Incline Cable Press: The Best Exercise for Your Upper Pecs

Incline cable press, also known as pyramiding, is one of the best exercises for your upper pecs. Do you want to build impressive specs? This is the exercise for you! The main rationale behind incline cable press is that it targets the lower and middle fibers of the pec muscles more than standard pressing.

What Is Incline Cable Press?

The upper chest muscles are the main focus of the isolation exercise known as the incline cable fly.

An inclined bench set at a 30- to 45-degree angle and a cable machine with adjustable pulleys are used to execute it.

By using cables in place of weights for this exercise, consistent strain may be created, which helps the Upper Chest muscles grow.

To spice up your chest training, you can also perform cable incline fly with a variety of cable attachments.

Incline Cable Press benefits

Muscle Isolation: The upper chest muscles can be isolated well with the cable fly, which can enhance muscular activation and hypertrophy. (1)

Joint-Friendly Exercise: Exercises with an inclined cable are an excellent alternative for folks who get joint pain from incline bench presses. (2)

The cable alters the angle of the movement sufficiently to reduce the possible stress on the joints with optimal shoulder-blade stability. (3)

Range Of Motion: The loads on your chest muscles during an inclined cable chest fly are more equally distributed and remain constant throughout the whole range of action.

Chest Opener: The fly is excellent because it teaches scapular retraction while providing a nice chest opening. The ability to press your shoulder blades together, also known as scapular retraction, is crucial for preventing bad posture.

Provide Constant Stimulation: Each of these factors can aid in maximizing muscle growth. The cable configuration allows your muscles practically unbroken time under tension and a powerful pump.

Versatility: The incline cable fly can be performed in a variety of ways, using different angles and attachments, which can help add variety to your chest workout and prevent boredom.

incline cable press muscles worked

  • Primary muscle: Pectoralis major’s clavicular head (upper chest)
  • Secondary muscles: Back of the arms (triceps brachii), front of the shoulders (anterior deltoid)

incline cable press Form

How to do seated incline cable press correctly


  1. Set up an incline bench inside the cable station, position both pulleys as low as possible, and select the desired weight.
  2. Take hold of one handle at a time while seated on the inclined bench. Position yourself with the handles at chest level while leaning back.
  3. Press the handles to lockout while flexing the pecs and extending the elbows.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, then gradually drop back to the starting position.


  1. Maintain more tension through the pecs by not locking out the elbows entirely.
  2. Don’t allow the handles to collide at the top of each rep.
  3. Make sure your shoulder blades are somewhat retracted and try to keep the shoulder girdle “packed” if you’re experiencing pain in the shoulder joint itself, particularly towards the front.
  4. Ensure you maintain some tension in your abs and don’t allow your lower back to arch excessively.

incline cable press alternatives

incline cable press standing

incline cable press standing

You will want a cable machine with two adjustable pulleys in order to perform the standing incline cable press. The pulleys should be positioned such that, when you are standing straight, they are just above your shoulders. To each cable pulley, affix a D-handle.

Incline dumbbell bench press

Incline dumbbell bench press

This workout is extremely similar to the incline cable press, except you will be using dumbbells as opposed to a cable machine. Lie on an inclined bench with your feet flat on the floor and dumbbells held at shoulder height to complete this exercise. When your arms are fully extended, press the dumbbells up and then lower them to the starting position.

Close grip incline dumbbell bench press

Close grip incline dumbbell bench press

This workout is an incline dumbbell bench press variation that emphasizes the triceps more. Your feet should be flat on the floor as you complete this exercise while lying on an inclined bench. Your dumbbells should be held at shoulder height with a narrower grip than you would for a standard incline dumbbell bench press. When your arms are fully extended, press the dumbbells up and then lower them to the starting position.

Incline dumbbell flyes

Incline dumbbell flyes

The upper chest muscles can be effectively worked with this exercise. You should hold your dumbbells at shoulder height with your palms facing each other while you complete this exercise while lying on an inclined bench with your feet flat on the floor. Bring the dumbbells back together in the starting position after spreading them out to the sides until you feel a stretch in your chest.

Low-to-high cable flyes

Low-to-high cable flyes

The upper chest muscles are the focus of this cable flyes variant workout. Attach a D-handle to each cable pulley and set them to their lowest position before beginning this workout. With your feet shoulder-width apart, take a D-handle with an overhand grip in each hand as you stand in the center of the cable machine. Raise your arms out to the sides until they are parallel to the floor while maintaining a strong core. After that, extend your arms in an arc above your head. Return your arms to the beginning position gradually.

Landmine kneeling chest press

Landmine kneeling chest press

A more difficult exercise than the incline cable press is this one. You will need a barbell and a landmine attachment to do this exercise. Place the necessary amount of weight on the barbell, then fasten the landmine attachment to one end of the barbell. Put the barbell’s opposite end on the ground in a corner. Put your feet shoulder-width apart in front of the barbell and take the landmine attachment in one hand. Lean forward until your body is in a straight line from your head to your heels and your chest is almost touching the barbell. When your arm is fully extended, press the landmine attachment up and then return it to the beginning position.

Decline push-up

Decline push-up

It can be tweaked to focus on the upper chest muscles and is a fantastic bodyweight exercise. Place your hands on an elevated surface, such as a bench or step, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and align your body in a straight line from your head to your heels to complete a decline push-up with an emphasis on the upper chest. When your chest contacts the elevated surface, slowly lower yourself until you are back at the beginning position.

incline cable press Sets And Reps


  • 2 sets of 10-12 reps with a challenging weight


  • 3 sets of 8-12 reps with a challenging weight


  • 4 sets of 8-12 reps with a challenging weight


is the incline cable press good?

The Cable Incline Bench Press is a muscle-strengthening exercise that effectively increases upper body bulk and improves muscle definition by working the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Because it allows for controlled movements and adjustable resistance, it is perfect for both beginning and experienced fitness aficionados.

what is the angle for the cable chest press?

Installation: With the pulleys at the bottom of the cable crossover station and the bench in the middle of two low pulleys at a 45-degree angle, set up the incline cable press. Make sure the bench is set up such that the resistance is parallel to your chest when you hold the handles.

Is cable crossover better than bench press?

Muscle activation: The cable crossover uses several joints, including the shoulder and elbow joints, which allows it to work more muscle groups than the barbell bench press. This may result in a more thorough workout while also enhancing functional strength.

Are cable squats effective?

Bone density can be raised by performing cable squats. It is advantageous for strengthening the core, glutes, and legs, which is a crucial aspect of bodybuilding.


  1. Kassiano, W., Nunes, J. P., Costa, B., Ribeiro, A. S., Schoenfeld, B. J., & Cyrino, E. S. (2022). Do varying resistance exercises promote superior muscle hypertrophy and strength gains? A systematic review. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research36(6), 1753-1762.
  2. Räntilä, A., Ahtiainen, J. P., & Häkkinen, K. (2023). Effects of Acute Loading Induced Fatigability, Acute Serum Hormone Responses, and Training Volume to Individual Hypertrophy and Maximal Strength during 10 Weeks of Strength Training. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine22(3), 559.
  3. López-Vivancos, A., González-Gálvez, N., Orquín-Castrillón, F. J., Vale, R. G. D. S., & Marcos-Pardo, P. J. (2023). Electromyographic Activity of the Pectoralis Major Muscle during Traditional Bench Press and Other Variants of Pectoral Exercises: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Applied Sciences13(8), 5203.

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