The cable crossover machine is one of the most effective pieces of equipment for building the upper body. But what happens when you don't have access to the machine?

The good news is that several alternative exercises offer the same benefits as using the cable crossover machine.

To help you out I've listed the 10 best cable crossover alternatives, all of which do not require a cable machine and will only use your own bodyweight or free weights. 

Pretty neat, huh?

Our list of cable crossover alternative exercises will allow you to work your pectoral muscles at home. 

Some of the exercises will require resistance bands, a few dumbbells, and a flat bench. The expenses of investing in these few pieces of equipment, though, ought to be a lot less than the cost of a cable crossover machine. 

1. Flat Dumbbell Fly

Man Doing Flat Dumbbell Fly Exercise In The Gym

The most popular cable crossover substitute with bodybuilders is the standard dumbbell fly on a flat exercise bench.

They usually favor the dumbbell fly exercise because it isolates the pectoral muscles with the body supported on a flat bench. 


  • Minimal equipment required. 
  • Isolates the pec muscles. 
  • Safe to perform without a spotter.

How To Perform The Flat Dumbbell Fly 

  1. Lie on a flat bench and place your feet shoulder width apart (and at a 90 degree angle to your body).
  2. Hold a dumbbell in both hands, lie down on a flat bench with your arms resting above your chest. 
  3. Stretch your arms upwards, and maintain the position with a slight bend in your elbows. 
  4. Slowly lower your arms slowly to each side. 
  5. Inhale on the count of three. 
  6. Let your arms drop until they are parallel to the floor. 
  7. Exhale as you pull the dumbbells back up. 

Tips From A Trainer!

  • It is worth picking a weight that allows you to perform 8 to 10 repetitions of the exercise with a full range of motion. If you cut the movement short, you will not benefit from the flat dumbbell fly.  

2. Incline Dumbbell Fly 

Man Doing Incline Dumbbell Fly Exercise

Another great alternative to the cable cross exercise that isolates your pectoral muscles is the incline DB fly.

The incline bench DB fly might seem like a slight change to the setup from the flat bench fly, but you will feel the strain on your pectoral muscles and shoulders in a different way, with a heavier focus on the upper pecs. 

The incline bench DB fly is easy to perform in your home gym and is extremely popular with my clients. 


  • Adds muscle mass to your upper pectoral muscles.
  • Isolates your chest muscles.

How To Perform The Incline Dumbbell Fly 

  1. Adjust the backrest on the bench to a 30 to 40-degree angle. 
  2. Sit in a comfortable position and hold the dumbbells at chest level to ensure that you are fully balanced.
  3. Stretch the arms up with your hands from the shoulders. 
  4. Slowly lower your arms slowly to each side and pull them back up to the original position as soon as they are parallel to the ground. 

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Focus on slow and controlled reps using a full range of motion. Doing so maximizes muscle activation in your pecs and ensures you're doing the exercise correctly. 

3. Resistance Band Crossover 

Man Doing Resistance Band Crossover Exercise

The resistance band crossover is the closest exercise to the standard cable machine. Therefore, the concept and setup of the resistance band crossover are very similar to the cable crossover. 

It works your entire chest and will be a fantastic addition to your chest workout. And, as an isolation exercise, I always find my pecs fired up from the first set.

I'm a HUGE fan of this movement as I can travel with the resistance bands, so I can always work my pecs no matter where I am. 

In my opinion, if you're always on the move and can't perform the cable crossover exercise, this is the ideal solution. 


  • Can be performed anywhere. 
  • Requires minimal equipment.

How To Perform The Resistance Band Crossover 

  1. You should try to find a strong anchoring point, like a solid hook on a door or a wall or a piece of gym equipment. 
  2. Attach the resistance band around the anchor point, grab the handles in each hand and stand with your back to the anchoring point. 
  3. Take one step forward to build tension on the bands, then pull your hands in front of your chest at a 90-degree angle. 
  4. Slowly let your arms flare out to the side while keeping a slight bend in your elbows.
  5. You will feel the movement pushing your shoulder blades together. 
  6. Once your hands are in line with your chest, you must push the arms back forward to the original position. 

Tips From A Trainer!

  • For this chest exercise, focus on extremely slow movements to increase the time under tension on the pecs; it'll give you one hell of a burn.  
  • If you're struggling to balance, try adding a split stance to this movement. It'll help with your stability. 

Related Article - How To Use Lifting Straps

4. Chest Dips 

Man Doing Chest Dips

There are various sizes of dip machines, which can be quite expensive. However, a few parallel bars will prove to be more than enough in order to shape multiple muscle groups such as your arms, pectoral, and shoulder muscles.

You can perform this exercise as a body weight movement OR you can add weight to it, making it suitable for all ability levels.  

