With the bench press absolutely dominating the gym goer’s list of go-to chest exercises, it is easy to overlook the low cable crossover.
The low cable crossover is an isolation exercise that targets the upper portion of your pectoral muscles.
This is traditionally a chest focused and muscle building exercise, often done hand in hand with the presses or flyes from other angles to target the inner, upper and lower chest simultaneously.
HOW TO DO LOW CABLE CROSSOVER
This is not a calisthenics exercise as you require a cable equipment to perform it. Are you ready to build that hulking chest? Here is how you do the low cable crossovers;
- Requirements: Cable machine.
- Get to the cable machine and stand upright in front of it. Place the pulleys at the low position and select the resistance to be used and grip the handle in each hand.
- Step forward and gain tension in the pulleys. Make sure your palms are facing forward. Your hands should be below the waist and your arms straight. This will be your starting position.
- Bend your elbows ever so slightly and draw your hands upward toward the midline of your torso. Pull your arms together in front of your chest as if you were clapping your hands. All the while, your arms should be facing up. Hold this position for a second or two.
- Lower your arms back to the starting position to either side of your hips.
TO make the exercise more challenging, have your hands crossover forming an ‘X’ at the elbow joints instead of just meeting at the midline of your torso. It is worth noting that this is a simple exercise that is primarily a bodybuilding rather than a weight loss exercise. If you prefer visual examples, you can click on this video to better understand how it is done.
WHAT MUSCLES DO LOW CABLE CROSSOVERS WORK?
The low cable crossover is an isolation exercise meaning it only targets one specific muscle group. The exercise primarily targets the chest. That being said, your shoulder will be targeted as a secondary muscle.
The pectoralis muscle is any muscle that connects the front walls of the chest with the bones of the upper arm and shoulder.
Even though gym goers usually refer to the chest being made up of the inner, upper and lower chest, the chest muscles scientifically comprise 2 muscles; the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor.
The chest muscles are responsible for adduction of the arm (moving the arms towards the body) as well as rotation of the arm forward about the axis of the body.
The shoulders are made up of 8 muscles, the largest of which is the deltoid. In the low cable crossover, your front deltoid will be targeted in particular.
The shoulder muscles are used in a wide range of motion such as twisting and rotation of the arm. Given their position in the arm, they bear the most load in the arm.
Now that we know what muscles are worked, let us see what benefits you will get from the low cable crossover.
BENEFITS OF THE LOW CABLE CROSSOVER EXERCISE
The low cable crossover stretches the chest under loads of choice which can lead to significant muscle gain. This makes this exercise great for body builders and gym goers looking for a toned muscular chest.
EASE OF EXECUTION
Given the ease of the movements involved in the exercise, the low cable crossover can is beginner friendly provided an appropriate weight is used.
This exercise ensures constant tension in your chest from the starting position to the peak contraction. This makes it have an edge over dumbbells.
ALTERNATIVES TO THE LOW CABLE CROSSOVER EXERCISE
This is a pretty good alternative to the low cable crossover as it hits the chest just as hard. Additionally, it is more accessible since you simply need a dumbbell and bench. Here is how it is done;
- Requirements: 2 dumbbells, bench.
- Lie on a flat bench with a dumbbell on each hand resting on your thighs. Your palms should face each other.
- Use your thighs to lift the dumbbells, one after the other, so you can hold them in front of you at shoulder-width. Then raise the dumbbells as if you are pressing them but stop just before your lock out.
- Bend your elbows slightly to prevent stress at the biceps tendon and remember to breathe.
- Return your arms back to the starting position and repeat the cycle for reps.
This is as close as it gets to the low cable crossover. They both share similar movements but on different machines. Here is how you do it;
- Requirements: Machine.
- Sit on the machine with your back on the pad. Grip the handles with your arms positioned parallel to the floor. This is the starting position.
- Squeeze your chest as you push the handles together slowly towards the middle. Be sure to breathe out as you do this.
- Slowly return to the starting position as you breathe in until your chest muscles are completely stretched. Repeat the cycle for reps.
MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN DOING LOW CABLE CROSSOVER
Here are some of the most common mistakes done when doing low cable crossovers;
BENDING THE ARMS TOO MUCH
This is probably the most common mistake. The moment you bend your arms too much the exercise takes focus from your chest and becomes a bicep curl; not exactly what we are looking for.
TOO MUCH WEIGHT
This is more of a beginner’s mistake. We know it can be daunting to be in a gym with literal hulks walking around but that is no reason to put more weight than you can handle.
Make sure you put weight that can allow you to complete the full range of motion at the top of the movement.
The low cable crossovers are a solid chest exercise that is even regarded as beginner friendly but has been largely overlooked.
Don’t get me wrong though, I am in no way disputing that the bench press is ‘the’ exercise for putting on mass on your chest, however, real definition can be achieved by use of the various cable cross over exercises, best of which is the low cable crossover.
Have a go at it and your chest will surely be grateful.