If you want to sculpt or tone your chest, cable flys need to be part of your workout routine.
How are Cable Flys Performed?
You begin a set of flys by standing in the middle of a machine that has a cable handle at each end. Once you grab the cables, your arms will be fully extended to the sides. Your hands should be at a level that's slightly higher than your head. A cable fly rep is performed by pulling the cables down and forward until you bring the handles together in front of your body. As you pull, you want to keep your arms straight and ensure that you are using your chest muscles to pull the weight.
Once you've brought the handles together in front of you, slowly let the cables go back to their starting position. A common mistake is letting the cables go back too quickly. The reason you want to keep the cables' tension on your chest as you let them back is to maximize the effectiveness of this exercise.
Are Cable Flys More Effective than the Bench Press?
While many people associate chest workouts with the bench press, cable flys have several advantages over the bench press:
- Isolation: Although you use your pectoral muscles while bench pressing, you also use your delts, triceps and shoulders. Your core muscles are also used to help stabilize the weight. While this is fine if you're looking for a quick way to work multiple muscles at once, it's far from ideal if you want to sculpt your chest. With cable flys, you are able to put all the tension of the exercise directly on your chest.
- Safety: The bench press puts you at risk of shoulder, trap, elbow and wrist injuries. Dropping the bar can also lead to injuries as serious as broken ribs. Because cable flys give you more control over the weight and your movements, you won't have to be concerned about these risks.
- Full Exertion: Since you do have to worry about injuries when you're bench pressing, it's common to quit before you've fully exerted your muscles. However, in order to maximize your muscle growth, it's important to completely exhaust your muscles during a workout. The safer nature of cable flys will allow you to get the best results from your chest workouts by pushing your pecs to complete failure.
Should Women Perform Cable Flys?
Absolutely. Although most women don't have the same goals for their chest as men, they will still benefit from cable flys. A common myth is that women who do resistance exercises will pack on muscle and lose their feminine figure. The reason this isn't true is because women naturally have lower testosterone levels than men. As a result, they simply can't build the amount of muscle that would cause them to become "bulky." Instead, adding lean muscle with exercises like cable flys will give women the toned look that they desire.