Cable Chest Exercises: The Key to a Stronger Chest

It goes without saying that the cable cross machine is an option for chest exercises, but many people don't realize how many great cable chest exercises there are. Most athletes only do standing cables, which is great, but they miss out on some other high-impact chest exercises, including other flying variations. In this article we'll explain why the cable machine is so effective for chest exercises and then show you 15 of the best sit-ups and chest raises to add to your workout.

Anatomy & Function of the Chest

The chest is made up of two muscles, the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor.

Pectoralis major

The pectoralis major muscle, or pectoralis major, is a large fan-shaped muscle mass. It is the larger of the two pectoral muscles and makes up the majority of your chest.

Your pectoralis major, of which you have two (one on each side). of the rib cage) extends from the breastbone (sternum) to the clavicle (clavicle) and laterally to the humerus (arm bone).

Although the pectoralis major is a single muscle, anatomically it is composed of two different sets of muscle fibers. They have the upper head and the lower head of the pectoralis major muscle. That's why we often hear, "This exercise is good for the upper chest.

Let's explain the function of each head, because it may be useful. make you understand how this is emphasized during training.

Sternocostal Head: The sternocostal head, commonly called the lower head, arises from the sternum and inserts onto the humerus. It makes up 80% of the total size of the pectoralis major muscle, so it actually makes up the lower and middle part of the chest. Its main task is to bring the arms closer to the midline of the body (shoulder adduction) and rotate the humerus inward.

Pectoral Muscle

The pectoralis minor is a small triangular muscle found on each side and located underneath the pectoralis major. It originates from the rib cage (ribs 3 to 5) and inserts into the coracoid (a small hook-shaped protrusion on the top of the scapula).

The small pectoral muscle is located in the front due to its attachment point and its main function is to control the structures of the back. It primarily helps with stabilization, depression, protraction, internal rotation, and downward rotation of the scapula.

Because the scapulars (shoulder blades) play an important role in stabilizing the shoulders during chest exercises, the pectoralis minor acts as a stabilizer for any exercise that has target the chest .armor. . Principal. It is not a type of primary motor muscle, but rather a stabilizer muscle.

However, some exercises cause the pectoralis minor muscle to play a more important role. which can help strengthen it further. For example, chest exercises that involve leaning the upper body forward or lowering the shoulder blades, such as: B. Cable fly split position or cable drop, the small muscles of the chest are more activated. We include some exercises like these in our best thoracic cable exercises because a strong pectoralis minor means you have greater stability in your shoulders and shoulder blades and therefore be more resistant to injury in any exercise. Pressure exercise.

Serratis anterior: Although the serratus anterior is not part of the thorax, it plays an important role in pectoral exercises, particularly in exercises for pectorals. with thoracic cable because the shoulder blades are not always resting on the bench. This gives you more movement in your shoulder blade. The serratus anterior is the saw-shaped muscle located in the armpit and near the lower part of the chest. If you have a low body fat percentage, it will show up.

The serratus anterior is responsible for pulling the scapula around the rib cage, which means it's active whenever you move your arms forward. It is also activated during aerial movements. If you want to learn more, check out our favorite exercises for the serratus anterior, but we won't go into detail here. However, keep in mind that many thoracic cable exercises also target this muscle because they involve protraction of the scapula.

Anterior deltoid: The anterior deltoid is responsible for flexion of the shoulder. as well as the upper part of the rib cage. Therefore, when the upper chest is used, the anterior deltoid also works. Basically, all chest exercises train the anterior deltoid to some degree. The more flexed the shoulder, the greater the activation of the anterior deltoid (and upper chest). The point is that your front delts will also work in the next exercises for the chest cables.

Overall, this should give you a good idea of ​​how chest exercises work the pectoral muscles and surrounding muscles and why it is important to change the angles and chest position. important for complete health. Development and strength of your breasts.

What is a Cable Machine & How Does It Work?

A cable machine is a type of device that combines a handle with a pulley system connected to a stack of weights. There are different types of cable machines, but in this article we are referring to the crossover cable machine, the most versatile cable machine used for chest exercises.

Cable Machine & How Does It Work

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With a cable crossing machine you can make two curves. Each tower operates independently of each other. So you have two pulleys and two weight stacks. For most chest exercises, place a bracket on each pulley and perform the exercise in the center of the pulley. This way you have an equal distance from each curve so that each side is equal in terms of range of motion.

