Cable Machine Exercises: Cable Chest Fly

The cable chest fly is a great exercise to do to develop your pectoral muscles. Because pectoral muscles and upper arm muscles are so crucial to a number of different athletic activities and they can also help to enhance the other exercises that you do, it’s a good idea to spend some time isolating these muscles to work on them throughout your regular workouts.

The chest fly is so named because it resembles the motions that birds make as they flap their wings to fly. While there are dedicated machines at many gyms that are set up to do the chest fly exercise, there are also cable machines that allow for a more free form motion. Many prefer these machines, as they not only help you to move in the way that’s most comfortable for you, but they also force you to maintain even strength and muscle use throughout the exercise.

1. Exercise Basics

The basic position of the cable chest fly should be on in which you’re standing away from the cable machine and facing away from it. Place one foot in front of the other for stability and so that you can better balance as you work. Hold each end of the cable in one hand. Your arms should be positioned to the sides of your torso with your elbows bent at a ninety degree angle and your hands even with your ears, palms facing forward. This is the standard rest position; be sure that there is a good amount of tension in the cable at this point, but not enough that you won’t be able to continue to move the cable forward.

The exercise itself requires that you rotate both elbows in and arms forward. Do this at the same time to create the flapping motion and to increase the tension in the cable. The final position should have your arms pointing directly out from your abdomen with your elbows slightly in front of your waist. Slow return to the default position to do one repetition of this exercise.

2. Safety and Injury Prevention

Safety in this exercise is key. Place your feet offset from one another to be sure that you don’t lose your balance. Hold on to the cables firmly so that you won’t run the risk of letting go of them, which can cause injury to yourself or other people around you. Finally, it’s a good idea to adjust your position relative to the cable machine to be sure that you have the appropriate amount of work to do; don’t overstrain your muscles.

3. Modifications

By adding weight to the cable machine, you can force your arms to have to work harder in order to achieve the same goal. Doing a full extension of the arms in front of you from the middle position of the exercise will also begin to work other muscle groups in the forearms for a more complete exercise.


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