15 Best Cable Crossover Alternative Exercises to Build A Well-Toned Chest

The cable crossover is a cable machine exercise that allows you to work your chest from different angles.
In this guide, we will look at a selection of the best cable crossover alternative exercises that you can do to help you achieve similar benefits.

cable crossover alternatives

The cable crossover is one of the most popular chest exercises in any gym, but it is not always the most practical.

In this guide, we will look at what makes the exercise effective. We will also look at a selection of the best cable crossover alternative exercises that you can do to help you achieve similar benefits if you don’t have access to the required equipment.

What is the Cable Crossover?

The cable crossover is a cable machine exercise that isolates the pectoral (chest) muscles. It allows you to work your chest from different angles. It also removes the triceps (back of arms) and deltoids (shoulder muscles) from the equation. This is beneficial if your arms or shoulders tire, but your chest still needs some work.

cable crossover alternative exercises

The cable crossover is an isolation exercise. This means whereas some exercises work many muscle groups (compound movements), an isolation exercise will target one muscle group.

Benefits of Cable Crossover

  • Excellent “finisher” exercise for pectorals
  • One of the few exercises that isolate the pecs
  • Great for drop sets
  • Low impact

Muscles Worked

  • Pectorals

Limitations of Cable Crossover

  • Can be uncomfortable to perform (handles hitting opposing hands)
  • Requires a double-station cable machine
  • Takes up a lot of space
  • Can be uncomfortable for people with rotator cuff injuries

What are the Best Cable Crossover Alternative Exercises?

In this section, we will look at 15 cable crossover alternative exercises that you can add to your workout.

Increasing the variety of exercises that you know will help to prevent boredom. It also gives you better options if you have a home gym where space and equipment may be issues.

Incline Cable Fly

incline cable fly

This incline cable fly is one of the most enjoyable and effective pectoral isolation exercises. It is also one of the most effective cable crossover alternative exercises

Muscles Targeted: Pectorals (chest)
Level: Beginner
Equipment Required: Bench, Cable Station

Steps to Follow

  1. You will need a cable station, like with cable crossovers. But instead of setting the pulley to the top of the station, you will place it at the bottom. Then do the following next thing you will want to do is grab a bench. Place it right in the middle of the cable station and set the seat to a 45-degree incline.
  2. You want the bench set so that when you use it, the handles are in line with your chest. This can take a while to get right, so prepare to spend a couple of minutes shifting the bench around.
  3. Once it is set up, lie on the bench, and grab a handle in each hand. Slightly bend your arms, and then pull the handles up and together as if you are performing a huge clap.
  4. Pause when the handles are above your chest, and then slowly lower them back to the starting position. The slower and smoother the better. Stop before the handles reach the bottom of the cable station. Pause for a great stretch before pulling them together again.

Pec Deck Resistance Machine

The Pec Deck is a common piece of equipment found in most gyms. It works like a flat dumbbell or cable fly, which you perform sitting upright.

crossover alternative - pec deck resistance machine cable

This cable crossover alternative exercise is great as a finisher, or for drop sets, as it is easy to lower the weight. It doesn’t always offer as great a stretch as a cable crossover, but it is a fine alternative.

Muscles Targeted: Pectorals (chest)
Level: Beginner
Equipment Required: Pec Deck Machine

peck deck fly machine workout

Steps to Follow

  • To do this substitute for cable crossover exercise, sit on the Peck Deck machine. Ensure that the handles are the right height. You want your elbows in line with your shoulders. Place your head back on the headrest, push your chest out and make sure your feet are flat on the ground. Take hold of the handles.
  • Keep your back flat against the seat. Take a deep breath in and then breathe out as you pull the handles towards each other. Pause when the handles are almost touching. Return them to the starting position.