As for the weight load, you can easily change the weight by pulling the pin and inserting it into the appropriate hole in the weight stack. Each weight stack plate has a label that indicates the amount of weight you are using. The deeper you go, the more weight it has.

The last thing to consider is how resistance works in cable machines. Unlike free weights, which have an upward or downward force curve, cable machines have a flat resistance, meaning you get the same constant tension at every point of the movement. This makes 10 pounds feel like 10 pounds in all ranges of motion. This is ideal for achieving consistent, continuous time under power.

Ultimately, a pulley machine can provide an incredible workout that works every muscle group in the body. We think it's one of the most versatile machines money can buy and that's why we've written an article on the best cable machines on the market.

Are cable Exercises Good for the Chest?

Of course! Cable exercises are great for developing and strengthening the pectoralis major, the muscle that makes up the majority of the chest, and they also help you lose chest fat. The Cable Crossover Machine allows for a variety of chest exercises thanks to its ability to manipulate angles and swap attacks. Changing posture or integrating benches and seats into the mix is ​​also easily possible via cables.

cable Exercises Good for the Chest

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Standing, sitting or lying down, you can perform all variations of chest presses, free weight flies, cable machines and more. And of course you can change the weight load in seconds. Not only is it easy to change the weight, but the cable machine also maintains constant tension, unlike free weights, which have strength curves because the tension is created by gravity. This means that when you do a cable chest exercise, you maximize your time under tension, which is ideal for hypertrophy.

Overall, cable exercise machines are definitely a great option for chest exercises, especially if your main goal is to build muscle. It doesn't have to be the only equipment you use, but some of the following exercises should definitely be incorporated into your workout routine on chest workout days.

Benefits of Cable Chest Exercises:

While we have briefly discussed the main benefits of using a cable machine for chest exercises, now let's take it a step further.

Here Are the Main Advantages of Using Cables for Chest Work:

1. Extremely Versatile

The cable cross machine allows you to easily play with training variables such as angles (load placement) and body positioning. This allows you to effectively target every area of ​​your chest (it's a big muscle), use your muscles differently, and develop your strength in all planes of motion. Not to mention that you will be able to continue training in a new, fun and stimulating way.

Let's look at the two main variables of cable chest exercises so you can understand why we have so many cable chest exercises cables...

Loading Angle:

The cable towers allow you to adjust the angle at any point, from top to bottom. This changes the direction of the load and allows you to change its trajectory of movement. This means that you can train your muscles differently even with the same type of movement.

For example, you can perform a cable fly with the cable angled from above (a high-low fly) to hit the lower chest or with a downward angle. (a low flight). in high flight) until it touches the upper part of the chest.

Just being able to change your perspective gives you a lot of flexibility, but you also have other training variables that you can change and increase the variety even more.

Body Position:

You can also easily change the position of the your body changes when you use cables:

Standing (bilateral stance, staggered stance, split stance)
half knee, high knee )
Sitting (bench, exercise ball)
Lying (bench, exercise ball)

You can also create even more variety, for example with standing positions and an adjustable bench. B. Tilt flight, tilt pressure/fly, lower pressure/fly.

You can also change your body position relative to the cable machine. Standing directly in the center, rather than in front of the car, also changes the dynamic.

In general, there are several ways to target the chest to ensure that all the major muscle fibers of the pectoralis (upper, lower, middle, inner) are worked .yourself. are activated correctly. By looking at the combinations of all these variables, you can see why there are so many different chest exercises and how you can get a very complete chest workout and development using only rope trains.

2. Weight, Load and Tension

When it comes to actual load, the cable pulley machine is unique in two ways.

First, it is very simple to change the weight. All you have to do is drag and drop a pin into the appropriate weight stack for this exercise.

Second, the tension is different than that of a dumbbell, barbell, or other free weight. This is because cable machines provide a flat resistance curve rather than an upward or downward force curve. In other words, there is constant tension during pulley exercises. Therefore, a fly or cable press will be just as difficult in the high end as in the low end, while with dumbbells it will be more difficult in the standing position.

