is that people try to do it like a press keeping the hands close to the shoulders. Remember that the goal of cable fly is to isolate the pecs.

2. Doing fast reps

Doing controlled, slow and stable reps is very important. However, quick cable flys is a common observation in every gym that needs to be addressed. By going too quick, you are risking injury.

3. Rolled shoulders

Rolling your shoulders forward is the most common mistake. This is primarily due to improper form or too much weight.

Rolling shoulders forward causes a bad position for cable flies. The result will be extra stress on your shoulders that may cause injuries. Try to fix your body position. And using appropriate weights.

4. Over-extending the shoulder joint

This is a very common problem similar to dumbbell flies, the cable handles pull your hands backwards resulting in an extent greater than that is comfy for the shoulder joint. This might be due to the reason that your muscle strength is not high enough.

Try to slow down as you are reaching the arms-extended position. It will help in doing a more controlled rep. 

5. Not using a split stance

Many trainers do not give attention to this mistake. But it is in fact harder to do cable fly with your foot side by side as you lose balance with moving your arms forward.

It is all about your centre of gravity. A split stance enables you to change your centre of gravity and generate the force needed to perform a full range of motion.

6. Using Your Legs

It may feel tempting to press your feet to stabilize your body while doing cable flys. but keep in mind that it is a chest exercise. Try not pressing your foot too much hard.

7. Using Momentum

Perform this exercise with a slow and controlled movement maintaining body stability. Going too quick means you are using body momentum rather than chest muscles to perform the reps.

Cable Cross-Over Variations

Low pulley cable cross-over

You can adjust the position of the pully on the cable fly machine. The lower position of pully targets your lower pecs while the lower position trains your upper pecs more. You can also perform this variation by using an incline bench set between the cable fly machine.

Resistance band cross-over

What if you want to cable fly but do not have access to a cable fly machine? No worries! Thanks to the portable version of the cable fly in form of a resistance band. With the help of this. You can perform cable fly whenever and wherever you want.


Are cable flys better than dumbbell Flys?

Both variations are acceptable, But cable fly is considered an exercise as part of a muscle-building routine due to its superior resistance profile and decreased stress on the shoulder joint.

Are cable crossovers effective?

The cable crossover is a great chest exercise because it stretches the pecs from the start position, hitting the outer pec muscle fibers.

Why do cable weights feel heavier?

If cable weights feel way heavier it’s probably in kilograms; if it feels about the same there’s probably something wrong with the machine. Each cable machine is going to feel different since the number of pulleys used will affect the feel of the weight on the stack.

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