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5 Great Things About Working Out on the Cable Machine. by Julia Malacoff. September 25, 2019. No Comments.

Share it: Given the popularity of functional fitness and Olympic lifting, cable machines aren’t exactly trendy at the moment. But that doesn’t mean you should pass by this classic workout equipment. 5 Great Things About Working Out on the Cable Machine. Given the popularity of functional fitness and Olympic lifting, cable machines aren’t exactly trendy at the moment.

But that doesn’t mean you should pass by this classic workout equipment. With the cable pulley at lower-chest height, begin sideways to the cable machine. Grasp the D-handle attachment with both hands and bring the handle to the center of the chest.

From an athletic position (half squat) with your feet just outside hip-width, press the cable straight out from the chest. The cable machine is one of the most popular pieces of equipment in the gym. There always seems to be a wait for it, and you’re just as likely to see a meathead pumping out.

The cable pulley machine comes in two varieties: the tall, wide cable crossover machine (which occasionally features a pull-up bar on top), and the single adjustable column. Nick Tumminello, recipient of the 2016 NSCA Personal Trainer of the Year award, is here to explain the uses and exercises for the former machine. Use a cable machine to quickly put together an extremely effective full-body workout. 0 Shares Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Training in a. Less stress is put on the joints and more on the targeted muscle groups.

Regularly performing cable exercises fully develops the symmetry and the muscle fiber recruitment of the desired muscle group. Cable exercises are ideal for stretching. Cables put stress. Don’t let the cable machine intimidate you — it’s easier to use than you think. Stack on a light weight (start with 10 pounds or fewer) and position the carriage so it’s even with your chest.

Other things that use cable drive systems include cranes and some weightlifting machines. Cable drives can be beneficial over belt or chain systems because they don’t need a continuous loop to operate, and the cable can be attached to things other than more pulleys. For example, a crane uses cable to pull in and let out the hook block it uses. Cable press. This pulling exercise targets your chest muscles.

Muscles worked: Pectorals, deltoids, and serratus anterior. 1. Select your desired weight and stand sideways, left side next to a cable machine. Hold onto the cable handle with your inside (left) hand.

Walk away from the machine until your left arm is outstretched; keep your elbow soft.

List of related literature:

The typical routine included a lot of breaks and a lot of chatting, even while the client was doing shoulder presses, rows, and leg extensions.

“Inside the Box: How CrossFit ® Shredded the Rules, Stripped Down the Gym, and Rebuilt My Body” by T. J. Murphy
from Inside the Box: How CrossFit ® Shredded the Rules, Stripped Down the Gym, and Rebuilt My Body
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Notice what’s missing from this list: None of these machines comes within spitting distance of mimicking the squat.

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from The New Rules of Lifting: Six Basic Moves for Maximum Muscle
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Each circuit training participant moves from one station to the next with little (15–30 seconds) or no rest, performing a 15to 45-second workout of 8–20 repetitions at each station (using a resistance of about 40–60 percent of one repetition maximum [1 RM]).

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13.4 1 List the benefits of exercise in older clients.

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Once the client can do a 1-minute plank and maintain solid glute tension the entire time, I don’t need to assign homework anymore.

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I had always been in pretty good shape my adult life (with a couple of 20-pound exceptions that came and went); I worked out at home with all of the equipment, including the $14,000 machine you see in airline magazines.

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Cable machines take up a lot of space and are expensive, so they are not a practical solution for home workouts.

“Smarter Workouts: The Science of Exercise Made Simple” by Pete McCall
from Smarter Workouts: The Science of Exercise Made Simple
by Pete McCall
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Cables combine some of the benefits of free weights and machines.

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from Sculpting Her Body Perfect
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I was proud that I’d worked up to calf raises with three hundred pounds, but Reg had a cable system that let him apply one thousand.

“Total Recall” by Arnold Schwarzenegger
from Total Recall
by Arnold Schwarzenegger
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As an athlete and coach, I know most people’s instinct with this program will be to hammer through each exercise, the entire list, with each workout.