In my opinion, you can wave goodbye to cable crossovers, chest dips have been a staple of my workout routine for as long as I can remember. It's by far one of the most effective chest exercises you can perform. 

In addition, you should be careful and make sure that you approach the exercise in the right way. 

If you are unable to perform chest dip exercise, there are chest dip alternatives that target the chest muscles. These exercises provide a viable option to engage and strengthen your chest without relying on the traditional chest dip movement.


  • Builds strong triceps. 
  • One of the best chest building exercises around.

How To Perform Chest Dips 

  1. Set up on the dip bars with your elbows a little bent and pointing slightly outwards. 
  2. Lower the body and let your elbows flare out to open the angle between your chest and arms.
  3. Return to the original position as soon as you reach a 90-degree angle in your elbows, then repeat until your elbows get to the 90-degree angle. 
  4. You will increase your range of movement by dipping lower as you grow stronger, but remember that you will feel more strain in your shoulders and pectoral muscles the lower you go. 

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Before you start this chest exercise, lean forward slightly to increase chest activation, you'll use less triceps during each rep.  

5. One-Arm Dumbbell Bench Press 

Man Doing One-Arm Dumbbell Bench Press Exercise

The one-arm dumbbell bench press is another excellent alternative to the cable crossover machine. The exercise isolates each arm individually, working the shoulder and chest area.

To perform the one-arm dumbbell bench press, you will need a flat bench and a few dumbbells in your home gym. 

It's one of my favorite chest exercises as it allows you to work each side of my chest individually and it helped me iron out (a rather annoying) muscle imbalance.


  • Works your chest muscles isolaterally.
  • Ideal for all ability ranges.

How To Perform The One Arm Dumbbell Bench Press 

  1. Hold one dumbbell in your right hand above your chest and elbow at a 90-degree angle while you are flat on the bench. 
  2. Push up with your palm facing inward. 
  3. Lower the dumbbell slowly to your chest and push it straight back up to the starting position.  

Tips From A Trainer!

  • If you have shoulder pain during one arm dumbbell press, try using a hammer grip (neutral grip) during the exercise. 
  • By placing the bench into an incline position, this incline dumbbell setup engages your upper pectoral muscles. 

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6. Resistance Band Rows 

Woman Doing Resistance Band Rows

Resistance bands are great for building muscle.

But I know what you're thinking... "banded rows work your chest?" - hear me out on this one. 

The resistance band row is an excellent alternative to the cable crossover because it trains everything from the chest to the shoulders and upper back muscles.

While it might not directly train your chest, it does improve your posture by drawing your shoulder blades back. And in my experience better posture means a better looking chest.  

Catch my drift?

You won't need a cable crossover machine with this exercise in your workout routine. 


  • You can perform this cable crossover alternative anywhere. 
  • Minimal equipment is needed. 
  • Improves your posture.

How To Perform The Resistance Band Rows 

  1. Sit down on a flat bench at floor level and attach the resistance bands to an anchor point in front of you. 
  2. You should feel slight tension on the bands at the starting position. 
  3. Pull the handles towards you slowly until they touch your chest. 
  4. You should feel the shoulder blades squeezing together. 
  5. Let your hands move forward slowly to the starting position again. 

Tips From A Trainer!

  •  If you can't get enough resistance from the resistance band during the exercise, attach your band to a bed post or sturdy anchor point. 

7. TRX Chest Fly 

Man Doing TRX Chest Fly Exercise Outdoors

The TRX pec fly is one of the most effective cable crossover alternative exercises around. AND, it only requires the TRX suspension trainer. 

You can think of this exercise as body weight cable crossovers as it works all of the same muscles.

One thing I love about using the TRX to work my chest is that you can move exactly how your body wants to move. I found it's brilliant for my clients who've got a shoulder impingement. 

You won't need the cable crossover with this alternative in your arsenal. 

If you don't have a TRX trainer, considering some of the best TRX alternatives that can be practical solutions to continue your suspension training effectively without breaking the bank.


  • Activates a lot of chest muscle fibers. 
  • It's virtually similar to cable crossovers.
  • Can be performed almost anywhere. 

How To Perform The TRX Chest Fly 

  1. Attach the resistance bands to the ceiling or a high place above you. 
  2. Grab each of the handles and stretch your arms in front, lift them at a 90-degree angle while you lean forward with your entire body. 
  3. Keep your elbows slightly bent.
  4. Open your arms like wings until you form a straight line from one hand through your shoulders to the other hand. 

Tips From A Trainer!

  • If you want to make the exercise more challenging, you can adjust the handles lower in order to work more of your arms, shoulders, and pectoral muscles. 

8. Resistance Band Pallof Press

Man Doing Resistance Band Pallof Press

The Pallof press is a fantastic core stability exercise which can be a good cable crossover alternative. 

