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March 12, 2022 9 min read

Cable exercises are growing increasingly popular in commercial gyms. These exercises provide a refreshing break from staple free weight activities like barbell and dumbbell exercises.

The cable is often wrongly viewed as a very limiting piece of equipment for building rock-hard abs and a strong core.

With a cable machine, you will be able to train your abs directly for harder and longer.

Below, we have provided the ten best cable exercises for a stronger core.

Why Cable Exercises Are Great For Your Core

If you are new to the gym, a cable machine might look like an intimidating piece of equipment. This tall steel structure with attached pulleys and resistance might look imposing, but it is helpful for training regardless of your fitness level. 

Free weights might be considered a staple, but the cable machine provides an array of exercises that works all major muscle groups from different angles.

In fact, cable machines allow performance with a greater range of motion than free weights.

This will enable you to exercise in different planes of motion with retractable pulleys and adjustable weights to suit your exercise routine. It provides a means for you to perform a plethora of exercises while remaining safe from injuries. 

Cable machines are especially great for your core as they provide a constant tension that lasts throughout your routine.

This is something that not all free weight exercises provide.

Since core strength increases your functional and athletic performance, you undoubtedly need to add cable ab exercises to your workout routine. So, in case you are tired of regular ab exercises like crunches and you are interested in spicing up your ab routines, we have provided the best cable ab exercises just for you.

10 Best Cable Ab Exercises For A Strong Core

From kneeling cable crunches to cable woodchops, we have compiled the best ab exercises for a stronger core. These exercises are in no particular order, and their execution ranges from beginner-friendly to veteran athletes. Regardless of the cable ab exercise you choose to perform, you must play by the book.

Keep your form perfect throughout your reps. For even better results, pair your exercises with PUMPED-AF  for extra muscle pumps, increased muscle endurance, muscle fullness, and greater performance.

The best ten cable ab exercises include:

1. Kneeling Cable Crunches

The kneeling cable crunch is a spin-off of the regular crunch. The significant difference between the two is the implementation of the cable machine and the kneeling position for execution. 

The kneeling cable crunch is a weighted crunch exercise that targets and activates the abdominal muscles. It primarily engages the rectus abdominis, six-pack muscle, and other core muscles. 

To do the kneeling cable crunch:

  • Set up the cable machine with a weight you can control throughout your reps.
  • Attach the cable to the highest pulley setting.
  • Face the cable machine and hold the cable with an overhand grip.
  • Take a few steps backward until the weight is off the rack and hanging mid-air.
  • Kneel on the floor or for comfort, an exercise mat or padded foam.
  • Flex your toes and keep them in contact with the floor throughout your reps.
  • Pull the rope towards you so that your hands are above your head.
  • Hinge your hips backward and your shoulders slightly in front.
  • Tuck your chin.
  • Squeeze your abs to engage your core.
  • Fold forward and bring your shoulders towards your pelvis until your elbows are close to your legs.
  • Keep the movement in your spine and every other part still.
  • Pause before returning to the starting position.

2. Standing Cable Crunch

The standing cable crunch works similarly to the execution of the kneeling cable crunch. This core strengthening exercise features a greater range of motion, and so it is more challenging to get maximum contractions of the abdominal muscle. 

The standing cable crunch is a beginner-level exercise that not only provides a stronger core but a stronger and more stable lower back. 

To do the standing cable crunch:

  • Adjust the weight of the cable machine and set it to the highest height.
  • Stand facing away from the machine with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Reach your hands over your shoulders and behind your neck to grab the handles.
  • Bring the handles close to your neck around ear level.
  • Bend slightly forward at the waist so that your elbow points almost to the ground. This is your starting position.
  • Engage your core.
  • Bend at the waist and try to bring your elbows to your knees.
  • Pause to maintain tension before returning to the starting position.
  • Complete as many reps as are in a set.

The distance of the range of motion for the standing cable crunch can be adjusted as you wish. However, it is better to keep the length short for maximum contraction.

