Variations of Cable Crossovers

You can do heavy bench presses, incline barbell presses, and use dumbbells to build a thick and massive chest. But at the end of your chest workout it’s a good idea to throw in some exercises where you can isolate your pecs and concentrate on squeezing the muscles. Performing cable crossovers is an effective exercise geared towards focusing on muscle contraction. But before you go grabbing a pair of handles and start pumping out reps of crossovers, you must realize that form is extremely important for this exercise otherwise you won’t get the full benefit.


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The most important concept to remember when doing cable crossovers for chest is you don’t have to use a ton of weight; in fact, you shouldn’t. Use a weight that you can perform 10 to 12 reps without swaying or jerking. You want a smooth motion. Another point is at the end of the movement hold the position flexing your chest muscles as hard as you can for a couple seconds before releasing back to the starting position. Also, it’s important to change it up now and then. Below are three variations of cable crossovers you can do in your chest workouts that will hit different parts of your chest.

Cable Crossover for Chest – Variation 1: Standard ‘Chest Post’

I call this one the ‘chest pose’ because it will appear that you’re doing a front chest pose at the peak of the movement. Set the cables on a high level above your head (the highest or one or two lower than that). Grab the cables, one in each hand and step out a couple steps.

Keeping your arms slightly bent and keeping them close to your body as you come closer to the peak bring the cables together. Basically your hands will be in front of you around your lower stomach area and close to your body.

Cable Crossover for Chest – Variation 2: Mid-Range Crossovers

This movement is very similar to the one above (variation 1) but instead of bringing the cables close to your body you’re going to bring them out away from your body in front of you. For this exercise you’ll need to lean forward a little and maybe take another step further out.

This mimics dumbbell flyes on a flat bench. It’s been said that you should perform this version of cable flyes as if you’re hugging a tree.

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Cable Crossover for Chest – Variation 3: Low Crossovers

This version of cable crossovers is different and will feel a little weird at first if you’re not used to it. Instead of having the cables on the upper part of the machine you’ll roll them down to their lowest point (ground level).

Grab the cables and bring them up and in, in front of your body. Don’t bend your elbows on this. Rather keep your arms slightly bent, but hold that arm position throughout the movement. If you bend your arms, you’ll be working your biceps not your chest.

Working Every Angle of Your Chest Muscles

I don’t know that there’s one best variation of doing cable exercises for chest. Different training methods work for different people. But I would recommend alternating all of these variations into your chest workout. For example, you could the standard cable crossovers for 2 weeks.

For the following 2 weeks do the mid-range crossovers for chest. And for the 2 weeks after that try the low crossovers. Or you could superset set them (it would only take you a few seconds to change the position of the cables between sets). The point is, it’s good to hit your chest from several angles and these variations of cable crossovers are a great way to do that.

Train with Passion,

Jason Stallworth

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