Cable machines are versatile pieces of gym equipment that allow you to work your muscles from a variety of angles using adjustable levels of resistance. With interchangeable handle attachments including ropes, bars and ankle straps, you can work your entire body, including your abs. By performing effective cable exercises for your core, you can develop greater stability and balance, increased athletic performance and better overall health.
Using the cable’s rope attachment, perform cable crunches to target your upper and lower abs. By facing away from the cable machine and grasping the ropes in your hands above your head, you can work your core by crunching forward and contracting the muscles. The move can be done from a standing, kneeling, lying or seated position and can transition into an oblique-targeting exercise by adding a twist to the motion. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps at a weight that is challenging but not too heavy for your lower back.
Standing wood choppers target your entire core including your upper and lower abs and obliques. Also good for the hips and glutes, wood choppers can help facilitate core strength and stability. Using the single-grip cable attachment, set the pulley at the highest position and face your body forward so that the cable is at your side. Using both hands, pull the cable down and across your body and then bring it back up for one rep. To work your lower body, add a stationary lunge to the movement as you bring the cable down. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps on each side.
Cable Knee Raises
By strapping on the cable machine’s ankle attachments, you can work your upper and lower abs with lying cable knee raises. The move takes place as you lie on a weight bench in front of the cable and pull your knees up toward your chest. With the weight secured around your ankles, your abs are forced to do the majority of the work to complete the motion. To add variety and work different areas of the muscles, perform the move with one leg at a time. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Target your obliques with the cable machine by doing standing oblique crunches. By placing the pulley at its highest position and attaching the single-grip handle, you can face forward with the cable at your side and pull down against the resistance. Keeping the rest of your body stationary helps isolate the obliques and places the demand on one side at a time, ensuring a concentrated and specific exercise for your side abs. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps on each side.
Before working out on the cable machine, warm up your body with five to 10 minutes of light cardio exercise and stretches to stimulate blood flow to the muscles and prepare your body for activity. After your workout, cool your body down with additional easy cardio and stretching to prevent injuries, relieve pain and improve your circulation. To stretch your abs, engage in lying spinal twists, standing side reaches and forward-facing abdominal stretches. When using the cable machine, maintain control of the weight and avoid letting the weight snap back into place after a set, which can cause injuries. To ensure your total health and safety, check with your physician before beginning any new exercise program.
- Harvard Health Publications: The Real-world Benefits of Strengthening Your Core
- Muscle & Strength: Abs Cable Exercises
- Muscle & Strength: Wood Chop Video Exercise Guide and Tips
- Muscle & Strength: Lying Cable Knee Raise Video Guide and Tips
- Muscle & Strength: Standing Oblique Cable Crunch Video Exercise Guide & Tips
- Muscle & Strength: One-Leg Lying Cable Knee Raise Video Exercise Guide & Tips
- ACE: Q: How Important Are the Warm-up and Cool-down Portions of a Workout?
- Shape: The Only 5 Stretches You Need
- ExRx.net: Standing Abdominal Stretch
After graduating from the University of Kansas with a bachelor's degree in sports information, Jill Lee served for 10 years as a magazine editor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Also a published author, Lee now works as a professional writer and editor focusing on fitness, sports and careers.