3. Cable Reverse Crunch


    The cable reverse crunch simulates the conventional reverse punch. Like the latter, the cable reverse crunch packs a punch on your abs, engaging and activating the major core muscles. 

    To do the cable reverse crunch:

    • Attach the pulley to the lowest height.
    • Connect an ankle strap to the pulley machine.
    • Attach the straps to your feet.
    • Lay on your back and keep your face on the ceiling.
    • Raise your legs and bend your knees to form a 90-degree angle. Your thighs should be perpendicular to the floor and your calves parallel.
    • Keep your hands under your head or by your side on the floor.
    • Curl your hips and bring your knees towards you. You should feel the interaction in your abs.
    • Pause for a count before returning to the starting position.
    • Complete as many reps as you can.

    4. Cable Woodchops


    The cable woodchop switches up any workout routine. It is a welcome breath of fresh air from other regular crunching movements. This unique exercise replicates the wood hopping action with added resistance to build strength in your core.

    Cable wood hops are a welcome addition to any routine, either a full-body workout or a core-strengthening exercise. 

    To do the cable woodchop:

    • Attach a handle to the highest setting of the cable machine.
    • Stand with your side to the machine.
    • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and toes facing forward.
    • Extend your arms upwards and sideways over one shoulder to grab the handle.
    • Keep your core tight and your arms fully extended.
    • Bend your knees slightly.
    • Pull the cable around your body diagonally to the other side while restricting movement to your torso and hip.
    • Pause for a second before reversing the movement.
    • Repeat.

    Pretend like you are chopping down a tree but do so with slower and controlled movements.

    5. Cable Medicine Ball Russian Twists


    The cable medicine ball Russian twist might sound like a mouthful, but it is the addition you need for a killer core-blasting exercise. It is a splendid functional exercise bound to increase your athletic performance by targeting your major ab muscles, obliques inclusive. 

    Unlike its predecessors, the cable medicine ball Russian twist is more demanding and requires more lance and stability for proper execution. 

    To do the cable medicine ball Russian twists:

    • Attach a handle to the middle setting of the cable.
    • Place your medicine ball next to the pulley, so they are perpendicular. The ball should be in line with the pulley.
    • Lie down on the ball, so your mid-back rests on it, and your knees form a 90-degree with the floor.
    • Your thighs should be parallel to the floor and your toes pointing out.
    • Grab the handle with the closest hand stretch it till your hand is above your chest.
    • Grab the handle with your other hand and lace your fingers together to secure the handle.
    • Engage your core and box your hip.
    • Rotate your torso and fully extend your hand to the other side.
    • Keep every other part of your body still.
    • Pause and return to the starting position.

    6. Cable Tuck Reverse Crunch


      The cable tuck reverse crunch is every beginner’s cable machine nightmare. This exercise requires not just one but two cable machines for its execution. The cable tuck reverse crunch blasts your core muscles. Be careful; you’ll feel this exercise burn your abs. 

      To do the cable tuck reverse crunch:

      • Get in-between two cable machines and place a mat in the middle.
      • Connect an ankle strap to the lower pulley of one of the machines.
      • Adjust the pulley of the second cable machine to the lowest setting and attach a handle.
      • Sit on the mat with your feet towards the pulley with the ankle strap.
      • Attach the strap to your feet.
      • Lay on your back and extend your hand to grab the handle in the second cable machine.
      • Pre-tension your core.
      • Lift your legs and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle. This is your starting position.
      • Curl your hip off the floor and bring your knees toward your torso.
      • Simultaneously lift your shoulders off the floor, curling upward.
      • Hold and return to the starting position.

      7. High-Pulley Side Bends


      The high-pulley side bend is one of the least popular and practiced cable exercises. This exercise is very similar to the dumbbell side bend but results in a pronounced engagement of the obliques on the side being trained.

      The high-pulley side bend is beginner-friendly and a great way to give your core a workout. 

