Decline Bench Cable Fly

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Decline Bench Cable Fly Exercise Guide

Decline bench cable fly targets the fibres of the sternal head of the pectoralis major (lower chest). Essentially, the technique used in the decline cable fly is the same as in the basic exercise (flat bench cable fly) but on a bench set at an decline of around 20° to 40º. This variant is excellent to achieve congestion of the lower part of the pectoral muscle, where dumbbell flyes are less effective. As a consequence, it works out an area of the pectoral muscles that is otherwise difficult to train, and the inclusion of this exercise in your training routines is recommended. You can also do this exercise on an incline bench, flat bench, or exercise ball in a similar manner.

Decline Bench Cable Fly Exercise Instructions

STARTING POSITION: Set the pulleys at the floor level (lowest level possible on the machine that is below your torso). Place an decline bench (set at an decline of around 20 to 40-degrees) in between the pulleys, select a weight on each one and grab a pulley on each hand. With a handle on each hand, lie on the decline bench and bring your hands together directly above the lower half of your chest. Your arms are nearly straight (elbows slightly bent), your palms face each other and the handles touch.This will be your starting position.

Decline Bench Cable Fly - Lower Chest Exercise

Decline Bench Cable Fly Exercise

EXECUTION (ACTION): Maintaining a slight bend in your elbows (in order to prevent stress at the biceps tendon), lower your arms out at both sides in a wide arc until you feel a stretch on your chest. Breathe in as you perform this portion of the movement. Keep in mind that throughout the movement, the arms should remain stationary. The movement should only occur at the shoulder joint. Return your arms back to the starting position as you squeeze your chest muscles and exhale. Hold the contracted position for a second.

Decline Bench Cable Fly Tips & Tricks

  • Make sure that your legs are steady at the top of the bench—you don’t want to slide down the bench.
  • Use light weight in the beginning, raising and lowering directly over your lower chest.
  • Keeping your arms slightly bent, pull the handles in front of you as if you were hugging a barrel, squeezing your chest when your hands are above your torso.
  • As with all flye exercises, don’t let the handles drop too low at your sides; this could easily strain your chest muscles.
  • Always try to keep your arms slightly bent at the elbows; if you lock them, you make the exercise easier on your pecs. Maintain this angle of your elbows throughout the entire exercise (range of motion).
  • If you prefer to use significantly heavier weight (not recommended), bent your elbows more than normal as you lower the handles. The resulting motion is a cross between a press and a fly.
  • When you bring your arms back toward the midline of your body, focus on using your pec muscles to draw them back together.
  • It is not advisable to work out intensely for prolonged periods with the head below the level of the heart. This is because the human body is not designed for effort in an inverted posture.

Advanced Tip

At the top of each rep, cross your hands over one another so that your wrists touch. Squeeze your pectorals together in this position. In other words, lift the cables slightly past the point where the handles touch.

Decline Bench Cable Fly Common Mistakes

  • Short movement because the cable is not long enough or the pulleys are too far apart.
  • Doing a press rather than flyes.
  • Deficient concentration of work on the pectoral muscle because too much of the strain is taken by the deltoids (or/and biceps brachii).

Muscles Involved

In contrast to incline flyes, it is the lower fibers that do most of the work in this exercise.

  • Primary: Lower pectoralis major (sternal head)
  • Secondary: Anterior deltoid, triceps

Substitutes (Replacement Exercise)

If you want to find more exercises for your lower chest, visit our lower chest exercises category.

Closing Thoughts

The inclusion of the decline bench cable fly in your training routines is highly recommended. Cables provide many benefits over dumbbells: you’re able to maintain steady, constant tension throughout the entire exercise (range of motion). During a free-weight fly, the resistance is very uneven over the range of motion. The tension is very high in the stretched position, which increases the risk of overstretching the tendons of both the chest and the long head of the biceps. As you bring the weights up, the resistance decreases dramatically. It is almost null at the top of the movement. The second advantage of the cable over dumbbells is that you can bring your arms either toward your abdomen or toward your head (or anywhere else between these two points) to change the angle at which the pectoralis muscles work.

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