If you want to try something new and efficient to train your midsection, cable abdominal exercises can be an excellent option for you.
Cable crossover machines provide endless possibilities to strengthen and tone your core muscles and even burn stubborn belly fats.
The advantage of using the cable machine is that you can quickly switch from one exercise to another and adjust the weight you use for resistance.
With a cable machine’s pulley system, you can focus on a particular muscle group better.
Meanwhile, cable abdominal exercises 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.
This collection might be more beneficial for beginners, but gym-goers would also find something new.
Keep in mind that to get the optimal results, always perform the moves and follow instructions carefully.
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Cable Abdominal Exercises that Targets Your Core
1. Kneeling Cable Ab Crunch
Pulley crunch is the most well-known exercise that targets your upper and lower abs efficiently.
The best would be using a rope attachment, but the bar will do if it’s not available.
How to: 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.
2. Standing Cable Crunch
The high cable crunch is the standing version of the kneeling cable crunch, one of the effective cable abdominal exercises on the list.
How to: Keep your hips stationary and pull the weight down until the bar or rope reaches the middle of your thighs.
It’s maybe more complicated than the previous one since you are in a standing position, making it 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 very beneficial training, but moving correctly requires practice.
How to: The pulley handles should be at about your hip level. While moving, 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 incorporated.
Meanwhile, the Bosu ball keeps your core engaged while doing the cable abdominal exercises.
How to: Make the motion slowly by focusing on your midsection.
5. Kneeling Pallof Press
Though it might be the easiest among the cable abdominal exercises, it requires proper body formation to get maximum results.
Nevertheless, it works your core since it should not allow your body’s rotation. This cable ab workout is beneficial for those who have lower back problems.
How to: Grab the cable handle with 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 you can add an extra boost to it by using a crossover machine. 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.
How to: Always keep the proper plank position, so do not let your hips down or raise them. Keep your back straight while performing the plank cable row.
7. Cable Reverse Crunch
Cable reverse crunch is also known as cable tuck crunch, an effective cable exercise for the lower abs.
It’s an enhanced version of the knee raise on the floor, but it works the abs better because of the extra resistance.
How to: 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. Still, 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. Still, you can maximize its benefits by using the cable machine.
Also, since you have to sit on a fitness ball, keeping the torso’s stability will be more challenging, and as a result, those core muscles should work hard.
If you find it troublesome to do, do woodchoppers first and follow with additional cable abdominal exercises.
10. Cable Push-Pull
It’s among my favorite cable abs exercises. 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.
How to: 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 an excellent alternative to the dumbbell side bends that works your obliques from different angles.
12. Kneeling Oblique Cable Twists
The Kneeling Oblique Cable Twist exercise is like the Kneeling Cable Crunch Exercise. The main difference between them is that, unlike the Kneeling Cable Crunch Exercise where you are crunching straight up and down, in the Kneeling Oblique Cable Twist exercise, you are crunching from side to side. This movement puts more load on your sides instead of the upper part of your abdomen. Within a short while of constant engagement, your midsection begins to see drastic changes.
The Kneeling Oblique Cable Twist exercise can be done by first placing a mat or a soft, flat, foam material in front of the cable machine, and connecting a rope attachment high as your face height. Then, hold either side of the rope attachment in each hand while kneeling close in front of the machine (about half of a meter) after which you then place the rope at the back of your head while your elbows are tucked in, and your hands by your ear.
Then, work your core and pull the rope downwards to the right side of your crunch until your elbows are almost touching your right knee, then stop for a few seconds while retaining your current position.
Now, go back to your starting position in a slow but controlled manner, and on your next rep, make sure you pull the rope downwards to your left, then do the same for the stated number of reps, changing between your left and right side. (Usually, the number of suggested reps is 10 on both sides, making 20).
You can check out the YouTube video of the Kneeling Oblique Cable Twist exercise below.
13. Cable Tuck Crunch
The Cable Tuck Crunch is an advanced movement exercise that simultaneously targets your upper abdomen and lower abdomen. This particular exercise requires great courage, and you should be ready to feel the burn that comes with it. For the Cable Tuck Crunch exercise, you will need to make use of both sides of the cable machine or the twin tower for the exercise.
To perform the Cable Tuck Crunch exercise, firstly, join a rope attachment to the bottom of either side of the cable, then on the other side, connect an ankle attachment to the bottom of the cable.
Then position and sit in the middle of the cables, placing both ankles in the ankle attachment you made earlier. Lie on your back and hold both sides of the rope attachment on both hands, then put the rope attachment at the back of your head while your hands are on your ear.
Then, raise your head and shoulders off the ground simultaneously while pulling both knees towards your chest. Remain in the position for a second or two as your abs are currently contracted, then slowly return your hips and upper body back to the position you started from. Usually, the number of reps recommended for this exercise is 12 – 15.
You can check out the YouTube video of the Cable Tuck Crunch below.
How to Create a Cable Ab Workout Plan
Now that you know the most beneficial cable abdominal exercises create a workout program that targets your fitness needs and levels.
A good plan contains activities that strengthen your core parts (your lower and upper abs, obliques, and lower back).
If you want to focus on burning belly fat, do more reps, about 15-25 with lighter weights.
However, pay attention to your diet. If you aim to make your core stronger, make fewer reps and use a heavy load.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is an alternative to a cable machine?
A piece of good alternative gym equipment is the suspension trainer (TRX). The exercises you can do with them are 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.
You can find the best suspension trainers here.
When do you work your abdomen with cables?
Newbies 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 cable abdominal exercises.
For professionals, these are excellent cable abdominal 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, it is worth switching to different activities (with and without equipment) to force muscle change.
How to pick the right amount of weight?
There is no need to use too heavy a load since you cannot perform the movement correctly and have enough reps and sets.
Pick a resistance that you are comfortable with but gives enough challenge to your body workouts.
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