Cable Crunch

Isolation exercise, Cable pull




Required equipment

Main muscles

  • Abdomen: Straight abdominal muscle
    (Musculus rectus abdominis)

Training plans

Cable Crunch is a suitable substitute for similar exercises in or as a supplement to various training plans.

Cable Crunch: Basics and alternatives

: Involved main muscle groups Cable Crunch

Involved main muscle groups:
Cable Crunch

Cable crunches make a great alternative to regular crunches without equipment. You’ll still be working your abs, but instead of lying on your back, you’ll kneel in front of the cable machine. The idea is to crunch your abs to move the weight on the stack.

One big plus of cable crunches is the ability to put more load on your abs. By moving more weight, you get a better workout in less time and with fewer reps.

Cable crunches are better suited for advanced athletes since the movement is a bit trickier than regular crunches. Beginners might find their muscles are already challenged enough with standard crunches. A more beginner-friendly option could be the abdominal crunch on the machine.

The entire rectus abdominis muscle is engaged, but the movement targets the upper abs more.

Correct execution

There’s some debate over the right way to do cable crunches. If you watch different training videos, you’ll notice some tips and advice don’t quite match up.

So, when doing this exercise, focus on maintaining good upper body control and avoid bending your back unnecessarily. The video below shows a clear example of the movement sequence and how to keep your back stable throughout.

Although you can still work your abs with an arched back, it puts a lot more stress on your back and should be avoided.

For cable crunches, you’ll need a cable machine, a triceps rope, and ideally, a gym mat to kneel on.

Video tutorial

How to PROPERLY Cable Crunch to Shape Your Abs (How to Kneeling Cable Abdominal Crunch)

Step-by-step instructions

Attach the triceps rope to the upper cable pulley and start with a lighter weight to learn the proper form.

Hold the triceps rope with both hands and kneel down, facing the cable machine. Your hands should be in front of your body, holding the rope. Make sure there’s enough space to perform the crunch movement without issue, but don’t go too far back, as it can compromise your stability and form.

Lean forward with your upper body and head, passing the triceps rope over your head. Your hands should now be on either side of your head, holding the rope.

Tuck your chin in, pointing it towards your knees.

Lower your upper body, moving the weight as a whole. Avoid arching your upper back. Engaging your upper abs will happen automatically as you try to bring your chin closer to your knees. Keep the triceps rope’s position behind your head constant throughout the movement.

Pause briefly in the lowered position before lifting your upper body back to the starting position in a controlled manner. The moving weight shouldn’t touch the rest of the weight stack just yet. Keep the tension throughout the rep. When your set is finished, then you can let the weight stack down completely.

Common mistakes

When doing cable crunches, avoid using a swinging motion, even though it might make the exercise easier. Also, resist the urge to use your arms to help by changing the distance of the triceps rope from your head.

A rhythmic rocking motion with your upper body can also make the exercise easier but will lessen the effectiveness. As always, perform cable crunches in a controlled and proper manner, reducing the weight if needed.

A sloppy execution might occur if you bring your head straight down towards the floor. This causes your lower back to curve more, putting unnecessary stress on your lumbar discs. Instead, focus on moving your chin towards your knees. This helps maintain good core tension and allows you to keep your back relatively straight during the exercise.

Remember, practice makes perfect. By following these step-by-step instructions and avoiding common mistakes, you’ll be able to execute cable crunches effectively and safely while targeting your abs for a stronger core.