Are you looking for a way to strengthen your abdominal muscles and get a full-body workout?
A cable core workout allows you to target your abs, obliques and other muscles using a cable machine at the gym, whether you are a beginner or an advanced lifter.
What is a cable core workout?
The cable core workout is a type of exercise that uses a cable machine to provide resistance to your core muscles. The workout can be modified to suit your fitness level and goals. A cable machine is an excellent tool for adding resistance and increasing the difficulty of your workout.
Why cable core workout?
A cable core workout allows you to keep constant tension or your core muscles. Using the cables allows for more muscle activation and greater results for both development and strength.
Anatomy of the abdominal muscles
When most people think of core muscles, they think of abs. But the core is made up of more than 10 different muscles. They include deep core muscles as well as outer core muscles.
These muscles include:
Rectus Abdominis (abdominal muscle)
The rectus abdominis is your “six pack” depending on your ab structure. The muscle extends from your sternum to the bottom of your pelvis and is divided into two halves by a connective tissue called the linea alba.
Its primary role is to help with trunk flexion and anti-extension. It also assists in lateral trunk flexion. It’s responsible for movements including bending forward, curling up and bending side to side.
Transverse Abdominis (abdominal muscle)
The transverse abdominis is a deep muscle that wraps around your abdomen and spine, lying beneath your other abdominal muscles. It helps compress your abdomen and protect your organs by keeping them in place.
This muscle is also important for stabilizing your spine and pelvis, acting as a deep stabilizer and protector. It is used in many exercises like planks, crunches and rotational exercises.
External Obliques (abdominal muscle)
The external obliques are muscles that run from the ribs to the pelvis on the sides of the rectus abdominis. If they’re well-developed, they’re only noticeable at a low body fat percentage.
These muscles are responsible for twisting and bending the body side to side and resisting twisting and bending.
Internal Obliques (abdominal muscle)
The internal obliques are located beneath the external obliques, running along the sides of the rectus abdominis. They are a deep muscle that can’t be seen, regardless of body fat percentage.
These muscles have the same responsibilities as the external obliques, but their fibers run in the opposite direction.
Both muscles are worked in exercises like rotation, anti-rotation, lateral flexion, and anti-lateral flexion.
Multifidus (low back)
The multifidus is a series of long, narrow muscles located on either side of the spinal column that help stabilize the lower portion of the spine.
It is responsible for stabilizing the lumbar spine, but it also helps extend the lower spine whenever reaching or stretching.
Erector Spinae (low back)
The erector spinae is a group of three long muscles that run along your spine and back from the sacrum (top of your pelvis) to the base of your skull.
It is responsible for more than just your core. This muscle group is primarily responsible for trunk extension, lateral trunk flexion and anti-flexion.
Benefits of doing cable exercises for core workouts
Some of the benefits of including cable core exercises in your workout routine include the following:
Strengthens core muscles: A cable core workout targets your abs, lower back, and obliques, helping to strengthen and tone these muscles.
Improves balance: The resistance provided by the cable machine helps to challenge your balance and stability, which can lead to improved overall balance and coordination.
Variety of exercises: A cable core workout provides a variety of exercises that target different areas of your core muscles, making it a versatile and engaging workout.
Can be modified: The resistance on the cable machine can be adjusted to suit your fitness level, making this workout suitable for beginners and advanced fitness enthusiasts alike.
Improves posture: A stronger abdomen and lower back can help support keeping your upper body upright.
Cable core exercises
Cable reverse crunch
- Connect a pulley cable to your ankle strap.
- Sit down and place your feet toward the pulley. Attach the cable to your ankles.
- While lying on the floor, raise your legs and bend your knees at a 90 degrees angle. Make sure that your legs and the cable are aligned. If you can’t align your leg and the cable, adjust the pulley until you can.
- Next, position your hands behind your head and bring your knees towards your torso. Lift your hips off of the floor.
- Hold this position for a moment and slowly drop your hips. Again bring your legs like it was at the starting 90 degrees angle. There should still be tension in your abs while you are in the resting position.
- Repeat 12-15 times.
Bosu ball cable crunch
- Place the BOSU ball, dome side up, a couple of feet away from the low position of the cable machine.
- Facing in the opposite direction, lay on the BOSU on your back, bend your knees and plant your feet on the floor – your knees should face upwards.
- Place the rope attachment behind your neck and grab it with both hands – elbows facing in.
- Curl up by tightening the abs.
- Pause for a second and slowly lower yourself to the starting position.
- Repeat 12-15 times.
Standing cable wood chop
- Stand perpendicular to the cable machine with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Grab the handle with both hands and pull it across your body diagonally, as if you were chopping wood.
- Return to the starting position.
- Repeat for 10-15 reps on each side.
Variation: Kneeling cable wood chop
Kneeling cable crunch
- Grasp cable rope attachment and lower the rope until your hands are placed next to your face.
- Pull the rope handles toward your face so that your hands are at the top of your head.
- Tuck your chin.
- Keep your hips still and elevated and squeeze your abs bringing your shoulders toward your pelvis.
- Continue to lower while squeezing your abs until your elbows are close to your legs.
- Pause at the bottom of the movement while squeezing your abs.
- While maintaining tension in your abs, slowly return to the starting position.
Variation: Standing cable crunch
Plank cable row
- Attach a handle to the cable machine at a low position.
- Start in a plank position with your feet shoulder-width apart and your body in a straight line from your head to your feet.
- Grab the handle attachment with one hand while balancing your body on your other forearm.
- Focus on engaging your core muscles to keep your body straight and row your arm toward your hip.
- Extend your arm to starting position.
- Repeat 12-15 times on each side.
Cable core workout
Perform 3 sets of each exercise. 12-15 sets for each exercise.
Standing cable crunch
Cable reverse crunch
Kneeling cable wood chop
Cable plank row
Tips for a successful core workout
To get the most out of your cable core workout, keep these tips in mind:
- Engage your core muscles throughout the entire exercise.
- Focus on quality over quantity – make sure each rep is performed with proper form and control.
- Use a weight that challenges you without compromising your form.
- Incorporate a variety of exercises to target different areas of the core.
Following these tips and incorporating cable core exercises into your workout routine can improve your core strength and overall fitness.