How to do a cable crunch

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Personal/Fitness Training Blog

This is an extremely effective exercise for your abs – but only if you’re doing it correctly. Here’s how to make sure you are. Essentially, you want to work the rectus abdominis (that sought-after six pack). To execute a cable crunch correctly, you need to consider the following three things.

What to consider when doing a cable crunch

Hip position

You need to keep the hips high and locked in place throughout the entire set. This is to avoid using the hip flexors and allow a full range of motion. Dropping the hips too low won’t allow you to do a full crunch. Moving the hips during the reps means you’re using your bodyweight and hip flexors to do the movement. Keep those hips high and still, so the movement comes only from the spine.

Hand position

Hand position also determines the range of motion and the lever length used to perform the exercise. A rope attachment works best. Hold the rope, but instead of pulling it over your shoulders with your hands on your upper pecs, position your hands together with your thumb knuckles at the top of your forehead.

Tuck your chin into your chest, about five centimetres apart, and maintain this position to stabilise your neck. Doing this not only allows your hands and arms to be out of the way of the crunch, but it also extends the lever length. This action allows you to acquire more stimulation with using a lesser amount of weight.

Range of motion

Concentrate on getting a deep contraction (in other words as much flexion in the spine as possible) with an ab crunch. How you set the exercise up is crucial. Achieve neutral at the top as well as to full flexion at the bottom. This is while you maintain control throughout. To get the most your of your exercise, try and get your elbows rolled as far into your lap as possible. In other words, this is far up your thighs.


  1. Connect a triceps rope handle to the pulley of the cable station carriage . Make adjustments to the carriage so that it’s near the top-third of the cable station. The precise position will vary based on your height.
  2. Select the volume of resistance you want – 10kg is a great point to start. As you start to be more comfortable with the movement, feel free to increase the weight.
  3. Face the pulley. Get into a kneeling position. Make sure that you are approximately one and a half feet away from the machine.
  4. Take hold of the triceps rope handles. Brace your core powerhouse. If you don’t feel a light stretch in your abs make the weight heavier. Ensure that your weight is in your shins.
  5. At the same time pull both handles with bent arms. Do a crunch. During this motion, your elbows should be parallel to your thighs.
  6. In a controlled fashion, return to the starting position as you maintain tension on the pulley. That completes one repetition.
  7. Repeat for three sets of 10 repetitions.

Bonus advice!

If you have a difficult time in maintaining the correct hip position, use a big medicine ball or wall ball under your buttocks in addition to on the top of your calves. Don’t sit on it – just keep lightly touch the ball with your bottom and/or hamstrings. This action will give you positive feedback on your position during execution.

You can also make use of a tennis ball and put it between your chin and chest. This is to ensure stability during the set.

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