What Muscles Does the Cable Incline Fly Work?

The cable incline fly helps develop your upper body.

The cable incline fly helps develop your upper body.

If you're not familiar with the world of exercise, you might think that the "cable incline fly" refers to a televised insect who scales slopes. But that is not the case. The cable incline fly is actually an exercise, and quite an effective one at that. You can use the cable incline fly to meet your fitness goals, as this exercise helps strengthen multiple muscles in your upper body. The cable incline fly requires special exercise equipment -- a cable pulley system -- available at many gyms, so you might not be able to perform this exercise at home. Always lift with proper supervision for the utmost safety.


Consider the cable incline fly in your workout routine both for muscle building and for weight management. Because the exercise works multiple muscle groups, it is an efficient way to improve strength. Also, the use of multiple muscle groups results in a higher rate of calorie burning, which makes the cable incline fly suitable for weight loss. Another reason to try the cable incline fly? It tends to be safer than other upper body exercise thanks to the cable system. Unlike with barbells, you never have a heavy weight suspended over your body when using cables, so there is a reduced risk of injury. Additionally, a cable setup guides your motion so you won't perform exercises incorrectly and harm yourself.

Prime Mover

The prime mover, or central target of the cable incline fly is the pectoralis major, which is located in your chest. This large muscle is also worked by exercises such as the bench press and chest press. Also known as the ''upper pecs,'' your pectoralis major is crucial for arm movement. The muscle works on your shoulder joint to perform flexion, rotation, adduction and abduction; in other words, if your arm is moving from the shoulder joint, the pectoralis major is involved.

Assisting Muscles

Your pectoralis major doesn't do it all, however. Supporting the primary muscle in the movement of the cable incline fly are the biceps and deltoids. Your biceps are located on your upper arm and are involved in pulling motions that bend your elbow, from rowing to pulling open a door. Your deltoids, or shoulder muscles, work with your pectoralis major to move your arm from the shoulder joint.

Stabilizing Muscles

When working on a cable-based exercise machine, you expend a significant amount of effort keeping the cables from moving erratically. Depending on how much tension is on the cable, the task might be quite difficult, but you have four muscles helping you maintain stability: The biceps, triceps, wrist flexors and brachialis. The biceps and triceps are located on your upper arm, while the wrist flexors and brachialis are located on your forearm. These muscles help keep the cables still so that the prime mover and assisting muscles can pull the resistance through the proper range of motion. Stabilizing muscles may not have a glamorous job, but it is an important one.

About the Author

Brian Willett began writing in 2005. He has been published in the "Buffalo News," the "Daytona Times" and "Natural Muscle Magazine." Willett also writes for Bloginity.com and Bodybuilding.com. He is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of North Carolina.

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