The 7 Best Cable Crossover Alternatives

Great Cable Crossover Alternatives

The cable crossover is one of the best moves you can make to move your pectoral muscles through their full range of motion. It is also a great exercise to get a maximum pectoral contraction. Doing this exercise, however, requires having access to a cable crossover machine.

Most home gyms don’t always have one and quite a number of gyms have not more than one of them – and it’s usually busy. Fortunately, there are a lot of great cable crossover alternatives to get a great chest workout. In this article, I will lay out the top 10 cable crossover alternatives. 

7 Cable Crossover Alternatives:

1. Seated Cable Flyes

How to do seated cable flyes:

  1. Place a flat bench between the weight stacks on a cable crossover machine
  2. Set the pulleys to their lowest settings.
  3. Lie on the bench and grab the handles at arm’s length with elbows slightly bent and locked in that position.
  4. From a starting position with your arms extended out to the sides, pivot from the shoulders to bring your arms up to meet above your chest.
  5. Lower and repeat.

Seated cable fly training tips

Do not straighten your arms; keep them slightly bent but locked in that position. The only movement should be through the shoulder joint. 

2. Dumbbell Flyes

How to do dumbbell flyes:

  1. Lie on a flat bench with a pair of dumbbells held above your chest with arms slightly bent and palms facing each other.
  2. Pivot from the shoulder joint to bring the arms out to the sides and down until they are in line with your torso.
  3. Reverse the motion to return to the start position. 

Dumbbell fly training tips

Do not lower your arms below the level of your body. 

3. Dumbbell Bench Press

How to do a dumbbell bench press:

  1. Lie on a flat bench with a pair of dumbbells in your hands and held above your chest with palms facing forward. 
  2. Lower the dumbbells down and to the sides until your elbows are in line with your torso.
  3. Push back to the start position.

Dumbbell bench press training tips

In the bottom position, your elbows should be in a 90-degree position. Squeeze the pectorals tightly in the top position. 

4. Cable Chest Press

How to do a cable chest press:

  1. Place an adjustable incline bench about three feet in front of a double pulley machine and facing away from it. Set the seat angle to 70 degrees.
  2. Set the pulleys at shoulder level when you are seated.
  3. Sit on the seat and grab the handles. 
  4. Your starting position should have your elbows bent at 90 degrees and at the level of your shoulders.
  5. Press the handles forward and in toward your middle chest until they touch together.
  6. Reverse and repeat.

Cable chest press training tips

Keep your elbows upright and at a right angle in the starting position. Forcefully contract the chest muscles in the end position.

5. Floor Flyes

How to do floor flyes:

  1. Lie on the floor with your knees bent and a pair of dumbbells resting on your stomach with an overhand grip.
  2. Position the dumbbells above your chest at arm’s length and bend your arms slightly.
  3. Pivot from the shoulder joint to bring the dumbbells out and down until your triceps make contact with the ground.
  4. Reverse and repeat.

Floor fly training tips

This version of the dumbbell fly is preferred by many because it does not overstress the shoulder joint. Be sure to keep your arms slightly bent. If you are unable to complete the last couple of reps, you can ‘chest’ the weight up by doing a push press and then focusing on slow eccentric repetitions. 

6. Wide Grip Push-Ups

How to do wide grip push-ups:

  1. Get down on all fours with your points of contact being the psalm and toes. Your feet should be together and your arms out about six inches wider than a standard push-up position.
  2. Start from the top position of the push-up and lower down to bring your chest to about one inch from the floor.
  3. Reverse and repeat.

Wide grip push ups training tips

The wider the hand position, the more this exercise will replicate the cable crossover. However the wider the grip, the less range of motion you will also get. So, you need the happy medium between being wide and being too wide in order to get a full range of motion. 

7. Single Arm Cable Press

How to do a single arm cable press:

  1. Set the pulley on a cable machine at shoulder level. Stand about a foot in front of the machine and grab hold of the handle with an overhand grip at shoulder level.
  2. Your arm should be at a right angle in the starting position.
  3. Press your arms directly forward to full arm extension.
  4. Reverse and repeat.

Single arm cable press training tips

You may have to brace your non-working arm against an upright for support. Concentrate on getting a full range of motion by fully extending and contracting on every repetition. 

Final Thoughts

The Cable Crossover is a fantastic chest developer that you should definitely add to your routine if you have access to it. If you don’t have a cable crossover at your disposal, such as when you’re exercising at home, you now have access to 8 awesome alternative exercises that will also provide you with a very effective chest workout.

Combine 3 of the above exercises into a 12-14 set workout. Perform 3-4 sets of each exercise with reps ranging from a high of 30 reps to a low with your heaviest poundage of 6 reps. This will allow you to hit all of the muscle fibers of your chest for maximum strength and growth potential. 

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This article was last updated on September 20, 2021 .

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Categorized as Exercise

By Steve Theunissen

Steve is a former gym owner, personal trainer, and 20-year veteran of the fitness writing industry. Steve has written for websites such as Hardcore Muscle, Fitness, Carblite, and Men's Health and has been a fitness expert columnist for 2 international magazines.