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How to Use the Cable Crossover Correctly

Climb the ladder for massive chest development.

By Jim Stoppani, Ph.D.
How to Use the Cable Crossover Correctly

Question

The pulleys on my gym’s cable crossover are adjustable from high to low. What’s the best position for the cable crossover chest exercise?
—David B., Waterloo, ON

Answer

The cable crossover is a great chest exercise because it stretches the pecs from the start position, hitting the outer pec muscle fibers. Your pulley position is determined by the area of the chest you want to target.

Setting the pulleys in the highest position focuses on the lower pecs, while the lowest position will work your upper pecs. Placing the pulleys at shoulder height—with arms parallel to the floor—will target your middle pec fibers.

My favorite way to work this area is a move I call the cable crossover ladder. If you’ve seen my triceps and biceps ladders, it’s very similar. Start in the lowest position and move up one notch every time you reach failure until you get to the top position. Each time you move the pulleys up one position, the exercise becomes slightly easier, allowing you to continue with little to no rest between positions.

The Workout

Excercise Sets Reps Reps
Incline Bench Press 3 6-8 2-3 min
Dumbbell Press 3 8-10 2-3 min
Cable Crossover Ladder* 1 8-12 Under 1 min

*Choose a weight that limits you to 8–12 reps in the first position. Keep the weight the same through every position and complete as many reps as possible until failure.

Quick Tip

You can also pre-exhaust your pecs by performing the cable crossover ladder first, then doing your barbell and dumbbell presses.

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