At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What is a Cable Cross over Machine?

D. Messmer
D. Messmer

A cable cross over machine is a large piece of exercise equipment that is most common in gyms, although some athletes have them in their homes. A cable cross over machine features two cables that are attached to stacks of weights. They then pass through a pulley before ending in one of a variety of grips. The two cables are set wide apart so that an athlete can grip each cable and pull it across his or her body, providing a workout for the chest and arms. It is also possible to use just one cable at a time to perform a variety of other exercises.

The basic structure of a cable cross over machine consists of two pillars and a crossbeam. The pillars are tall enough that the crossbeam will be higher than an athlete's head. It is not unusual for these crossbeams to have various pull-up bars and fixtures attached to them. The weight stacks for the cables are located on the pillars, and the pulleys are located where the pillar and crossbeams meet. This provides the proper angle of resistance for the athlete to get the most benefit out of the exercises that he or she performs using the machine.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

A cable cross over machine usually will provide the athlete with different grip attachments. These can vary and might include standard bar grips, thick ropes or "Y" attachments that allow both hands to pull one cable. The different types of grips allow for a variety of workouts.

The most common exercise that athletes perform using a cable cross over machine is the cable cross over exercise. This exercise requires the athlete to stand within the machine while holding a cable in each hand. The right hand holds the cable to the athlete's right, and the left hand holds the cable to the athlete's left. The athlete then stands with his or her legs in a stable position, either with them spread past shoulder width or with one foot forward and one foot farther back. Regardless, there should be some bend in the legs, and the athlete's torso should lean slightly forward. The arms at this point will be spread away from the body at about shoulder height.

From this position, the athlete then pulls the arms toward each other while also crossing them down over the body. The arms usually will cross as the athlete continues to pull on the cables, although there are variations of this exercise in which the athlete stops when the hands touch. The athlete then returns the arms to the starting position while maintaining control at all times.

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Man with hands on his hips
      Man with hands on his hips