How To Do The Cable Pec Fly Properly

The cable pec fly is a fantastic way to fire up the pectoral muscles (pecs) in your chest without straining your joints.

It is a single-joint movement that uses the cable machine to open up and flex your pecs.

Since it is designed to maximize tension in your pecs, it makes you feel the stretch right from the beginning of the exercise all the way to the contraction at the end.

Required equipment: Cable pulley machine

Steps:

  • Set the pulleys at or slightly above shoulder height.
  • Set the desired weight.
  • Stand between the stacks.
  • Straighten your back and tighten your core.
  • Stretch your arms out to your sides until you reach the handles.
  • Grab the handles with a neutral grip and then take a step or two forward to increase the tension on the cables.
  • Put one foot in front of the other and then bend your elbows slightly so that they don’t travel behind the shoulders. This is the starting position.
  • Press the handles while flexing your pecs and extending your elbows.
  • Slowly allow your arms to open as your pecs stretch.
  • Return to the starting position by slowly flexing your pecs and bringing the handles towards each other at chest height.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE CABLE PEC FLY WORK?

PECTORALS

The muscles in your chest are divided into two; the pectoralis minor and pectoralis major.

The pectoralis major is the only one that’s visible from outside the body. Its primary function is to elevate, adduct your arms and rotate them inwardly.
The pectoralis minor, on the other hand, is located a layer deeper into the chest and is responsible for drawing your shoulder blades forward and downward.

The cable pec fly also works your deltoids as you squeeze your shoulders and keep them tight while flexing your chest muscles.

CABLE PEC FLY BENEFITS

BUILDS CHEST MUSCLES

The cable pec fly is one of the surest ways to increase the mass and strength of your pecs.

What makes it even more effective is the fact that it focuses solely on your chest muscles and nowhere else.

EASY ON THE JOINTS

If you experience joint pain or discomfort while performing multi-joint exercises then the cable pec fly is for you.

With enough shoulder-blade stability, this movement changes the angle of motion enough to minimize stress on your joints.

WEIGHT LOSS

The pecs are some of the largest muscles in the body. Increasing them in mass could increase your metabolic rate and result in a higher caloric burn.

This makes the cable pec fly ideal for people who want to lose weight.

SCAPULAR ROTATION

Training your chest muscles through this exercise also helps you develop better scapular rotation which ultimately improves your posture and helps alleviate lower back pain.

ALTERNATIVES TO THE CABLE PEC FLY

INCLINE CABLE FLY

The incline cable fly is a cable fly variation designed to specifically target the upper chest muscles. It also works your anterior deltoids, biceps brachii and triceps.

Instructions:

  • Set an incline bench at a 30-degree angle off the ground.
  • Lie with your back flat on the bench.
  • Plant your feet firmly on the floor.
  • Lift your arms up from your shoulders and then hold the cable over your upper chest.
  • Slowly lower your arms out to the sides until the wrists are at or slightly above shoulder level.
  • Using your pecs, draw your arms back together toward your midline.

Note that you can set the bench anywhere between 30-45 degrees off the grounds but not higher. If you move it any higher, you risk shifting the focus from your pecs to the deltoids in your shoulders.

DUMBBELL FLY

The dumbbell fly is a bodybuilding exercise that mimics the chest fly movement to isolate, strengthen and build your pecs.

It targets your entire pec area but with a bit more emphasis on your inner chest.

Steps:

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand and then lie on a flat bench with your feet on the floor.
  • Lift your arms up and stop directly above your chest.
  • Slowly and with control, lower the arms until your wrists come to shoulder level.
  • Use your pecs to draw the arms back in together.

CABLE PEC FLY MISTAKES TO AVOID

USING YOUR ARMS

Instead of using your arms to pull the handles, open your palms to help you focus on using your pectoral muscles in the exercise.

NOT SQUEEZING YOUR SHOULDER BLADES

Once you are set up and ready to go, one thing you shouldn’t forget to do is squeeze your shoulder blades.

When you keep your shoulder blades tight you’ll be preventing them from shifting forward, which helps keep tension in your chest muscles.

GRABBING THE HANDLES TOO TIGHT

Most people grab the handles too tight while performing this movement. What this does is shift the focus of the exercise from your chest muscles to your arm muscles and wrists.

Instead, think of your arm as a lever which helps you flex your chest and drive it shut. This will help you focus on your chest muscles only.

TOUCHING THE HANDLES TOGETHER

Avoid banging or touching the handles together at the top of the rep where peak contraction happens. When you keep them apart at this position, you’ll be maintaining the tension in your chest muscles where the contraction should be.

 ARCHING THE LOWER BACK TOO MUCH

Excessively arching your back as you perform this movement will put your lower back and spine at risk of injury.

WRAPPING UP

There’s more to the cable pec fly than just grabbing the cable handles and swinging them back and forth. This exercise depends a lot on movement, positioning and the correct form for it to yield the desired results.

As with any other muscle, the key to building lean muscle in your chest through this movement is staying consistent and maintaining proper technique.

If you are a beginner, you can start with a light weight, and slowly increase the amount each week as you progress and build strength.

Don’t forget to ask your doctor to clear you for doing this exercise in case you have a history of shoulder or chest pain/injury.