How to: SEATED CABLE FLY (video)

In this tutorial, we will go over the target muscle, setup, form, and more for the seated cable pec fly. For more workout tips, tricks, and information, follow me on Instagram @daniellehamlin or visit the Exercise Library​ :) Enjoy the video!


Single Joint Movement

Joint and Joint Type Involved: Shoulder (ball-and-socket joint)

Main Muscles Worked: Pectoralis Major, Pectoralis Minor

Equipment: Machine

Prerequisites: Ability to contract the pec and produce horizontal adduction and abduction at the shoulder joint against the weight of limb without pain or problems.

The seated cable fly is a single joint movement that targets the chest by using pec major to decrease the angle between the humerus and the rib cage while the arms are extended at the elbow. Before you attempt to do this exercise be sure you can adequately contract your pecs to adduct both arms without any pain. Once you have demonstrated that you can sufficiently contract your pecs without any problems you may be ready to contract your pecs against additional weight. For this exercise, you will need to use a cable pec machine or a cable machine with a bench that can be adjusted to the upright position.

While performing any type of chest exercise it is important to note the origin and insertion points of the pectoralis major. The pectoralis major originates at the clavicle, sternum, and external oblique and inserts onto the upper part of the humerus. This means that during execution our primary objective is to bring the upper arm closer to one of the origination sites. Focusing on the lower arm path and not the upper arm path may detract from the work placed on the pectoralis major.


1. To get started, you will first need to establish your working range, which will also help in adjusting the machine to your body. Start by taking a seat with your arms out in front of you. From there retract and depress your shoulder blades to mimic the exercise. Begin to abduct your arms and continue to pull the shoulder blades down and around until you have reached a comfortable lengthened end range for the arms and shoulder blades. To establish the shortened end range, attempt to keep the shoulder blades back and down while you bring the arms around in front of you. If the arms come in too close, the shoulder blades may slip and the delts may take over the move.

2. After you have established your working range and notated those positions, adjust the seat height or the cable height to match your range of motion and arm height.

3. Pick a weight. It would be beneficial to pick a light weight at first to confirm your range of motion and your ability to CONTROL the weight. DO NOT whip the weight around… ever. Once you have demonstrated control you may be ready to further increase the weight.

4. Stabilize. Before you do a rep be sure to stabilize everything as much as possible that is not the shoulder joint. This will ensure that you are producing as much output in the pecs as you can.

Areas to stabilize:

-Retract and depress the shoulder blades. Think about using the lats to lock the shoulder blades in this position.

-Extend through your thoracic spine to help pack the shoulder blades and brace with the abs to counteract any lumbar extension.

-Create tension between your feet and the floor and utilize your legs to drive your shoulder blades into the back pad of the seat.

5. To initiate the pec fly contract the pecs and continue to focus on the contraction through the rep.

6. Pause at the top of the rep to establish control and confirm the end of your range where you still have tension on the pecs and do not experience any pain or joint discomfort.

NOTE: If you go along and begin to feel this exercise in your delts it means that your shoulder blades have crept out of place and are no longer retracted and depressed. Correct by revisiting step 4.

7. Slowly bring back the weight, again focusing on the pecs. Only go as far as you can go without losing tension on the pecs.

8. Repeat steps 4-7 until your set is complete.

For common mistakes and easy corrections, see 3:02​ 👍