Incline Dumbbell Fly

The incline dumbbell fly is a great alternative to the cable crossover. It provides a great stretch for your pecs, is easy to set up, and is simple to learn.

incline cable fly cable crossover alternative

Muscles Targeted: Pectorals (chest)
Level: Beginner
Equipment Required: Dumbbells, Bench

  • Grab an exercise bench and set it up at a 45-degree angle. Using a neutral grip, grab a dumbbell with each hand. Lie back on the bench with your arms slightly bent and above your chest with palms facing inwards.
  • Take a deep breath and pull your arms apart like a bird spreading its wings. Keep a slight bend in your arms as you do so. When your arms are fully extended, breathe out and pull the dumbbells back together like a giant clap.

Assisted Dips

An assisted dip machine is a cable crossover alternative exercise that allows you to perform high rep finishers. This is great for fatiguing the chest muscles in a similar way to cable crossovers. You can use an assisted dip machine (as described below) or you can use a resistance band wrapped around your knees on a normal dip bar.

Muscles Targeted: Pectorals (chest), Triceps (back of arms), Deltoids (shoulders)
Level: Beginner/Intermediate
Equipment: Assisted Dip Machine, or Dip Bars and Resistance Band

Steps to Follow

  • Set the assisted dip machine up so that you can perform a higher rep count. This means making it easier and adding more counterweight. Set the bars wide (if the machine allows this) and grab hold tight.
  • Lean forward slightly to put more emphasis on your chest and less on your triceps. Then lower yourself down until your chest is in line with your hands.
  • Pause, and then drive back upwards to complete the movement.

Suspension Trainer Chest Fly

Suspension trainers are popular in gyms, bootcamps, and exercise classes. They are cheap to buy, take up almost no space at all when not in use, and can offer a great cable crossover alternative workout.

suspension trainer chest fly

The further back you place your feet, the harder the exercise becomes. Make sure that your shoes don’t slip on the floor before attempting this. Also, ensure that the suspension trainer is securely fastened to a stable object.

Muscles Targeted: Pectorals (chest), Abdominals
Level: Intermediate
Equipment: You will need a Suspension Trainer to do this cable crossover alternative at home

Steps to Follow

  • Grab a handle in each hand and place your arms out in front of you. Keep your feet together and lean forward until your arms are fully straight.
  • Pull your arms apart, like you would for a normal cable fly. As you do so, lean forwards. Stop when you’ve got a good pectoral stretch going.
  • Then pull your torso backward and pull your arms back together. That’s one rep.

Wide Stance Push-Ups

Wide stance push ups are a cable crossover alternative exercise that place more emphasis on the chest than regular push ups. That makes it an acceptable alternative to cable crossovers.

wide stance push-ups

Muscles Targeted: Pectorals (chest), Triceps (back of arms), Deltoids (shoulders)
Level: Intermediate

Steps to Follow

  • Place your hands flat on the floor at a wider than shoulder-width distance apart. Place your feet together and maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. Keep your hips flat, don’t let them rise or drop.
  • Lower your chest down towards the ground, stop when it is about a fist in height away from the ground. Pause, and then drive back upwards.

Flat Bench Cable Fly

A great alternative to the cable crossover that stretches the chest really well. it is a fun exercise to perform, particularly at the end of a chest workout.

Muscles Targeted: Pectorals (chest)
Level: Beginner
Equipment: Bench, Cable Station

Steps to Follow

  • To perform this fun cable crossover alternative exercise, place a flat bench in the center of a cable station with the pulleys set to the bottom.
  • Grab a handle in each hand and lie back, making sure the handles are in line with your chest.
  • Take a deep breath and then pull the handles up and together in an arc. Keep your arms slightly bent throughout.
  • Pause, and then lower the handles back down until they almost reach the bottom. Pause again to stretch your pecs.
  • Pull the handles back above your chest for the next rep.