      To do the High-pulley side bends:

      • Connect a cable to the high pulley.
      • Attach a handle.
      • Stand with your side to the cable.
      • Keep your feet hip-width apart and back straight.
      • Hold the handle in one hand with an underhand grip.
      • Using your core and obliques, pull down the cable and perform a side bend. You should feel the tension in your torso.
      • Once you reach the maximum point of the motion, pause and hold the tension in your side.
      • Slowly return to standing position.
      • Repeat as many reps as you can fit in a set.

      8. Plank Cable Row


      The plank cable row would make your insides scream. Nothing crushes the abs more than a hybrid exercise which is a mixture of plank and rows. The plank cable row is an isometric exercise that targets major muscle groups like the back, biceps, and abdominals.

      If you are looking for a quick way to strengthen your core, this exercise belongs to your routine. 

      To do the plank cable row:

      • Adjust the cable machine and set the cable to a suitable low height.
      • Attach a handle to the cable.
      • Stand one or two feet away from the machine.
      • Get on your hands and knees.
      • Extend your legs and spread them out to hip-width.
      • Keep your neck neutral and back flat as you adjust into a plank.
      • Grab the cable. This should raise the weight of the stack.
      • Engage your core. This is your starting position.
      • Row the cable by pulling your arms straight back until your elbow points at the ceiling.
      • Keep your elbows tucked to your side and the rest of your body still.
      • Return to the starting position.

      9. Side Plank Cable Row


        If you think the plank cable row is terrible, try having a go at the side plank cable row. It attacks the core, abs, back, and arms in a way you have never seen before. The side plank cable row might look monstrous, but it is an easy exercise that can be performed regardless of your fitness level. 

        To do the side plank cable row:

        • Adjust the cable to the lowest pulley setting and attach a handle.
        • Stand about a foot away from the cable machine.
        • Face the machine and assume a side plank position by propping up in your arm and ensuring that your body is in one straight line.
        • Feet stacked, neck neutral, and core engaged.
        • Extend your hand and reach for the cable. The weight should rise above the stack.
        • Keep your body still as you pull the cable, pushing your elbow straight out behind you.
        • Pause for a second before returning to the standing position.

        Keeping balance is one of the most challenging feats when performing the side plank cable row. To make it easier, place your supporting forearm palm-down on the floor and pre-tension the supporting shoulder.

        10. Cable Judo Flip


        The cable judo flip sounds and looks like a martial arts move, precisely one of the Judo flips. It is a terrific exercise for targeting the core muscles and showing off to the boys at the gym. Although the cable judo flip looks technical, it is easy to learn and perfect. 

        To do the cable judo flip:

        • Attach a cable to the lowest puller.
        • Connect a rope attachment to the cable.
        • Stand with your side to the cable machine.
        • Grip the rope in both hands. 
        • Spread your feet wider than your hips so that you are in a wide stance.
        • Turn your torso away from the machine and bring the rope over your shoulder as if flipping an opponent.
        • Fold your weight as you crunch forward, pulling the weight down with you.
        • Pause at the bottom of the movement.
        • Return to the starting position.
        • Perform as many reps as you can fit in a set.

        Combine any of these exercises to create a killer core-strengthening cable workout routine. This is bound to take your core from zero to hero, helping you improve your performance in and outside the gym. 

        As much as exercise is important to you, so is recovery and proper dieting. Meals rich in macronutrients will help synthesize new muscle growth and fuel you through your workouts. Recovery, on the other hand, helps your torn-down fibers, which are a result of training to heal. 

        Rest between sets and most especially after your workout routine. This would replenish the energy your body has lost and would give your body time to heal.

        Which Cable Ab Exercise Is Best For You?

        Knowing the cable ab exercise to choose depends on your fitness goal and current fitness level. Regardless of the choice you make, all exercises on this list are guaranteed to help you achieve a strong core in no time.

        For the best result, pair your cable ab exercises with any of the oblique exercises for monstrous core strength.