Your chest days should revolve around more than just a bench and barbells. To really get a good pump, you have to be ready to spread your arms to fly—and to try different implements for resistance, too.
Men’s Health Fitness Director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. uses bands and his positioning to vary up his chest day. When he wants to cap off a session, he busts out this fly-heavy finisher, which finds him kneeling in front of a cable tower or a squat rack with cables or bands in his hands.
“This is one of the most challenging cable fly variations out there, and a move that’ll leave your core burning as much as your chest,” Samuel says. “The core challenge is to provide stability against a series of ever-changing demands throughout each set.”
More than anything else, Samuel wants you to squeeze when you’re trying this finisher. “The beauty of the move is that it forces you to own and dominate the squeeze portion of the fly, which will help you carve the centre of your chest,” he says. “We’re doing this in a dynamic, explosive way, too; this isn’t meant to be done with slow reps. Be explosive and powerful, and really challenge both your chest and your core here.”
To perform the move, you’ll need a set of resistance bands and a sturdy anchor (like a squat rack) to mount them, or a cable tower with handles that you can adjust to kneel between (Samuel prefers using the bands).
- Kneel in front of the anchor or tower, holding the cable handles or bands in each hand.
- Squeeze your glutes and core to take and hold a tall kneeling position.
- Squeeze your chest to bring your hands together in front of you explosively, keeping your elbows slightly bent.
- Immediately perform a single arm fly rep with your right arm, as you hold your left arm in position in front of your chest. Hold both arms in position for a beat after the rep.
- Repeat the explosive rep, this time performing a single arm with your left arm after. Again, hold both arms at the midline after the single rep.
- That series counts as 1 rep.
One of the biggest challenges of the finisher comes from the instability caused by those single arm fly reps.
“The band on the side that’s releasing will essentially try to pull your torso off-centre; fire up those abs, obliques, and glute muscles to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Samuel says. “Then, when you begin to contract on that same arm, your instinct may be to let torso rotation help you through it. Battle that instinct and fight to stay perfectly square.”
To add this fly finisher to your chest days, try 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps.
By Brett Williams