Monday, February 7, 2011

The Cable Dilemma

If you've been to the health club and been boggled by the cable machines, you're not alone. Many people tend to "stick with what they know" at the gym. Machines with selected weights are probably the most common way to workout for many people. But you may not realize that the cables can be way easier to adjust and they can actually be more beneficial using your core muscles. All it takes is making yourself a little more familiar with the cables and how they work, then you might become addicted! Here are some of my favorite cable moves for a full body workout:

1) Rope Row- Set up the cable to shoulder height. Using the rope attachment, stand with feet shoulder width apart, hands staying at shoulder height extended out in front of you. Pull back and squeeze your shoulder blades together, then return to starting position. Muscles worked: upper/middle back, biceps, and core.

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2) Cable Chest Press - Set up both sides of the cables at shoulder height and attach the soft handles. Stand in the middle of the cables and move forward a couple of feet so you are in front of the cables. Arms and elbows will be bent 90 degrees, palms will be facing down to the ground. Extend and press straight forward bringing your hands together to your midline. Muscles worked: Chest, triceps, anterior deltoid and core.

cablechest1 cablechest2

3) Cable Chop - This exercise can be set up at 3 different angles: low to high (at bottom of cables), high to low (at top of cables), and straight across at shoulder height. With any of these variations, you will be working different areas of your core muscles according to the height. The key here is to keep the hips stable during the rotation and keep the chest out through the range of motion. Muscles worked: obliques, spinal erectors, rectus abdominis.

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4) Single Arm Rope Tricep Extension - Set up the cable to the top and add the rope attachment. Standing in front of the cable holding the rope in one hand, elbow stays bent at 90 degrees. Fully extend or straighten the arm and then come back to 90 degrees. Elbow stays in close to the body. I like this one because you are working triceps individually, so you can't use one side more than the other. Muscles worked: Triceps.

ropeTri1 RopeTri1

5) Single Arm Bicep Curl with Reverse Lunge - Yes, this is a dual movement exercise. You can even add a balance in with the reverse lunge if you want an extra challenge! Set the cables to the bottom using the handle attachment. Starting with feet together, step back into a reverse lunge and then come back up into a bicep curl. Make sure your elbow stays in toward your side and shoulders and chest stay out. Muscles worked: Biceps, legs, and core.
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