Flat Bench Chest Fly

This exercise is the most like a cable crossover on this list. All you need is some light dumbbells and a bench.

cable crossover alternative - flat bench chest fly

Muscles Targeted: Pectorals (chest)
Level: Beginner
Equipment: Dumbbells, Bench

Steps to Follow

  • Sit on the end of an exercise bench with a dumbbell in each hand, resting on your knees. Hold the dumbbells in a neutral grip.
  • Lie back on the bench and with slightly bent arms, hold the dumbbells directly above your chest.
  • Take a deep breath and then pull your arms apart. Keep doing this until the dumbbells are parallel with the floor.
  • Breathe out and drive the dumbbells back up in a large arc. Until they are back in the starting position above your chest.

Resistance Band Low to High Chest Flys

For this exercise, you will need a light resistance band and an ankle cuff. It’s a great alternative to cable crossovers for those of you who have home gyms and a modest budget.

Muscles Targeted: Pectorals (chest)
Level: Intermediate
Equipment: Resistance Band, Ankle Cuff

Steps to Follow

  • Attach an ankle cuff to your right leg and feed your light resistance band through it. Place your right knee on the floor and place your left leg in front of you.
  • Hold one end of the resistance band in each hand, the band should travel underneath your right shin. Push your chest out and hold your hands by your sides.
  • From a low position, pull your arms upwards and together so that they finish with both hands almost touching in front of your face.
  • Pause, and then lower the handles back to the starting position.

The chest fly with resistance band is a straightforward cable chest alternative exercise once you get going. Check out this YouTube video to see how to perform this exercise correctly.

Dumbbell Pullover

dumbell chest pull over

Great cable crossover alternative exercise for stretching the pectorals, and one that you can perform in your home.

Muscles Targeted: Pectorals (chest), Deltoids (shoulders), Trapezius (upper back)
Level: Beginner
Equipment: Dumbbell, Bench

Steps to Follow

  • Grab a dumbbell and lie backward on a bench. Shift up on the bench so that your head is right at the end of it.
  • Rest the dumbbell on your chest so that it is standing upright. Place your hands in a diamond shape so that the dumbbell handle is between them. Raise the dumbbell straight up in the air using this diamond grip.
  • Keeping the dumbbell upright. Bring your arms back over your head. Stop when the dumbbell is almost touching the ground behind your bench.
  • Pause, and then drive the dumbbell back upwards until it is directly above your chest again.

Dumbbell Press and Fly Combo

This cable crossover alternative exercise is also known as the Tele Fly. It’s a great way to increase the amount of weight you use during a regular fly. It also targets the triceps nicely.

chest exercises with dumbbells

Muscles Targeted: Pectorals (chest), Deltoids (shoulders), Triceps (back of arms)
Level: Intermediate
Equipment: Dumbbells, Bench

Steps to Follow

  • Grab a dumbbell in each hand using a neutral grip and lie back on the bench. The dumbbells should be resting on your chest with your elbows tucked into your sides.With both hands facing towards each other, drive your arms upwards, keeping your elbows close to your sides throughout.
  • Don’t fully extend your arms, you want a very slight bend in them.
  • Pull your hands apart and bring the dumbbells outwards until your hands are parallel with the floor.
  • Tuck your elbows into your sides and then drive the dumbbells back into the air to restart the exercise.

Floor Slide Presses

For this exercise, you will need an exercise mat (or something soft to place your knees on) and a set of floor sliders. It’s a great cable crossover alternative chest exercise and takes up very little space. Perfect for home gyms

Muscles Targeted: Pectorals (chest)
Level: Beginner
Equipment: Exercise Mat, Floor Sliders

Steps to Follow

  • Place your knees on an exercise mat and put your hands on some floor sliders (they need to be off the mat). Get into a knee-push up position. Hands directly under shoulders, flat back, knees, and feet touching the mat.
  • Slide your hands apart, lowering your chest towards the ground. Pause when your chest is almost touching the ground.
  • Slide your hands back together, raising your chest back off the ground and returning to the starting position.

Resistance Band Crossover

Flat Bench Cable Fly

This exercise is identical to the cable crossover, but instead of using a cable station, you can just use a resistance band. Perfect for home gyms or for setting up in your bedroom.


