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Many gyms feature scores of exercise options that can quickly have you overwhelmed. Instead of darting from machine to machine, think about the muscle group you plan to exercise first. If you're after strong pecs, few exercises are better than cable crossovers, which you perform on a cable machine.
A Top-Three Chest Builder
Cable crossovers, which are also occasionally known as cable standing flyes, are one of the quickest ways to strengthen your pectoralis major muscles, according to the American Council on Exercise. This exercise generates the third-most activity in your pecs, behind only the barbell bench press and flyes with the pec deck machine. Cable crossovers have a number of variations, including standing with your feet together or staggered; leaning forward deepens the challenge of each rep.
Exercise Takes Aim at Your Pecs
The cable crossover exercise targets your pectoralis major muscles' sternal heads, which are the muscles found in the bottom part of your chest. These muscles are often known as your lower pecs and contribute to shoulder and scapula movements on each side of your body. You use your pectoralis major muscles countless times each day for tasks such as pushing a stroller or a shopping cart.
Help When You Need It
In addition to its target, cable crossovers aren't possible to properly perform without the involvement of a number of synergist muscles. This term describes muscles that "lend a hand" during the execution of each rep. These muscles include the clavicular head of your pectoralis major muscles, which are located directly above the sternal head, pectoralis minor, rhomboids, levator scapulae, anterior deltoids and latissimus dorsi.
Stability During Each Rep
A handful of other muscles play the role of stabilizer muscles, contracting during each rep but otherwise exhibiting little movement. As you perform cable crossovers, your muscles that play the role of stabilizer include your biceps brachii, brachialis, triceps brachii, wrist flexors, obliques and rectus abdominis. The erector spinae muscles of your back act as an antagonist stabilizer, helping to keep the correct position of your joints as you perform the exercise.
About the Author
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.