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Master the cable flye for a broader chest

Build a broader chest by conquering the standing cable flye

The dumbbell bench flye is a massively popular move because it’s one of only a few exercises that isolates the chest muscles: almost every other “chest” move will also involve the triceps or the front of the shoulders. But to grow a muscle to its maximum potential you need to isolate it and make it work by itself. The problem is, when it comes to wanting to build a bigger chest, most people make the mistake of only ever doing dumbbell flyes.

The problem lies in that it’s move so often performed not just badly, but dangerously! People either go too heavy and so place a huge amount of strain on their shoulder, elbow and wrist joints; or are so encumbered by the weight that they only move through a very limited range of motion, and hardly work the chest at all.

While bench flyes have a place in any good training programme, standing cable flyes are as good, if not better, when wanting to build a bigger and stronger chest effectively and safely. Not only does using a cable machine keep tension on your chest muscles for both the lifting and lowering parts of each rep, which isn’t the case with free weights, there’s one simple form tweak (tip 3 below) that can place even greater tension on the middle of your chest – the part many people struggle to develop. Here’s how to do it.

1. Start strong 
Stand tall in the middle of a cable machine, holding a D-handle attached to the chest-height pulley in each hand with a slight bend in your elbows.

2. Chest up 

Keeping your chest up and core braced, initiate the move and – still with that bend in your elbows – bring your hands around in front of your body to meet at around bellybutton height.

3. Wrist rotate 
As your hands come together, rotate your wrists so your palms face upwards, then hold your hands together with little fingers touching, squeezing your chest muscles hard.

4. Perfect pause 
Focusing on how this movement of your wrist and arms places tension on the middle of your chest, hold the position for a one or two count.

5. Rep range 
Slowly reverse the movement all the way to the start, keeping full control of the weight throughout the return. Do 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps.

Want more chest-building advice? Try these three bench press tips to build pec power faster!

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