How to Improve Your Cable Crossover for Better Chest Gains |

How to Improve Your Cable Crossover for Better Chest Gains

THE CABLE CROSSOVER might be top in your arsenal of chest exercises. The traditional way of doing them, though, might not be optimal for gaining chest size and strength, contrary to what all the gym bros will tell you.

“It is the most well-known inner chest exercise. It is not, however, the best way to train your inner chest,” says Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., Men’s Health fitness director. “It’s not the best version of the cable fly, especially if you want to keep your shoulders healthy, and if you really want that chest development.”

Here, Samuel explains why the classic cable crossover might not be the best way to build your chest, and how to improve the move to make it work for your goals.

Limitations of the Cable Crossover

In a traditional cable crossover, you’d set the stack to its highest point, then grab both handles, and hinge at the hips to put your torso at an angle. With a slight bend through the elbows, you’d then squeeze your chest together and cross your arms over one another when they get to the center.

The first issue with this style of cable crossover is there’s not a ton of stability for controlled, quality muscle contractions. The torso angle is also not consistent since it’s not supported by anything, which may cause you to tilt more forward to get a better angle on heavier reps. There’s no check to ensure the torso angle is staying the same so that you’re able to chart legitimate improvement. And there’s a bigger problem too, says Samuel.

“The biggest issue with this though is the shoulder risk,” Samuel says. At the squeeze of this movement, the humerus and clavicle potentially get close, closing up all the joint space. “This is a recipe for shoulder issues in the long term.”

How to Improve Your Cable Crossover

To make the cable crossover more effective and safe, you’re going to bring a bench into the set up. Pull it in between the two cables, and set it to the highest possible height. Drop the cable height down to the bottom of the stack instead of the top. The bench will help assist with stability, which will help you push yourself to fatigue.

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How to Do It:

  • Grab the handles. Stand in front of the bench, leaning against it. Ensure your shoulder blades are up off the top of the bench.
  • Lean back a little bit to open up the chest.
  • With a slight bend through the elbows, squeeze the chest and think about driving the elbows together to bring the arms up. Lead with your pinkie fingers.
  • Do not cross the arms over one another, only come to where the hands are close together. Focus on that squeeze at the top.

How to Incorporate the Cable Crossover Into Your Workouts

The best way to include this improved cable crossover into your workout is to put it at the end of your chest or upper body day. Aim for 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps. You’ll get a really good pump through the inner chest after your main lifts.

The other, more advanced way to incorporate it is to use it as a pre-fatigue exercise. Do 3 to 4 sets of a super set, lead off with 8 to 10 reps of this exercise to fatigue the chest a little bit. Then move into another multi-joint exercise like a flat bench press or incline dumbbell press for 6 to 8 reps.

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