In general, this is ideal for hypertrophy goals because it means the muscles are under tension longer and therefore fatigue more quickly. This is why the rope machine is so popular among bodybuilders for isolation work.

3. Independent Arm Movement

During chest cable exercises, your arms work independently of each other. This ensures you don't favor one side over the other, helping to combat muscle imbalances and asymmetries.

4. Controlled Range of Motion

By changing the body position and angle of the handle, you can control the range of motion to increase or decrease. This is ideal if you want to work with specific ranges of motion or have certain limitations.

Controlled Range of Motion

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Another point in controlling your range of motion is how you move. Cable The cables promote smooth and controlled movements. It's not like a barbell or a dumbbell, where you can make mistakes with sudden movements.

5. Effectiveness

Corded devices make training more effective. You can switch between chest exercises, quickly change training variables, and change weight loads in seconds.

6. Safe

Compared to dumbbells, corded machines are a safer option. Not only do they protect the joints (shoulders, elbows and wrists), but in most cases you can safely do without any exercise. This allows you to train to failure on cable machines and get the greatest hypertrophy and strength benefits possible.

In short, cable machines are a versatile, effective and efficient way to train your chest. We highly recommend incorporating wired chest exercises into your routine. This is a fantastic way to isolate the pectoral muscles to determine their size and strength.

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Note: Cable exercises are also great for beginners because they require less technique than barbell or even dumbbell bench presses. This makes cable chest exercises ideal for beginners who have difficulty with the conventional form of weight lifting, but also for advanced athletes who simply want to perfect the isolation of the pectoral muscles.

How to Train Your Chest with Cables?

The two most important chest exercises you will do with cables are presses and flys. However, there are many variations of cable presses and cable presses.

Variations of Cable Presses:

Standing chest pressure

Standing chest pressure (highest to lowest value)

Standing chest pressure (highest value) to lowest value to the highest value)

Standing alternating chest pressure

One-arm standing chest pressure

One-arm standing chest pressure with rotation

Kneeling/half-kneeling chest pressure

Kneeling/half-kneeling chest pressure (highest to lowest level)

Kneeling/half-kneeling chest pressure (lowest to highest level)

Lying chest pressure (bench required)

Incline bench (bench required)

Lying bench (bench required)

Stability ball bench press

Similarly, perform exercises such as pullovers that work the lats and the upper part of the chest.

We'll cover most of these exercises below, but first let's talk about rep ranges and weight load for chest cable exercises.

Cable Chest Exercise Machine - Better Rep Range and Higher Load:

Since the cable chest machine is more focused on hypertrophy and Strength, the best chest exercises to develop strength are performed with weights. . When loading with a barbell or dumbbells, the ideal rep range for cable exercises for the chest is 6 to 15, but in some cases 20 to 25. So really 6 to 25 reps. But let's analyze it in more detail.

6 to 8 repetitions: strength and hypertrophy

8 at 15 reps – hypertrophy

15+ reps – hypertrophy and endurance

We Recommend Working on All These Sets of Reps.

It should be noted that strength, hypertrophy and endurance are achieved in each of these repetition ranges, precisely the emphasis mentioned above.

In terms of load, you should choose a weight group that challenges you in these rep ranges. Basically, you want to choose a weight that will prepare you for failure (or near failure) in the rep range you're working in.

Cable Chest Exercise Machine

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Progression is performed the same way as free weight machines. Let's say your goal is to complete 3 sets with 45-60 seconds of rest between sets. Then increase the weight when you reach the maximum in your rep range. So, if you can perform 3 sets of 15 repetitions with 45 seconds of rest between sets, it's time to increase the weight level.

The best way to progress is by maintaining a single variable for a while. This means you keep the same rest time but increase the weight load. Reps will also increase, but only until you max out your rep range, so the focus is really on the weight load.

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This way you ensure that your muscles are overloaded with each session and therefore continue to adapt (get stronger and bigger).

Beginners can follow a simple progressive overload plan like this, but more advanced athletes will need to use a more complex plan.

What Are the Best Cable Chest Exercises?

Although all the cable chest exercises above listed are effective, we chose the 15th option. the best exercises for you. These exercises place more stress on your chest muscles and together allow you to press and fly by targeting every muscle fiber in your chest (with optimal stretch and contraction tension), allowing you to achieve the best, most complete chest development.


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