Arnold schwarzenegger doing cable crossovers

Best Chest Exercises That Spare the Triceps

What are the best chest exercises that are not using a pressing movement?

Sometimes you want do train chest, yet your triceps are smoked and need recovery.

So for example at the end of a heavy benching, dipping and other pressing session, those horseshoes are probably out of gas. What are the best chest exercise to use now?


popeye has strong arms

Whip out the Spinach?


That means you couldn’t overload your pecs that much more, because with any extra pressing the triceps would give out WAY before the pecs!


OR say in another example, your elbow extensors are ULTRA sore from pullover triceps extensions 2 days ago and yet you need to get some blood flowing to that manly chest but want to allow full recovery of the arms?


So What Are The Best Chest Exercises Not Involving Triceps?

What to do? Well, the answer is simple: Dumbbell flies and Cable Crossovers. (Peck-Deck is another option. This is also genius when you have a injured wrist from too much…lifting..)

dumbbell fly

Basic Dumbbell Fly

Those will stretch out your whole chest and flatten them pecs nicely. A dynamic stretch during a chest exercise (or any other) is a fine thing!

And yes, they do not require the triceps at all!

Arnold schwarzenegger doing cable crossovers

Goooood stretch!


At the end of a chest session, or on a day that you just want to leave your arms alone and yet need to train pecs, what is more perfect than flies and crossovers..?


How much Weight?

The above mentioned are exercises that require perfect form, full ROM (range of motion) and a good pump, rather than a ton of weight.

So go easy on the poundages, I would recommend something like 15-20 % of your max in the bench press, and high reps: say 10-25. Not much heavier than that.

Say your bench is 100, then 15 kg each hand for dumbbell flies is plenty. Focus on form, stretch and pump instead of weight.


Sets and Reps

At the end of a Bench Workout, 5 sets of 10 reps of dumbbell flys for example are a very good addition.

If it’s a stand-alone workout, then at least 4 sets of 25 flies and perhaps 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps cable crossovers will do you good.


How To Do Dumbbell Flies and Cable Crossovers

Main Points:

The main pointers are: a BIG stretch, let the hands go OUT not up and down, in other words do not use too heavy a weight and turn the whole thing into yet another pressing exercise. Fix your elbows to static, it’s the shoulders that move.


In crossovers, one advantage is that you can adjust the pulleys to all sorts of angles: horizontal, up, down. They all hit your pecs differently and will stimulate new growth every time.

Plus you can actually cross OVER, meaning cross your own hands and still have good resistance: a totally different strength-curve than with dumbbell flies!


Here are some videos that show good training form.

And here is a link to the Best Chest Workout in the Universe! Well, it IS good, don’tyerknow.



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About Mark Kislich

Mark Kislich is an Olympic Performance Coach operating out of Iceland. Some of his Athletes are Eiður Smári Guðjohnsen, Logi Geirsson, and the Champions League Football Club K.R. Google