The cable machine at the gym is one of the most versatile equipment for great workouts. Weighted cables forces the body into pulling movements which has a different functionality from lifting (as in carrying weights) and pushing (as when doing push-ups or bench presses). Apart from using the cable machine, we can also do pull exercises with a pull-up bar, or suspension trainers like the TRX. Exercises to build abs aren’t really about crunches. In fact, the crunch is about the worst exercise to do if you want to see that narrow waist. Why? The crunch is an exercise that pushes ab muscles outwards with force. This can eventually grow the muscles bigger instead. Why do we see so many people do crunches at the gym? I think its because doing the crunch is easy, you just lie on your back. Notice how many people love to sit and lie down at the gym? The flexibility of this equipment makes it one of the best to work with. They allow the body to move naturally, and forces all the muscles to move in tandem for balance.
Abdominal Cable Exercises
The weighted push-pull movements are perfect for building strong abs because the cable allows full range of motion. You can follow the exercises in the above video. To get the full muscle building effect of the workout, use heavier weights, and slow down on the return movement. For a more cardio workout, work with HIIT timer. Here are a couple of compound cable exercises to build not only the abs, but also the back and the entire core muscles : The Cable Wood-chop. Here are some variations. Cable wood-chop exercise, pull from above:
For fine-tuning the Wood chop technique, watch this Video:
The key to getting this exercise right is to
- keep the arms straight.
- rotate the hips first, i.e. jerk the hips before moving the arms.
- Always keep the shoulder down, don’t shrug them.
To make the exercises more difficult, you can:
- add more weight
- make quick, explosive movement, or
- do the exercise very slowly.
The last exercise in the video is a crunch. If you like crunches, that is another use for the cable machine.
More Cable Machine Exercises:
Here are some very clear instructions from Jeff Lindstrom’s Youtube Channel:
Execises for lower body and back: Static Lunge with Cable row 0:30 Squat and overhead lift 1:00
punch-reverse punch 0:25, squat chop. 1:02 More cable machine snippets, can be seen in my Pinterest board for cable machine exercises. There are loads of other exercises you can do with those cables!
Advanced Functional Cable Crossover Machine Exercises
Update: This is a video of what you can really do with a cable machine to take your fitness to the next level. I am going to try this myself. It is exciting! A functional training core HIIT workout by personal trainer, Naudi Aguilar. Note that this is advanced training. Learn the right form of exercise from the other videos before attempting advanced exercises. Form is better than speed is better than frequency.