I've recently added this resistance band exercise to my workout routine and have discovered it gives my chest muscles one hell of a workout (especially when used as a finisher). 

One thing I enjoy about the Pallof press is it's core strengthening ability, the core strength you develop will transfer to other lifts that require a strong core. 

It might not be your traditional cable crossover alternative, but it works. 


  • Stabilizes your entire body. 
  • Gives your chest an excellent pump.

How To Perform The Resistance Band pallof press

  1. Attach a resistance band to a solid anchoring point. 
  2. Stand side on to the anchoring point and create tension in the resistance band. 
  3. Keep your body side on and bring your hands to your chest. 
  4. Press the band in front of your body slowly (at chest level). 
  5. Pause at the end and slowly return to the starting position. 
  6. Repeat and swap sides. 

Tips From A Trainer!

  • Use this exercise as a finisher OR as part of a super-set. I recommend combining it with the single arm dumbbell press.  

9. Banded Wide Push Ups 

Man Doing Banded Wide Push Ups

If you use the same looped resistance band from the previous exercise (Resistance Band Pull Apart), then you can bring some more excitement to the push-up exercise.

It is an excellent alternative for the home gym, especially when you are able to develop enough strength to perform 20 or 30 push-ups. 

You will gain more pectoral muscles by doing fewer repetitions that are more challenging rather than constantly increasing the number of repetitions. 

Who needs cable crossovers, eh?


  • Easy to perform anywhere (even when you're traveling).
  • Develops your chest, triceps, and shoulders. 
  • It's an excellent progression for push-ups. 

How To Perform Banded Wide Push Ups 

  1. Lie down flat with one hand on both sides of your shoulders. 
  2. Loop the band around the hands and back, then push yourself to the starting position. 
  3. Move through the push-ups with a whole range of motion and experiment with all types of bands around your arms to try and reduce the repetitions. 

Tips From A Trainer!

  • If you're struggling with the push up, place your hands on an elevated platform. Doing so removes some of the weight from your upper body and makes the movement easier.  

10. Svend Press 

Woman Doing Svend Press Exercise

The last, but not least of all the cable crossover alternatives is called the Svend Press. All you will need are two weight plates to hold and press together with your hands from both sides. 

I've used this exercise many times as a finisher for my chest workout. I've found it pumps a lot of blood into your chest, making your pecs look HUGE.

Using a cable machine will be the last thing on your mind. 


  • Isolates your chest muscles.
  • Useful to add volume to your chest workout.

How To Perform The Svend Press 

  1. Hold the plates in front of your chest and stretch your arms straight out and up in a slow motion. 
  2. Pull the plates back to your chest and repeat the exercise. 
  3. Remember to keep your elbows bent in order to avoid unnecessary strain. 
  4. You will feel the workout in your entire upper body, especially in the shoulder and chest muscles. 

Tips From A Trainer!

  • If you want to turn things up a notch, try and superset this movement with another cable crossover alternative from this list.  

Why Are Crossover Exercises So Effective?

Cable crossovers are an effective method to work your chest because it is a compound exercise that triggers multiple groups of muscles at the same time. The crossover works multiple areas simultaneously, which helps achieve more growth in the upper body muscles.[1]  

I've always found cable crossovers offer something different compared to your typical "pressing" movements typically used to train the chest. One of the things I love is the stretch it provides throughout your entire pecs.[2]

There is also an added bonus for exercising your core. If you engage your core muscles daily, it will help you keep building a sturdier core that will work as the foundation for most of your lifts. 

Common Cable Crossover Questions

How do you do a cable crossover for the lower chest?

To perform the cable crossover for lower chest, you need to position the handles so they're coming from above (so you're pulling them downwards). Doing so will increase the activation of your lower pectoral muscles.

What muscles will crossovers target? 

Cable crossovers mainly target your chest. But it all depends on how you set up the machine, you can use it to target your chest, triceps, shoulders, and even back.  

Are crossovers without a machine still effective? 

Yes, crossovers are effective without a machine. If you use free weights and resistance bands in the right way, then they can be an excellent alternative to a cable crossover machine, which is an expensive piece of equipment. 


We understand that not every person has the money to build a fully equipped home gym that includes a cable crossover. However, many alternatives to cable crossovers, like we have listed above, require little to no equipment. 

If you want to effectively build your muscles without spending a lot of money, then it is worth investing in a pair of good quality resistance bands, a few dumbbells, and even a TRX system. The workout possibilities are endless once you have the right equipment. 




Lee Kirwin

Lee Kirwin

Lee has worked in the fitness industry for over 15 years. He's trained hundreds of clients and knows his way around the gym, including what you need for your garage gym. When he's not testing products, he loves weightlifting, Ju Jitsu, writing, and gaming.