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Do Cable X-Overs Really Build Chests?

After watching the Kai/Shawn Ray video posted here:

where Shawn Ray says something to the effect of (paraphrasing) ‘…cable x-overs don’t really work, but look great for photo shoots…’ I decided to make this thread.

This is not the first time I’ve heard/read this from the pro guys that cable x-overs are great for pump and look cool but do little to build big chests (yes, assuming the nutrition is there).

Does anyone here swear by these or can attribute growth to doing them consistently?

I throw them in last once in awhile on chest day just to finish off the chest with what little energy I might have left in the tank, but I won’t go so far to say that any strength/growth has come from doing them. Don’t know…

Thoughts?

I think they’re an accessory exercise that no one is going to be able to definitely state they’ve added to chest development.

But yeah, they feel awesome.

They just give a nice pump. You won’t find much cross over unless you close heavy oak doors on old ladies/girl scouts.

Didn’t Charles just name it the most popular ineffective exercise in a gym?
muscle porn?

[quote]Meni69 wrote:
Didn’t Charles just name it the most popular ineffective exercise in a gym?
muscle porn?[/quote]

I thought I read somewhere recently that he said something to the same effect of Shawn Ray (ie looks good, not highly effective). I’ve been looking for the quote.

[quote]SteelyD wrote:
Meni69 wrote:
Didn’t Charles just name it the most popular ineffective exercise in a gym?
muscle porn?

I thought I read somewhere recently that he said something to the same effect of Shawn Ray (ie looks good, not highly effective). I’ve been looking for the quote.[/quote]

Found it–

[i]Q: What’s the most ineffective exercise that people commonly do? And how do you explain its popularity, if the exercise does indeed suck?

A: In the average commercial gym, the most ineffective yet popular exercise is the cable crossover. There are much better chest builders out there. So why are they so popular? Well, they’re fun to do while looking at yourself in the mirror.
[/i]

Question of Strength Vol. 48

I will agree that there are certainly ‘better’ chest builders than cable crossovers. Simply from the point of view that doing presses will allow you do handle heavier weights, recruit more fibers etc… But, having said that… there are instances where due to biomechanical limitations, chest presses are not giving the desired results. In such instances, I believe the cable crossovers (or flyes, or any sort of isolation chest exercises) will allow for ‘adequate’ stimulation of pectoral muscle fibers. Ken Waller (a favorite of mine), always maintained that he did not get much chest growth from heavy pressing, and relied on variety of flye type movements for the majority of his chest sessions.

S

I throw them in the middle of my routine for some pre-exhaust. I’ve never found a particular exercise to give a huge increase in size so I really have no idea what it’d done for me.

they’re just not a “bang for your buck” kinda exercise

These are great responses so far.

It does seem kind of consistent when several big pro guys say that the exercise isn’t a primary builder (or even useful for some).

However, just because someone says it doesn’t make it so, that’s why I asked who they’ve worked for. For example, at least as far as Poliquin goes, he ‘poo-poos’ cable press downs for triceps. I use them on chest/tri day to warm up or finish with, but I really feel them and I can say that I think they’ve worked for me. The cable x-overs not so much (IMO).

I do them as a finisher after all my pressing is done simply due to the hard static contraction I get at the end.

If I had access to one I’d use it about like you are now. A weighted most muscular at the end. It feels great, you can get a superlative squeeze and while I wouldn’t bet my chest development on it I do think it can contribute to an overall sound routine. At worst what does it hurt and they are very satisfying to do, at least to me even though I haven’t been able to for many years.

Anything done heavy will stimulate muscle growth (weight lifting exercise).Period.

Personally for me it was the other way around. Benching always built my triceps and shoulders more than chest and I never grew any real chest size until I used cables.

Maybe I just have strong triceps, or maybe I have a wierd bench technique, but I had much better chest growth when I made cable work my primary chest excercise.

But I also do cables first, and use heavy wieghts. I think when people ‘rep out’ at the end of the chest day using 10 pounds then it is different thing.

So two things:

  1. depends on whether you naturally banch using chest or triceps.

  2. depends on whether you do cables first up when your fresh and go as heavy as you can, 6 reps range or do it at the end with small wieghts.

I have used the machine maybe 3 times, ever.

I think using them for pre exhausting like waylander said could be useful. Other then that, the only other uses I would imagine are putting blood into the muscle and working on the mind-muscle connection.

[quote]Da Vinci wrote:
I do them as a finisher after all my pressing is done simply due to the hard static contraction I get at the end.[/quote]

Same here,but I prefer the lower setting and pull up.Feels better for some reason.

I do the dumbbell version (palms up, dbs pushed together) after my heavy barbell work.

When I added these the first time, my inner and upper chest/front delts were nice and sore.

Most people choose to simply use cable crossovers as a pumping exercise because they work so well in that regard.

However, if you really focused on the progressive overload and tried to up the weight every other week for a 10 rep max or something, of course they could build your chest.

But the nature of the exercise just makes it less effective than a bench press. That doesn’t mean it is USELESS.