13 Cable Chest Exercises to Build Bigger Pecs

13 Cable Chest Exercises to Build Bigger Pecs

Nov 13, 2023

chest flys cables

13 Cable Chest Exercises to Build Bigger Pecs


Cables are one of the most effective ways to train your chest. The constant tension provided by cables allows you to really isolate the pec muscles for maximum growth.


In this post, we'll go over 13 of the best cable chest exercises to add size and definition to your pecs. You'll learn proper form, muscles targeted, and benefits of each movement.


Let's get started!


Why Use Cables for Chest Training? ripl fitness


Why Use Cables for Chest Training?


Here are some of the major benefits cables provide for chest development:


  • Better Muscle Isolation - Cables allow you to isolate the pecs without assistance from other muscles like shoulders or triceps.


  • Time Under Tension - The continuous resistance provided by cables leads to greater time under tension placed on the pec muscles.


  • Muscle Confusion - Varying your training with cables keeps your chest muscles guessing for optimal growth.


  • Improved Mind-Muscle Connection - The constant tension helps you squeeze and focus on contracting the chest through every rep.


  • Joint-Friendly - Cables allow for a greater range of motion with less stress on the shoulder joints compared to presses.


  • Unilateral Training - Cables enable you to train one side at a time to prevent imbalances or work around injuries.


Let's look at 13 excellent cable exercises for bigger, stronger pecs!


1. Cable Crossover

This classic move isolates the pecs for enhanced definition.

  • Attach the pulleys near the bottom of the machine. Stand between them, staggered stance.
  • With arms straight out to the sides, bring your hands together by adducting the shoulders.
  • Slowly return to the starting position, feeling the stretch in your chest.




Target Muscles:

  • Pectoralis major, front deltoids


2. Incline Cable Fly

This hits the upper chest from different angles for complete development.

  • Attach the handles to the pulleys on the floor. Lay on a bench in the middle of the machine.
  • Raise your arms in line with upper chest, elbows slightly bent.
  • Bring your hands together by flexing elbows back and squeezing chest.
  • Return to the starting position.




Target Muscles:

  • Upper pectoralis major, front deltoids


3. Cable Chest Press

This full range of motion exercise builds mass and strength throughout the pecs.

  • Attach a handles to the high pulley. Stand facing away from the machine.
  • Grasp handles with arms extended. Press it forward by flexing elbows and squeezing chest.
  • Slowly return to starting position.




Target Muscles:

  • Pectoralis major, anterior deltoids, triceps


4. Decline Cable Fly

This carves and separates the hard-to-target lower chest muscles.

  • Attach handles to bottom pulleys. Stand facing the machine with knees bent.
  • With arms angled down below chest, bring hands together by adducting shoulders.
  • Slowly return to starting position.




Target Muscles:

  • Lower pectoralis major, front deltoids


5. Cable Iron Cross

This crossover motion exercise builds and defines the inner chest.

  • Attach a rope handle to the mid pulley. Stand sideways.
  • Bring your arms straight out to the sides, grasping rope.
  • Pull the rope across your body by squeezing chest and adducting shoulders.
  • Return to starting position.




Target Muscles:

  • Pectoralis major, front deltoids


6. Low Cable Crossover

This isolates the lower chest muscles for a thick, squared appearance.

  • Attach pulleys near the bottom of the machine. Stand staggered between them.
  • With a flat back, grasp handles and bring arms across body by squeezing chest.
  • Return to starting position.




Target Muscles:

  • Lower pectoralis major, front deltoids


7. Single Arm Cable Press

This unilateral exercise builds stability while preventing muscle imbalances.

  • Attach handle to mid pulley. Stand sideways with pulley behind you.
  • Press the handle straight out until arm is parallel to floor.
  • Bring handle across body by laterally flexing shoulder and squeezing chest.
  • Return to starting position. Switch arms.




Target Muscles:

  • Pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, triceps, core


8. Incline Cable Press

This targets the stubborn upper chest muscles.

  • Attach straight bar to high pulley. Stand facing away.
  • Raise your arms so bar is in line with upper chest. Slight forward lean.
  • Press bar upward by flexing elbows and squeezing upper chest.
  • Return to starting position.




Target Muscles:

  • Upper pectoralis major, front deltoids, triceps


9. Seated Cable Chest Press

This stabilized exercise allows you to focus strictly on your pecs.

  • Sit on floor with your back against the machine. Attach a straight bar to the low pulley.
  • Grasp bar with arms extended. Press it straight out.
  • Bring hands together by flexing elbows and squeezing chest.
  • Return to starting position.




Target Muscles:

  • Pectoralis major, anterior deltoids, triceps


10. Unilateral Cable Chest Fly

This single arm fly corrects imbalances while enhancing chest activation.

  • Attach a handle to high pulley. Stand sideways with pulley behind you.
  • Grasp handle and press arm bent out to side.
  • Bring handle across body by laterally flexing shoulder and squeezing chest.
  • Return to starting position. Switch arms.




Target Muscles:

  • Pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, triceps, core


11. Decline Cable Press

This carves and square the lower chest muscles.

  • Attach straight bar to high pulley. Stand facing away.
  • Start with arms angled down slightly below chest level.
  • Press bar forward by flexing elbows and squeezing lower chest.
  • Return to starting position.




Target Muscles:

  • Lower pectoralis major, front deltoids, triceps


12. Cable Fly

This strict exercise isolates and defines the pecs through a full range of motion.

  • Attach handles to bottom pulleys. Stand between them, soft knees.
  • With arms straight out to sides, bring hands together by horizontally adducting shoulders.
  • Return to starting position, feeling the stretch.



