Build a broader and stronger chest with cable crossovers

When you want to build a wider, stronger and more defined chest, adding the cable machine crossover in to your training programme will fast-track your results and deliver an athletic and impressive upper body

Why should I do cable crossovers?
To make any muscle bigger, stronger and more defined, you need to work it from a wide variety of angles, and this rule of lifting is especially true if you covet a wide and impressive chest. That’s what makes the high-cable crossover so important: it works parts of your chest from a specific angle through a specific movement pattern that’s hard to replicate with any piece of home or gym weight-lifting equipment.

While the cable crossover doesn’t isolate the muscles of the chest in the way dumbbell bench flyes or standing cable flyes do (because it also recruits the front of shoulders), it does mean you can shift a heavier weight so it works your muscles harder, and by crossing your hands and pausing in the bottom position (see bonus tip below) you work your chest muscles through a greater range of motion, which again forces more muscle fibres to be recruited to move and manage the load.

How do I do cable crossovers?
Position the pulleys at the very top of the cable machine with D-handles secured  to each side. Stand tall in the middle of the machine with your feet in a split stance (so one foot forward and one back), then take a D-handle in each hand with a slight bend in your elbows. In this start position you should feel a good stretch across your chest.

Keeping your chin and chest up and core braced, initiate the move by bringing your hands down and round in a smooth and controlled arc so that they meet – and then cross – in front of your hips.


Bonus Form Tip: As your hands cross in front of your body, hold and pause in this bottom position for one or two seconds – really focusing on squeezing your chest muscles as hard as you can – to increase the amount of tension on your chest to recruit even more muscle fibres.

Slowly reverse the movement all the way to the start, keeping full control of the weight, until you feel a good stretch across your chest. Pause briefly in this position before starting the next rep, because doing so will limit the amount of momentum or “bounce” you use to initiate each rep, forcing your muscles to do as much of the work as possible.

Alternate which hand crosses which with each rep, so on odd-number reps make your right hand go in front of your left hand as they cross, and on even-number reps make your left hand cross in front of your right.

What cable crossover variations can I do?
Lowering the pulleys to the bottom of each side of the machine then lifting your arms up and round, instead of down and round, turns the cable crossover in to the low-cable crossover, which shifts the emphasis slightly to work different parts of your chest muscles harder.

Adjusting the pulleys to the half-way point of the machine, so the handles are positioned around chest height, turns the exercise into the cable flye, which is one of best gym-floor moves for isolating the chest.

The cable chest press is another fantastic cable lift for building chest size and strength, and incorporating all of these exercises into your workout plan will allow you to build the broader and more-defined chest you want.

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