Exercise 101: Cable Crossover

Exercise 101: Cable Crossover

What is it?

The cable crossover machine is a great piece of gym equipment. Using pulleys and weights, the cable crossover exercise helps to develop your chest strength.  

Who can do it?

Suitable for men and women, the cable crossover is for both beginners and experienced gym goers. It can be made harder depending on the weight you chose.

How do I do it?

Place the pulleys on a high position above your head, select which resistance best suits you and hold the pulleys in each hand.

Step forward in front of an imaginary straight line between both pulleys and pull your arms together in front of you.

With a slight bend in the elbows, extend your arms to the side in a wide arc until you feel a stretch on your chest.

Return your arms to the starting position as you breathe out, using the same arc of motion to lower the weights.

Hold for a second at the starting position and repeat the movement for the prescribed amount of repetitions.

What are the benefits?

The cable crossover builds the chest muscles, targeting the sternal head of the pectoralis major, the largest muscles in your chest.

The clavicular head near your collarbone and the pectoralis minor in front of each shoulder also assist your movements, as do the anterior deltoids in front of your shoulders, plus several back muscles.

Upper-arm and forearm muscles also engage as stabilisers, along with core muscles such as your rectus abdominis, obliques and erector spinae.

The Author

Laura Briggs

Laura is a fitness writer who loves running, strength training, Pilates and Yoga. When she's got time to herself you might find her knitting, or in the kitchen trying out an elaborate recipe - healthy of course!.


Simon J.
31 January 2017

Simon J.

not sure I'd call it relaxing, but I find the cable machine really helps tense shoulders and feels like it is putting everything into alignment. Great invention.

Sean S.
29 January 2017

Sean S.

I find cable crossovers isolate my pecs really well so they've been part of my routine for years. Definitely recommend using these.

Paula C.
28 January 2017

Paula C.

I've always been scared of the cable machine. and just stick machines without ropes! I do tend to see more men on them than women. What exercises do other women do on it?

Michael A.
26 January 2017

Michael A.

I like to do these for my chest at the end of a workout. Strangely relaxing.

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