This guide to cable crunches will show you everything to need to know to build great abs and an iron core.
What Are Cable Crunches?
Cable Crunches are an effective weighted abs exercise that target and improve the rectus abdominis and core. They are a relatively low skill movement; however, it is easy to go wrong with the technique and not receive the full range of benefits from the exercise.
They require a cable machine and an attachment to grip.
Muscles Worked by Cable Crunches
The rectus abdominis (abdominals) is the primary target muscle group.
More commonly known as the abs, this muscle group is one of many that go into making up the core.
It is located on the front of the body, between the ribs and pubic bone. These muscles flex and extend to curl or straighten the body.
Movements that involve crunching and bending forwards are excellent choices if you are trying to directly target your six pack.
Secondarily, the exercise also works the transverse abdominals and obliques.
Benefits of Doing Cable Crunches
There are many benefits to including Cable Crunches into your training.
Easy to Adjust
Depending on your training age and ability level, the exercise can easily be scaled up or down to suit your respective needs.
The movement also activates the glutes, core and lower back. Combined and strengthened, the posterior chain plays an important role in good posture.
Build Core Strength
Cable Crunches are an effective way to strengthen your core in a functional way that will benefit sports performance and life in general.
Create a Six Pack
When allied with an intelligent and consistent nutrition plan, the exercise can become an important part of creating a great six pack.
How to Do Cable Crunches
You will need a cable machine to perform this exercise. A resistance band can also be used as a substitute.
On the cable machine, fix a cable rope attachment to the pulley and affix the pulley to the highest height setting.
- Fix the pin to determine the desired weight of the stack
- Stand facing the cable machine. Grip the handle attachment with a pronated (overhand) grip
- Take a few steps back. Kneel down. Keep your toes flexed and in contact with the floor
- Pull the handles down towards you’re your head until both hands are located at the top of your head
- Inhale and brace your core, glutes and grip
- Keep the hips elevated slightly. Shoulders ahead of hips
- Make sure that the hips and arms are still. Now contract the abs and move the shoulders down towards the pelvis. Make sure the abs are driving the movement
- Keep moving until the elbows are close to the knees. Pause and squeeze your abs as tightly as possible
- Without losing tension in the abs, slowly return to the starting position
- Repeat for the allocated number of reps
Training Tips for Cable Crunches
Make sure to keep your back straight. Don’t let it round.
Keep your core tight at all times.
Make sure all the power and movement comes from the abs. They are the driving force. Never compensate with the triceps or back.
Never hyperextend the lower back.
Keep your chin tucked into your chest.
Range of motion
Some people prefer a shorter range of motion with this exercise.
As long as you only use your abs to generate the force then this will work. A longer range of motion is one of the benefits that is afforded the athlete here, so its often worthwhile to take advantage of it.
Cable Crunch Common Variations
Try these variations to mix up the stimulus of the exercise.
- Standing Cable Crunch
- Seated Cable Crunch
- Reverse Cable Crunch
- Decline Cable Crunch
Cable Crunch Alternatives
These alternatives are a great way to keep your training varied, fun and challenging.
- Reverse Crunch
- Sit Ups
- Seated Medicine Ball Throw
- Jack Knife Pullover
- Roman Chair Leg Raise
- Hanging Leg Raise
- Toe Touches
- Decline Bench Sit Up
- Russian Twist
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