Muscles Targeted: Pectorals (chest)
Level: Beginner
Equipment: Resistance Band

Steps to Follow

  • Wrap a band around a pole and hold a handle in each hand. Bring the band up to chest height. Face away from the pole and bend arms slightly. Pull handles out wide.
  • Bring your arms forwards until the handles are next to each other in front of your chest.

Single Arm Band Fly

A great one-armed version of the resistance band crossover. If space is an issue, then, one of the best cable crossover alternative exercises at your disposal is the single arm band fly. It is a good workout for abs too, as they work hard to keep you facing forward.

Muscles Targeted: Pectorals (chest), Abdominals
Level: Intermediate
Equipment: Resistance Band

Steps to Follow

  • Set the resistance band up on a post so that it’s nice and high up. Grab both handles in one hand, stand sideways onto the post, and place your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Start with your arm slightly bent and your hand above shoulder height. Pull the handles forwards and down so that you finish with the handle directly in front of your chest.
  • Pause, and then slowly return the handle to the starting position.
  • Perform the required number of reps and then turn around and swap hands.

Suspension Trainer Push Up

Suspension trainers are amazing for home gyms as they are inexpensive, versatile, and take up very little space. They are good cable crossover alternative exercises if performed in the correct way.

suspension trainer push up exercise


Muscles Targeted: Pectorals (chest), Triceps (back of arms), Deltoids (shoulders), Abdominals
Level: Intermediate
Equipment: Suspension Trainer

Steps to Follow

  • Attach the suspension trainer securely to a high point. Then stand facing outwards with both hands holding onto handles.
  • Bring your arms out in front of you and lean forwards.
  • Pull your arms backward and either side of your body as you lean your chest forwards.
  • Pause, then slowly push your arms forwards, and bring your chest back to the starting position.

Final Words from LiveLife

All the listed cable crossover alternative exercises can help you develop and build your pecs.

You don’t need to splash out on expensive equipment to incorporate many of them into your workout when working away from the gym. Add as many of these as you can to your chest workouts.

We have given you enough crossover alternative exercise options and variety to help spice things up for you.

Making the right choices and putting in the effort can put you on the road to developing the well-defined chiseled chest of your dreams

Frequently Asked Questions

What Muscles Do Cable Crossovers Work?

The pectoral muscles. With a little emphasis on your core muscles and the muscles in your forearm (gripping the handles).

Do Cable Crossovers Work?

Yes, they are an effective pectoral isolation exercise

Is Cable Crossover a Push or Pull Exercise?

It would count as a push exercise, although we can understand the confusion!

  1. Standing Incline Cable Flyes (n.d.). https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/exercise-library/163/standing-incline-cable-flyes/
  2. Schanke W, et al. (n.d.). ACE-sponsored research: Top 3 most effective chest exercises.
    acefitness.org/certifiednewsarticle/2884/ace-sponsored-research-top-3-most-effective-chest
  3. Ebben, W. P., Wurm, B., Vanderzanden, T. L., Spadavecchia, M. L., Durocher, J. J., Bickham, C. T., & Petushek, E. J. (2011). Kinetic analysis of several variations of push-ups. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 25(10), 2891-2894
    ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21873902
  4. Marchetti PH, Uchida MC. Effects of the pullover exercise on the pectoralis major and latissimus dorsi muscles as evaluated by EMGJ Appl Biomech. 2011;27(4):380-4. doi:10.1123/jab.27.4.380
  5. Barbell incline front raise. (n.d.).
    exrx.net/WeightExercises/DeltoidAnterior/BBInclineFrontRaise
  6. Exercise library: Incline chest press. (n.d.).
  7. acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/exercise-library/25/incline-chest-press
  8. Crockford J. (2015). 4 moves to help you master the push-up. acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/5553/4-moves-to-help-you-master-the-push-up/
  9. Exercise library: Dumbbell chest press. (n.d.).acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/exercise-library/19/chest-press

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