Christine Envall Female Bodybuilder Australia

Cable Cross Ups

 Cable Cross Ups are a novel exercise for the medium to advanced trainer who wants to develop more upper chest mass, particularly along the collarbone. This region is particularly hard to develop, and when you diet, it is usually the first place where the muscle thickness is sacrificed, leaving a bony look rather than a thick muscular look.

In order to perform Cable Cross Ups, you need a cable that starts at floor level (most cable cross over machines are suitable, but wall mounted cables are usually better as the weight increments are less and this is not an exercise you can use a lot of weight on).

Take the cable handle in your left hand and step away from the weight stack. You should be standing side on to the cable. Step out far enough that the weight is no longer touching the stack and there is tension on the cable. Start with the cable by your side and then bring it up and diagonally across your body with your palm supinated (palm up), so that you finish the movement with your left hand in front of your right shoulder. You will feel your left chest plate contract strongly in this position and throughout the movement. Squeeze your chest at the top of the movement and then slowly lower the cable back to the starting position. Make sure you 'retrace your steps' with movement when you return the cable to the starting position.

Make sure you do not twist your body as you perform this movement as you will lose the contraction of the chest. This is also not good for your lower back. I find it useful to face a mirror when I do this exercise so I can see if I am twisting. If this isn't possible, get your partner or someone in the gym to watch you and tell you if you are twisting until you get used to the motion. Another thing I find useful when performing this exercise is placing my right hand on my left chest plate so I can feel that it is contracting fully, and that I am squeezing properly at the top of the motion.

The reason this exercise is for medium to advanced trainers is because it does take a certain degree of lower back strength to hold steady and not twist during the exercise. Another reason is that beginners should be focusing on basic mass building exercises before starting to specialize in such an isolatory exercise.

Once you have performed 10 reps on the left side, turn around (or change to the other cable if using a cable cross over machine) and take the cable with your right hand and repeat for the right chest plate.

As I mentioned earlier, this is not an exercise that can be performed with a lot of weight. Start quite light on this exercise, and work up once you are used to it. Do not sacrifice good form as you increase the risk of injuring yourself, and you will also lose the benefit of the exercise.

I have found this an excellent exercise for bringing up the striations in the upper centre chest. It also works the front deltoids a bit, so it will enhance your total upper body look from the front.


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