Target Muscles:

  • Pectoralis major, front deltoids


13. Standing Cable Chest Press

This exercise removes leg drive, forcing you to use just your pecs.

  • Attach a straight bar to high pulley. Stand facing away.
  • Grasp bar with arms extended. Press forward by flexing elbows.
  • Return to starting position while keeping legs stationary.




Target Muscles:

  • Pectoralis major, anterior deltoids, triceps


Get the Most Out of Your Cable Chest Workouts


There you have it - 13 highly effective cable exercises to build bigger, stronger pecs!

To get the most out of your cable chest workouts:


👉 ✅ Perform 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps with good form, squeezing the chest each rep.


👉 ✅ Use cables before or after regular presses for enhanced pec activation.


👉 ✅ Slow down the tempo. Don't use momentum or swinging to cheat the movement.


👉 ✅ Allow at least 48 hours rest between intense cable chest sessions.


👉 ✅ Mix up flat, incline, and decline angles to hit the pecs from all directions.


👉 ✅ Maintain proper nutrition to support muscle growth and recovery.


Incorporate these cable exercises into your current routine for the best chest development possible. Your pecs will be chiseled, defined, and popping in no time!


What are the benefits of cable chest exercises? ripl fitness



Frequently Asked Questions About Cable Chest Exercises



What are the benefits of cable chest exercises?


Cable chest exercises offer many benefits compared to regular bench pressing and dumbbell chest exercises.


The cable machine provides constant tension throughout the movement, allowing you to fully isolate and target the chest muscles.


Cables also allow for unilateral exercises, working one side at a time, which helps prevent muscle imbalances.


Other benefits include improving mind-muscle connection, reducing strain on the shoulder joints, and enabling a greater range of motion for increased pec activation.


What are some good cable incline chest exercises?


Some excellent cable incline chest exercises include:


  • Incline cable chest press - Targets upper chest by pressing handles from high pulley upward at an incline angle.
  • Incline cable fly - Hits upper chest from multiple angles by bringing pulley handles together from an incline position.
  • Single arm incline cable press - Unilaterally works each side of the upper chest independently.
  • Low-to-high cable crossover - Works upper and lower chest by bringing handles from low pulleys up to top position.


Incline cable exercises are ideal for building, defining, and sculpting the hard-to-target upper chest region.


What are the benefits of single arm cable chest exercises?


Performing cable chest exercises one arm at a time offers several benefits:


  • Prevents muscular imbalances by ensuring you work each side evenly.
  • Improves core stability by resisting rotation against unilateral resistance.
  • Allows you to focus on squeezing and contracting one pec at a time.
  • Can be used to work around injuries by training one side independently.


Popular single arm cable chest moves include the single arm cable press, single arm cable flye, and unilateral low-to-high cable crossover.


How can I isolate the chest muscles with cables?


Here are some tips to better isolate the chest when doing cable exercises:


  • Use a narrower grip on pressing movements to reduce shoulder and triceps involvement.
  • Pause and squeeze the chest muscles at the peak contraction point of each rep.
  • Use a full range of motion to keep constant tension on the pecs.
  • Perform unilateral exercises like single arm cable flyes to isolate each side.
  • Position your body to reduce the role of other muscles like legs or shoulders.


Really focusing on proper form, contraction, and range of motion are key for maximal chest isolation with cable machines.


What are some of the best cable chest workouts?


Some of the most effective cable chest workouts include:


  • Cable crossovers supersetted with cable presses
  • Decline cable flyes followed by incline cable press
  • Single arm cable press paired with cable flyes
  • Tri-set of low-to-high cable crossover, cable press, and cable flye
  • Giant set of cable crossovers, incline fly, decline press, and straight bar cable press.


Mixing up angles, unilateral moves, presses, and flyes will provide a thorough, well-rounded cable chest workout to build stronger pecs.



Effective Cable Chest Exercises ripl fitness



Summary of Effective Cable Chest Exercises


Cable chest exercises provide many benefits for pectoral training compared to flat bench presses and other traditional upper body exercises.


The cable machine allows you to better isolate and target specific parts of your chest through its full range of motion.


Exercises like the cable fly and cable crossover machine enable you to really focus on squeezing and contracting the chest muscles for maximum activation.


Unilateral cable press exercises are excellent for working on one side of your chest at a time, preventing imbalances and injuries.


Proper form is key with cables - avoid using momentum and keep constant tension on the pecs throughout the movement.


Combining cable flys, unilateral presses, cable bench presses, and multi-cable exercises like the cable crossover provides a thorough chest workout to build strength and definition.


With cables, you can easily change angles to target the upper or lower chest. Incline cable presses are ideal for hitting the chest at the top and creating that chiseled lined look.


Decline motions work the lower chest for a squared, developed appearance.


The benefit of cables is they allow you to isolate and fatigue the chest muscles through the fullest range of motion while keeping focus on properly squeezing and contracting the pecs during each rep.



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PS: Make sure you check out the rest of our Chest Training Guides:

The 10 Best Chest Exercises for Building Muscle

11 Must-Try Cable Chest Exercises to Build a Bigger, Stronger Chest

10 Best Dumbbell Chest Exercises for Building Your Pecs

The 5 Best Chest Exercise Machines for Maximum Growth in 2024

5 Best Compound Chest Exercises for Building a Bigger Chest

16 Best Kettlebell Chest Exercises: Pump Up Your Pecs

5 Best Chest Workout Machines for Maximum Muscle Growth

6 TRX Chest Exercises for a Bigger Chest - Best TRX Workout!