Diagonal Pulley Exercises

by Nick Ng, Demand Media
    Diagonal exercises can improve rotational patterns.

    Diagonal exercises can improve rotational patterns.

    If you're bored with typical gym machine exercises that train one body part and move that part in one direction, give the pulley machine a shot. You can adjust the height of the pulley machine's handles to perform a wide range of exercises without having to hop from machine to machine. Diagonal pulley exercises can work your entire torso, including your abs, back and shoulders. If you play golf or softball, for example, diagonal exercises can offer extra power and balance in your swings.

    Items you will need

    • Cable column machine

    Kneeling Cable Chop

    Step 1

    Set the handle's height to the highest level to perform the kneeling knee chop, which works your oblique and rectus abdominis muscles. Kneel on the floor on your right knee with the left side of your body facing the handle. Put your left foot in front of you with your left knee bent at about 90 degrees. Grab the handle with both hands.

    Step 2

    Exhale as you pull the handle down and across your body toward your right hip, without turning your torso. Keep your torso upright without hunching and your hands close to your body.

    Step 3

    Inhale as you return your arms to the starting position. Perform two to three sets of eight to 10 reps on each side of your body.

    Kneeling Cable Lift

    Step 1

    Set the handle's height to the lowest level. Switch your leg position from the chop exercise so you're kneeling on your left knee with the left side of your body facing the handle. Put your right foot in front of you with your right knee bent at about 90 degrees. Grab the handle with both hands.

    Step 2

    Exhale as you lift the handle up and across your chest without turning your torso, emphasizing the stability of your internal and external obliques, rectus abdominis, the muscles around your spine and your pelvic floor. Keep your hands close to your body. Avoid swaying your body as you lift.

    Step 3

    Inhale as you return your arms to the starting position. Perform two to three sets of eight to 10 reps on each side of your body.

    Dynamic Wood Chop

    Step 1

    Set the handle's height to the highest level and stand with your legs about shoulder-distance apart and the right side of your body facing the handle. Turn your feet out slightly and grab the handle with both hands.

    Step 2

    Exhale as you pull the handle down and across your body toward your left hip. Turn your torso and pivot your right foot and hip as you perform the chopping motion, emphasizing dynamic movement of your obliques and the serratus anterior beneath your armpits.

    Step 3

    Inhale as you return to the starting position. Perform two to three sets of eight to 10 reps per side.

    Tip

    • Different brands of cable machines have different weight settings. Some machines have more pulleys installed than others, which makes the weight feel lighter when you lift. For the chops, start with 15 to 25 pounds before adding more weight. For the lift, start with 10 to 20 pounds. Physical therapist Gray Cook recommends that you do an extra set on your weaker side in each session until both sides feel relatively even.

    Warning

    • If you feel pain or have any medical conditions that can worsen with exercise, check with your health care provider before starting any workout. If you're new to exercise or to the pulley machine, work with a qualified fitness trainer before training on your own.

    About the Author

    Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.

    Photo Credits

    • David Cannon/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images