Cable Abdominal Exercises for Total Midsection Training

cable machine exercises for abs

t’sLearn the best cable exercises for core

If you want to try something new and efficient to train your midsection, cable abdominal exercises can be an excellent option for you. The cable crossover machine provides endless possibilities to strengthen and tone your core muscles, and even to burn that stubborn belly fat.

The advantage of using the cable machine is that you can quickly switch from one exercise to another and change the amount of weight you use for resistance. Also, thanks to the pulley system, you can focus on one particular muscle group better. Hence, with a cable abs workout, you can shape your core from every angle.

Here, I put together a list of the top standing, twisting, and kneeling exercises that you can add to your core workouts. Maybe this collection is more useful for beginners, but I’m sure gym goers also find something new.

Keep in mind that to get the optimal results, always perform the moves correctly, so follow instructions carefully. There is no need to use heavy weights while you learn since it may go at the expense of the form.

List of cable ab workouts with videos

1. Kneeling Cable Ab Crunch

Pulley crunch is the most well-known exercise that targets your upper and lower abs efficiently. I think the best if you use the rope attachment, but if it’s not available, the bar will do as well. Arch your back, keep your hip stationary, and pull the handle until your elbows touch your knees. Keep the handle behind your neck during the entire motion. You can do kneeling cable crunch by facing towards the machine or the opposite. Try which is more comfortable for you.

2. Standing Cable Crunch


The high cable crunch is the standing version of the previous one. Keep your hips stationary and pull the weight down until the bar or rope reaches the middle of your thighs. It’s maybe harder than the previous one since you are in a standing position, so it’s more challenging to keep the form and your balance.


3. Standing Cable Wood Chop (Oblique Cable Twist)


The cable woodchop for abs and oblique is a very beneficial training, but moving correctly requires practice. The pulley handles should be at about your hip level. While you make the move, you should keep your back and arms straight, and then let the weight going back slowly. If you do it well, you will feel the engagement in your oblique. If you use a heavy load, you can pivot.

4. Bosu Ball Cable Crunch With Side Bends


It’s an excellent compound core exercise that trains both your abdomen and obliques thanks to the side bends. Thanks to the Bosu ball, the core will be more engaged. Do not rush. Make the motion slowly by focusing on your midsection.

5. Kneeling Pallof Press


It seems to be an easy exercise, but it works your core since it should not allow the rotation of your body. It’s especially useful for those who have lower back problems.

Grab the cable handle with your both hands at the level of your chest and push it in front of you with straight arms. Keep that position for 3-5 seconds, and slowly let the handle back to the starting position.

6. Plank Cable Row


The plank itself is an excellent abs exercise, but by using a crossover machine, you can add an extra boost to it. It also trains your back and shoulders.

Because you should keep your balance with only one arm, plus you pull the handle, it works your entire abdomen well. However, always keep the proper plank position, so do not let your hips down or raise them, keep you back straight.

7. Cable Reverse Crunch


Also, known as cable tuck crunch. I particularly effective cable exercise for the lower abs. It’s an enhanced version of the knee raise on the floor, but because of the extra resistance, it works the abs better. When you pull your legs in, keep that position for a few seconds for maximum muscle contraction.

8. Standing Cable Lift


This dynamic compound exercise is similar to the oblique twist, but instead of rotating your torso to the side, you pull the cable handle above your head. The move itself requires the entire body, but it’s especially beneficial for the core.

9. Cable Russian Twists


The Russian twist itself is a great exercise to strengthen your obliques, lower abs, and back, but by using the cable machine, you can maximize its benefits. Also, since you have to sit on a fitness ball, keeping the stability of the torso will be harder, and as a result, those core muscles should work hard. If you find it troublesome to do, do woodchoppers first. I think it’s among the best cable oblique exercises.

10. Cable Push-Pull


To tell the truth, it’s among my favorite cable abs exercises. For this, you will need to use two handles, one is required for pulling the other is for pushing. The standing position is similar to when you have a punching workout, the stance is the same. Twist your hips to feel the resistance in your obliques. I usually do 15-20 reps per side, since I want to burn more belly fat.

11. One-Arm High-Pulley Cable Side Bends


Standing oblique cable crunch is a good alternative to the dumbbell side bends and works your obliques from different angles.

How to Create Cable Machine Ab Workout

Now you know the most beneficial cable ab exercises, so you can create your workout program. A good plan contains activities that strengthen all parts of your core (your lower and upper abs, obliques, and lower back). Also, if you want to focus on burning belly fat do more reps, about 15-25 with lighter weights, but you should pay attention to your diet as well. If your aim is to make your core stronger, make fewer reps and use heavy load.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an alternative to cable machine?

A piece of good alternative gym equipment is the suspension trainer (TRX). The exercises you can do with it’s very similar to the ones with the cable machines. However, your body weight is the resistance, so depending on the range of motion, the suspension trainer movements are maybe more difficult.

When do you work your abdomen with cables?

I believe beginners should stick to the traditional stomach exercises first, such as crunches, planks, leg lifts, etc. to build core strength. Once they can do high reps, they can switch to these exercises.

However, for people at a higher fitness level, these are excellent gym exercises for the core to get progressive overload. The abdominal muscles get a new impact, so they have to adapt, which leads to muscle growth.

Is it enough to do only cable exercises for abdominals?

A good ab workout targets each part of the core, and you can reach that with the mentioned ab exercises above. So, yes, it might be enough. However, frequently it’s worth to switch to different types of activities with and without equipment to force the muscles to change.

How to pick the right amount of weight?

There is no need to use too heavy load since you can’t perform the movement correctly and have enough reps and sets. Pick hardness that you can hand comfortably, but challenging enough particularly the last repetitions.


James Wright

James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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