If your workout program comprises of cable fly, and you want to build your pectoral muscles, then you are on the right track. Cable fly variation, also known as standing cable is one of the best workouts there is for pectoralis major. It is very similar to the dumbbell fly, and it is a simple and yet efficient way for muscle gains.
Let’s take a closer look at this chest exercise – cable fly variation – and the mechanics and even mistakes that reduce its effectiveness. We would also share information about chest cable fly exercises that include the version of dumbbell flies.
Even though you aren’t a fitness trainer or a pro bodybuilder, you must have heard about “dumbbell flies”, because it’s a common sight in commercial gyms. For this reason, it has been termed the workout that boosts the size and strength of the pectoral muscles.
But still, there is a catch. These exercises have to be done perfectly to achieve the best results. When you lift weights that are way too heavy, it puts unnecessary stress on the shoulder, and this reduces the range of motion, resulting in lifting with fewer muscles and more momentum. But the cable chest fly is a better option because it causes puts constant tension on the muscles during the up-and-downswing of the exercise, and this would result in a better outcome.
Benefits of Cable Fly Variations
You may wonder why you should do a standing chest flye or a dumbbell flye, but this chest exercise can add many benefits to your chest workouts. But as always, the key to getting these results is to make sure you are doing it the right way.
Here are some benefits that may give you the push you have been waiting for:
- It Aids Scapular Retraction
This just refers to the capacity to press the shoulder blades together. And it would help especially if you are battling bad postures; which is a result of hunching yourself in a seat over a desktop computer or steering wheels for long hours daily.
In reality, a sedentary lifestyle is one of the major causes of health problems such as obesity and high blood pressure, and the situation becomes worse when you maintain a bad posture for several hours during working hours.
- It is a Compound Workout
If you are looking to get the best for your workout, then you should consider the pec fly. It works on the muscles of the chest, triceps, and the shoulder’s stabilizing muscles.
How to do Cable Flys
The basic steps involved in cable flys can be termed easy; you just need to make sure you are using the right steps and proper form.
The number of steps and reps you have to do would be dependent on what fitness goals you are trying to achieve and how much time you spend when doing your workouts. The general guideline used by most fitness settings is 12-15 reps combined with three sets.
Here is a detailed step-by-step method on how to do cable flys:
- Stand straight in the center of the cable machine
Bend your elbows slightly and use both your hands to grip a D-handle that is connected to the high pulley.
- Position your hands to be placed in front of your body
Your hands should connect between the height of your navel and chest. Make sure your elbows are bent, with your chest up and core braced.
- When your hands meet, position your wrists, so your palms can be upwards
Hold your hands so your pinky fingers can touch, and at the same time, squeeze your pec muscles as hard as you can.
- Stay in this position for three to four seconds
Focus solely on the tension that happens in the middle region of your chest, when you move your arms or wrist.
- Go back slowly to the beginning position
Slowly reverse your movement, and try to maintain absolute control of your weight.
Let’s look at a few tips for Cable Fly.
- Switch the Hand Position
For instance, facing your palms backward or forward would aid in triggering muscles in various regions of the chest.
- Keep your Core Occupied
This would help to stop the lower back from bending too much when lower movements during workouts. Although the core isn’t the most vital area, yet it is very critical for perfecting the most effective exercises. When your core is tight, your back would be straight, and this would help in correcting your body posture.
- Aim to Combine Standing Cable Flys and other Chest Focused Workouts
These include stability ball and bench press, plus you can also make research on your own to find out other workouts that would work together with standing flys. This would aid in working out the muscles because you are to be targeting the pec muscles at different positions.
- Increase or Decrease Weight
If you wish to control the intensity of this chest exercise, then this is the best approach. The trick is to find the perfect spot that would yield the best results.
So the question is, how do you know when to use the right weight? The standing fly is challenging, but that doesn’t mean it should alter your proper form. So if it is one rep max, then you are probably lifting a weight that’s too heavy for you.
Let’s give you a simple guideline to use. If your last rep proved challenging but possible to finish, then you are using the right weight. However, if it was as hard as a nail or very easy, then it might not be right for you.
- Go For 2/3 Second Negative Stage
This is the downswing motion of the exercise; the upward motion is usually faster. And that’s because; the negative phase is always more relaxed than the positive, so you can make up by slowing down the process. This would help you achieve maximum benefits from the exercise and also maximum gains.
Cable Fly Variation
Same with other workouts, you can find several variations for cable flys. Here are some of the best out there that can give you maximum gains:
High Cable Fly
- Modify the cable machine so that the pulley can be positioned just a bit above your head.
- Hold the handles and move forward, and then bring your hands together right underneath your chest. Make sure that your hands are a little bent.
Low Cable Fly
- Drop the arms of the cable machines to the floor.
- Hold the handles and step forward so that the weights won’t touch the remaining weight stack.
- Bring the hands together so it can be in front of the chest, right under the chin. Retract your shoulders, and position your chest up.
- Slightly bend your shoulders while doing the whole process all over again.
Dumbbell Flys vs Cable Flys
When planning a workout program, the best substitution to standing cable flyes is dumbbell flys. They are both great exercises to build muscle mass, but one has to be better right?
They both have their good and bad sides, so it’s imperative to know what package each of them comes with, to choose what works best for you.
The debate continues as to whether cable machine or free weight is a better option for maximum gains. What’s the conclusion? Both free weights and cable machines have their advantages. So having this knowledge would help narrow down your doubt when deciding on what equipment to select for your chest workout.
If you are hoping to achieve the best results, you should consider going for the two types of weight-resistance training so that you can get the best out of both types of equipment.
Mistakes Associated with Cable Flys Variation
Same with other workouts, you would do better when you know what not to do. Having knowledgeable information about the common mistakes would prevent you from making them yourself.
Fortunately, every possible mistake has already been made by weightlifters, yes, so you aren’t going to be in the dark. Here are the main mistakes you should avoid:
Doing Rapid Reps
As it is with some workouts, it’s essential to do flyes in slow and calculated motion. Most people tend to perform flyes too quickly, and there is no need for that. When you do fast reps, you might miss on not impacting your chest muscles as you should, and you also increase your risk of sustaining an injury.
Positioning your Hands too Close to your Shoulders
The proper way to do flyes is to slightly bend your shoulders, and maintain that position from down to the top of the rep.
The common mistake most fitness people make is to start the flye like a press because the hands are already very close to the shoulders. This is a mistake because the press makes use of the triceps, but the fly work doesn’t involve the pec muscles; instead, it aims to isolate it.
The primary reason why this happens during standing flys is that you are either not in proper form, or you are carrying too much weight. When you place your posture in a way where your shoulders are hunched forward, it puts your body in a faulty position. And this can put undue stress on your shoulder and make you prone to injuries in the future. These are situations you would want to avoid.