The cable fly is popularly referred to as the safer more effective alternative to the dumbbell fly – a better-known exercise that mostly engages the chest.
As such, this exercise is also an exercise that mostly engages the chest muscles. It is however low-impact but more balanced and structured.
This is because this exercise uses a cable pulley system that essentially keeps your chest muscles tense – whether you’re lifting or lowering.
As a result, this results in a uniformly worked chest region. It also ensures you see results slightly faster than when doing the dumbbell fly.
WHAT TO DO:
- Set both pulleys directly at (or slightly above) shoulder height and select the desired weight.
- Grasp both handles with a neutral grip and take a step forward to split the stance.
- Press the handles to lockout while flexing the pecs and extending the elbows.
- Keep a slight bend in the elbows, move entirely at the shoulder joint, and slowly allow the arms to open while the pecs stretch.
- Return to the starting position by flexing your pecs and bringing the handles together at chest height.
- Slowly lower back to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions
WHAT MUSCLES DO THE CABLE FLY WORK?
The chest muscles are the most engaged area when doing the cable fly. This is because the cable fly movements are tailored to direct strain towards all areas of the chest i.e., the pectoralis major and minor.
The cable fly utilizes all areas of the chest. For instance, the pectoralis major facilitates the adduction movements of the arm.
As such, it means that the pec major is what’s engaged when bring your arms together in front of you.
The pectoralis minor on the other hand is worked when you need to move your shoulder blades down and forward.
The front deltoid refers to the foremost area of the shoulder heads. It works with the chest muscles and acts as a pivot enabling you to move your arms effectively.
CABLE FLY BENEFITS
IT’S A GREAT LOW-IMPACT ALTERNATIVE
When compared to similar exercises such as the dumbbell fly, the cable fly is a great low-impact alternative.
This is especially so if you experience discomfort in your joints when you engage in any physical activity.
The cable fly is low in impact because it exerts a uniform amount of tension on the muscles throughout the entire range of motion.
As a result, this reduces the amount of stress on your joints
IMPROVES YOUR FLEXIBILITY
The cable chest fly involves a lot of stretching movements. When you do the exercise throughout its full range of motion, you increase the flexibility in your shoulder and chest.
This is because the more you stretch, the more comfortable your chest muscles get at accommodating the strain of stretch.
STRENGTHENS YOUR CHEST MUSCLES
While doing the cable fly, the chest muscles experience majority of the strain. As such, the muscles have to break themselves down and rebuild bigger.
This is done in order to be able to accommodate the weight load from the tension generated by the cable.
ALTERNATIVES TO THE CABLE FLY
- Lie flat on your back on a flat incline bench. Place your feet firmly on the floor on either side of the bench. Tilt your head and also your back should remain firmly pressed into the bench throughout the exercise.
- Pick up the dumbbells
- Lift arms up above the head so they’re extended but not locked out. There should be a slight bend at your elbow, and your palms and dumbbells should be facing each other.
- Inhale and slowly lower dumbbells in an arc motion until they’re in line with the chest. Your arms will be extended to the sides but not locked out. Don’t drop your arms lower than your shoulders.
- Exhale and slowly press the dumbbells up in the same arc motion.
- Perform 10–15 reps. Rest. Do 3 sets total.
RESISTANCE BAND CROSSOVER
- Place an exercise band around a stationary post.
- Grab the handles with both ends while facing away from the post. Step forward until you feel tension on the band.
- Lift your arms up, keeping them parallel to the floor and perpendicular to your torso. Keep your palms facing forward. Your elbows will be slightly bent. This is the starting position.
- Keep your arms straight as you bring them across your chest in a semicircular motion. Exhale as you bring them to the front, and flex your pecs. Hold the contraction for a second.
- Slowly move back to the starting position; inhale as you do so.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
- Place your palms on horizontal bars situated shoulder width apart.
- Lift your body off the floor using the support of the bars.
- Keep your arms straight and your shoulders relaxed.
- Lower your body until your elbows are at 90 degrees.
- Straighten your arms to return to the starting position.
- Repeat in a slow and seamless motion.
COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID
STRETCHING YOUR ARMS TOO MUCH
When doing the cable fly it is paramount to ensure that your arms are sufficiently stretched.
When your arm is under stretched then you will not direct an adequate amount of weight to your chest muscles.
However, stretching too much can also cause problems as it leads to injuries.
When doing the cable fly, you have to ensure that you lock your elbows in a bent position. This ensures that there is a uniform level of tension while doing the exercise.
Therefore, if you close up or loosen your elbows then it lessens the effect of the strain on the chest muscles.
KEEPING YOUR FEET TOGETHER
Keeping your feet together makes it harder for you to do the exercise. This is because it makes it harder to balance the weight from the center of gravity.
However, spreading your legs helps you stay more balanced thus enabling you to do the exercises movements in a stable environment.
The cable fly is a detail-oriented exercise that utilizes uniform tension to ensure minimal tension to the joint.
It is therefore a great low-impact way to tone up and build your chest muscles.