The cables are one of the relatively new pieces of equipment to be seen in most modern day gyms, yet they can be neglected by many or not used to their maximal potential. One area a lot of people don’t use cable machines for are the abdominal muscles. Our question is, why not?
This article will aim to shed some light on why the cables are a fantastic tool for building and toning your abdominals along with the 5 best exercises to incorporate within your workout routines.
Why you should use the cables
To allow hypertrophy (growth) of our muscles, we need to work the muscles to fatigue by contracting against a resistance that leads to the breakdown of the muscles fibres. Your abs are no different. A lot of the time people think these grow differently when in fact it is very much the same as any other muscle in your body.
Yes, the body can provide a resistance to work against, but only to a certain point. Once your body adapts to body weight exercises, you need to progressively overload the resistance to prevent a plateau in your growth. This is where the cables come in.
They are a perfect way of incorporating a resistance whilst allowing for a range of different movements. The movement of the cables themselves also requires an element of balance of control, which further engages the core. The weight settings can also be adjusted marginally, allowing for gradual progressions whilst still being able to perform the full range of motion effectively. All of these factors makes the cables a perfect tool to get the most out of your ab workouts!
We have comprised the 5 best cable exercises below that we feel are ideal for incorporating in your workouts.
5 Core Cable Exercises
- High Cable Crunch – Use proper form on this exercise and you will really feel the burn in your rectus abdominus.
- Low Cable Crunch – Very much similar to the conventional crunch, but with a resistance that makes it very much harder for your abdominals.
- Cable Judo Throw – This exercise is perfect for engaging your obliques with a controlled twisting motion.
- High Cable Wood Chop – Again, another great exercise to engage your oblique muscles, helping to give definition across the stomach region.
- Cable Russian Twist – The exercise we all love. Russian twist, cable style. Best used on an exercise ball or bench. Giving you a burn throughout!
- Before performing each exercise, ensure you know what the correct form looks like. This will allow you to perform the exercise safely, whilst ensuring you are getting the most from it in terms of muscle engagement.
- Each exercise can be performed 8-12 times for 3-6 sets. Experiment with the weight setting until you find the balance where you can perform the full range of motion but begin to reach failure at the end of the set as this is how you achieve muscle growth.
Now you hopefully know why the cables can be such a good tool to engage your abs in multiple different ways and also why it beats the conventional body weight exercises in the long run for muscle growth in the abdominal region – progressing with the weight to help hit failure to stimulate muscle growth.
About the Author
Connor Stead and Andrew Triggs are Sport and Exercise Science students who write about training, nutrition and supplementation in exercise. Their background in sport comes mainly from football where they coach and compete at university level. More recently, they have started giving training and nutritional advice through Instagram (@trainingwithscience).