How to Do Standing Cable Chest Fly: Muscles Worked & Proper Form

Standing Cable Chest Fly exercise technique

Muscles Worked in Standing Cable Chest Flyes

Muscles worked in standing cable chest fly

Primary muscles worked:

Secondary muscles worked:

How to Do Standing Cable Chest Flyes

  1. Fasten a pair of handles in the top position of a cable cross. Grip the handles, step forward, and lean slightly forward.
  2. With just a slight bend in the arms, push the handles forward until they meet in front of your body.
  3. With control, let the handles go back to the starting position.

Text and graphics from the StrengthLog app.

Introduction to the Standing Cable Chest Fly

The cable chest fly is an isolation exercise for the chest and front deltoids.

Compared to dumbbell chest flyes, the resistance curve in cable flyes is more evenly distributed, and the load on your chest muscles is more constant throughout the range of motion.

Which Muscles Do the Standing Cable Chest Fly Work?

The standing cable chest fly works your chest muscles primarily and your front deltoids secondarily.

You can alter which muscles you target slightly, by fastening the handles at different heights in the cable machine. By using a high cable position and performing the exercise in a downward motion, you will emphasise your lower chest. By using a low cable position and performing the exercise in an upwards motion, you will emphasize your upper chest.

Another variation is to lie down on a bench between the two handles (fastened in the lower position) and do lying cable chest flyes. This doesn’t affect the targeted muscle groups, though.

Benefits of the Standing Cable Chest Fly

  • Bigger and stronger pecs. The standing cable chest fly is a good isolation exercise for the chest muscles, and by incorporating it into your workout routine, you can start building both stronger and bigger pecs.
  • Constant resistance. The cable machine offers almost constant resistance, increasing the time under tension for your chest muscles.

Standing Cable Chest Fly: Proper Form & Technique

Standing cable chest fly starting position
Starting position
Standing cable chest fly bottom position
End position


Make sure to stand at the same distance from each cable pulley. You want to be centered between them and then take a few steps forward so that the pulleys are slightly behind you.

Some lifters like to stand with one foot in front of the other, while others want to stand in a parallel stance. Regardless, make sure to brace your core and have a slight tension in your legs and glutes to get a stable position. You might also want to have a slight forward lean in order to target your chest muscles better, especially if you have the cables attached to the upper part of the machine.


Keep your elbows slightly bent, and hold them in the same position during the entire movement. You want the movement to occur in your shoulder joints by contracting your chest muscles, and not in the elbows. Keep elbows and wrists at the same angle during the entire movement.

Do the movement slowly and controlled, and make sure not to start swinging your body to create excessive momentum.

Common Mistakes in the Standing Cable Chest Fly

  • Adding too much weight. The cable fly is an exercise where adding more weight than you can handle is easy. If you add too much weight, you’ll have to include other muscles to do the movement or start to swing and thereby lose form.
  • Not keeping a strict form. Don’t turn the chest fly into a chest press by bending your elbows more than just slightly. Also, don’t create momentum from your hips or upper body; do the movement slowly and controlled.

Standing Cable Chest Fly Variations

  1. Dumbbell Chest Fly
  2. Standing Resistance Band Chest Fly
  3. Machine Chest Fly

1. Dumbbell Chest Fly

The dumbbell chest fly is a classic chest exercise that only uses a bench and a pair of dumbbells. Because of this, the dumbbell fly is an accessible chest exercise that you can do in most gyms, and even in home chest workouts.

A drawback of the dumbbell chest fly is that the resistance curve is not as evenly distributed as in the cable chest fly, and your chest muscles are mostly loaded in the bottom position.

2. Standing Resistance Band Chest Fly

If you don’t have access to a cable machine or dumbbells, you can also do standing chest flyes with a resistance band. Just attach it at chest height and work with one side at a time. The constant tension in the movement is similar to the cable version. The downside is that it’s harder to adjust the resistance with the banded version.

3. Machine Chest Fly

The standing cable chest fly offers more versatility in the movement and the range of motion than the machine chest fly since the cables allows for a more free range of motion.

The machine chest fly, on the other hand, offers a more guided and stable movement and supports your body and isolates the chest muscles more directly.

Workouts and Training Programs That Include the Standing Cable Chest Fly

All of these programs and workouts, and many more, are available in our workout log app StrengthLog.

Download StrengthLog for free with the buttons below:

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