T Nation

Standing Cable Press, Good Compound Exercise? Other Bench Press Substitutes?

Is the standing cable press a compound exercise? From what I understand, the scapulae is free to move like in a push-up, gives more range of motion, and the entire chain from core to legs has to be engaged. Due to the latter, I would think the ‘standing cable press’ would be classed as compound.

However, from what I have read the ‘cable cross over’ is an isolation exercise and I do want to stay away from isolation workouts.

What are some good bench press substitutes for chest workouts that are compound? Currently I am doing weighted/band push-ups and dips due to some shoulder issues and pectoral minor tear.

BUT the other day, my unit got rid of free weights and the benches since someone said the folks were being too aggressive throwing the weights around and jousting each other with the Olympic bars. So now we have about 20 cable machines and 5 cable cages, so I am looking for compound substitutes that can be done with cables since that is all I will have access to.

:rofl:

2 Likes

Why the fixation on whether an exercise is ‘compound’ or ‘isolation’?

I noticed I responded better with with compound movements. For years I did isolated biceps and tri; however, I really started to notice a difference once I switched to more compound movements. Due to the latter, I want to mainly stick with compound movements; however, I am not saying ‘no’ to isolation movements, just not what I want to focus primary on.

So, if there were certain ‘compound’ exercises that seemed to work for you, the best plan might be to use the cables in a manner that most closely mimics those movements.

Who were these monsters?

1 Like

The cable press is a compound exercise. It wouldn’t matter if the legs or core were engaged or not. It’s arms, shoulders, and chest, and it’s compound. I like it a lot, though I do a high-to-low variation which requires a lot less core and lets me focus on the chest contraction a lot more. The horizontal version will limit the weight you can move by a lot due to the core and leg stability.

I will look into the variation you speak of - I just started looking into the cable machine due the events as I pointed out. Previously, I did not have access to a cable machine, and just used bands attached to an stationary object to get standing press movement.

However, it is good timing, since a rehab therapist recommended cables over the bench press to start back slowly.

The obvious answer IMO, is find a gym with free weights. If training is a high enough priority you’d find a way. When I wanted a better weight room than my college had (it was free, so to speak), I joined the YMCA in town.

Now if you are held captive at your current gym, you might just have to “make do.”

2 Likes
The obvious answer IMO, is find a gym with free weights. If training is a high enough priority you’d find a way. When I wanted a better weight room than my college had (it was free, so to speak), I joined the YMCA in town.

Now if you are held captive at your current gym, you might just have to “make do.”

Not possible to find a new gym right now! :wink:

This is what I do.

Everyone does cable flyes, which are great, but when I add weight sometimes my shoulders get a little angry in the pursuit of a pec stretch. I guess it’s more properly named the decline cable press.

This video shows the motion I get. Make sure you’re letting your scaps come forward at the bottom. Mind muscle connection is everything with this exercise. You can cross your hands at the bottom too, alternating which hand goes on top. I like to cross my hands over until I nearly fail with slow reps and then pump out 5-10 more reps a bit quicker with hands just touching.