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Cable Crossovers Chest Exercise

Crossovers are an amazing chest sculpting exercise. It gives your chest muscles a fuller and more sculpted look. I also like it because since you use your legs, glutes and core muscles for balance and support, it becomes an excellent full body exercise as well.  I recommend that it be done in the middle of your chest workout or towards the end.

There are many ways to do this exercise including standing up more or less straight, bent-over or in a position somewhere in-between. When you do this exercise standing up you are focusing primarily on your upper pectoral muscles. When you are doing them completely bent-over you are working the entire chest muscle group including your upper pectoral muscles. By changing the angle at which you are bent forward will affect which chest muscles you will be working out and how you will work them out. It's a good idea to try different different positions for added exercise variation.

In my video, I first start with the crossovers in the standing or more upright position and then I do it in the completely bent-over position. The movement and the way to do both variations of this exercise are the same.

Method of Performance - Bent-Over Crossovers:
  • Attach a couple of handles to the opposite sides of the cable pulley machines. There are many different types of cable pulley machines or workstations that you can use for this exercise. I prefer the workstation with the pulleys directly opposite to me and further away as the one in the video made by LifeFitness.
  • Adjust the height for the handles, should be a notch or two above your shoulders depending how you want to perform this exercise.
  • Grab the handles with the palms facing inwards towards each other.
  • Decide upon the position you are going to assume. For the bent over position, bend completely over at the same time bringing the handles inwards towards each other as you do so. Stand with knees bent over your feet and about shoulder width apart. This is your starting position.
  • From this starting position release back the handles by moving your arms backwards as far as they can comfortably go approximately where your upper arms are horizontal  with your shoulders while the time maintaining a bed in the elbows as you do this.
  • Bring the handles inwards maintaining the bend in the elbows until the two handles are together and repeat.
  • Do about 12 repetitions of 4 to 5 sets.
  • In this exercise, the bend in the elbows acts as a lever, it will allow you use more weight without putting undue stress on your arms because the arms are not doing all the work. The bend in the elbows transfers the energy required to do this movement to this “lever in the arms” and consequently works the chest more effectively. When you are doing this exercise properly, you do not need to clasp your hand fully around the handle, just wrapping your palms around the handles is enough to do the movement as I have shown in the second set of this video to demonstrate this point.
  • Remember to breathe. Exhale as you bring the handles inwards and Inhale as you bring the handles out or release.
For the upright standing position of the crossover, the method of performance is the same, just bring the handles in front of you following a plane that is horizontal to the floor, legs slightly apart with a very slight bend in the knees. You can also use a slightly bent forward lunge position for more support and stability with 1 foot bent out front and the other straight back. The handles should be set at around your shoulder or chest height based on machine slot availability.

It's a good idea to do short stretches in between sets to keep your muscles flexible and to prevent future injuries and muscle soreness the next day.

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