Cable-crossover exercises are effective for building strong pectoral muscles. The tension in the cable provides a smooth and continuous resistance, unlike free weights, which can be affected by momentum. The continuous resistance engages many small stabilizer muscles in your chest, in addition to the pectorals. This provides optimal results for increasing strength and definition.
Incorporating cable-crossover exercises into your workout routine can help define your muscles and increase your upper body strength. The tension and resistance in cable-crossovers is apparent throughout the entire exercise's range of motion, an optimal feature that cuts down on any wasted energy. Different cable-crossover techniques make this an easy exercise to use continuously, giving your workouts variety. Because different techniques are used, all areas of the pectoral muscles are trained rather than just one part of them.
The key to getting the most out of cable-crossover exercises is to alternate the angles at which you bring your arms together. During a standard crossover, your arms should remain parallel to the ground. This targets the main pectoral muscle. For a decline cable-crossover, concentrate on bringing the cable downward so that your arms meet around the height of your thighs. This targets the lower pectorals. Finally, in an incline cable-crossover ,pull the cables from a slightly lower starting position. Your arms should meet at approximately chin-height. This will target the upper pectorals of the chest.
Seated and Lying Cable-Crossovers
Cable-crossover exercises can be performed standing as well as in a sitting or lying position. Sit on a flat bench, preferably with a backrest for support, and perform the cable-crossover as you would when standing. The difference is that seated cable-crossovers will stabilize your body and isolate the chest, placing more focus on the pectoral muscles. If you find that the sitting position places too much strain on your back, you can try to perform the exercise while lying on a flat bench. This takes off some of the pressure but still isolates the chest.
Perhaps the most important aspect to correctly performing cable-crossover exercises is balance. Ensure that the cables are taut when taking your starting position and keep a slight bend in your arms. Stand with one foot behind you while slightly leaning forward and balancing your upper body over your front foot. The angle at which you wish to perform the cable-crossover determines how high or low you position the pulleys. If you have never performed cable-crossovers, start with low weight and a spotter. This exercise is very demanding and will challenge your range of motion, so be sure that your muscles are stretched and lose.