Most strength training exercises for the chest involve lying on a bench, but the cable crossover forces you to do the exercise from a standing position. This means your legs and core have to contribute in order to keep you on balance. Most gyms will have the cable pulley unit that you’ll need. Schedule the cable crossover in the same workout as the rest of your chest exercises and perform it at a volume that will invoke developments in strength and size.
To perform the cable crossover, stand in between two cable pulley units that are set to a high position. Grip each end of the pulleys and set yourself in the center of both of the units. Take a step forward so that your arms are stretched behind you slightly, and set your feet so that they’re in a staggered position. Keep just a slight bend in your elbows as you squeeze your arms together towards the centerline of your body. Stop your hands just short of touching and then control your arms back out to starting position.
The cable crossover primarily develops the major muscle in your chest, which is called the pectoralis major. The pectoralis major originates at your sternum and then shoots out to each of your shoulders where it inserts at the very top of your upper arm bone. Also assisting in the exercise is your deltoid, which is the major muscle at your shoulder. Your biceps isometrically contract to hold your elbows in a slightly bent position.
Do the cable crossover and other chest exercises two days per week with one to two days off in between. Your muscles need 48 to 72 hours of rest so that they can heal and recover and you’ll significantly limit your developments if you work out too frequently. The cable crossover is an isolation exercise, which means it requires movement at just one joint: your shoulders. When you structure your workout, you’ll want to perform any compound, multi-joint chest exercises first. Exercises like chest press, incline chest press and pushups involvement movement at the shoulders and elbows, so you should complete those before moving onto the cable crossover.
Volume and Weight
How many sets and repetitions you do of the cable crossover, as well as how much weight you put on the cable pulley unit, will determine the results you receive from your training. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you perform at least one set of eight to 12 repetitions. The more sets you do of the cable crossover, however, the more significant the results. Dr. Helen M. Binkley of the National Strength and Conditioning recommends that if you’re looking to build size, you want to do three to six sets of an exercise. Choose a weight that makes completing each set of cable crossover challenging. If you do 12 repetitions, but could easily do more, you’re not going to adequately overload your chest and thus won’t stimulate development.
Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.