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Alexia Lewis RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Heath Coach who believes life is better with science, humor, and beautiful, delicious, healthy food.

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37 comments

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  • This is a great video ❤️. This one goes unnoticed perhaps because of the lack of sexy booties and curves�� I’m still a novice at the cable exercises. This will help me a great deal. Thanks.

  • How much weight are you using? Is it the same weight for all the exercises? How much weight for beginner Male and beginner female? Happy holidays. Thank you for your videos

  • Would have been nice if you included the positioning of your feet/legs during these exercises. It is important because you want to avoid hurting your back by wrong posture.

  • This was a great work out. I would love to see more five best cable only exercises for other body parts, arms chest and so on. Great stuff

  • Fuck yes! Got some great alternative movements for training my back, as I can’t do alot of the more traditional ones due to injuries.

  • Are these good for previous shoulder injury? I’ve been in and out of physical therapy because I’m constantly agrivating my rotator cuff

  • Was loving this video until you told people to use one of the most injury causing exercises, the upright row. You can do so many exercises including shrugs and face smashes with elbow at 90 degrees, that will have the same effect and not cause rotator cuff injury.

  • New subscriber ���� very informative and professional video bro. Been looking to find more cable exercises to build bigger shoulders and this is exactly what I was looking for. Keep up the good work

  • just the reason why i don’t use too many pulley machines…(btw i hated doing pulley calculations in college) only place i can think of around me that has single pulleys are at my old high school!! the few machines they have are from the ’70s or ’80s…great video!! thanks

  • That Smith machine video would be really helpful as no gym near has a power rack or even a normal squat rack which is pretty annoying

  • Good video but I have to disagree with the face pulls you need to go Palms under not Palms over your wrists are crooked you can sprain your wrist I’ve already had it happen to me.

  • #snapsquad Josef, you and Mimi are goals! You are an amazing couple, kind hearted in the way you want to make peoples lives better! Your workouts are super motivational, starting to see results! Thank you for all the advice you give to all us! Hoping you’re legs don’t still hurt too much from leg day the other day Smashed that workout!!!

  • Bro just signed up for your program this past week. Love how personable you are with everyone. Can’t wait to show you my transformation when I complete the program! #snapsquad

  • What’s your thoughts on this supplement?
    ZMG Zinc Methionine & Aspartate High Absorption Mg Supports Sleep, Energy and Muscle Strength With Vitamin B6, E and Folic Acid 120 Ct. 60 Servings. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071QWSJLD/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_Xdn8zbSGJY8H0

  • Yo so cool to see your chick filming, your spot on with what muscle groups youre working out! Really helpful man thanks for all your videos

  • Hey Josef, solid workout. Just a question. I’ve been wanting to try keto out but living in the struggle right now �� (money wise) lol just wondering is it possible to be successful in weight loss by following the 70s eating plan? https://youtu.be/OO0SCHTin9Q.

  • How often shouldIbe targeting a certain area each week? Example, If I do lower chest on Sundays and Wednesdays, I am still sore by Wednesday. I’m I over working the muscle if I’m still sore? How can I recover quicker? At the gym for 2 hrs targeting that area each time I go?

  • I have been really impressed with all your videos. Thanks for taking time to help put the science behind all the explanations. Really valuable insight. I’m curious, if I sign up for AthleanX, do I receive any personal advice from you or are all the programs pre-structured (one size fits all) for the 90 day cycle? I ask because I have a number of injuries from past exploits that generate a fair bit of pain when I train (doesn’t stop me, but certainly limits what I’m able to complete) in those injured areas of my body and would really love to be able to tailor my 90 day program around those areas to strengthen them and ultimately overcome them. 

  • Hey I want to say thank you for posting. This is in line with what I’m trying to do. Seems easy enough. The best part is I can do all of these to failure, no spotter required. Besides, I’m not trying to kill, just nice and easy movements to get more fit, not necessarily buff you know what I mean. All of your movements were very controlled, nice and steady. Mind telling me what kind of weight you’re working with? Thank you

  • T-shirt please.  Thank you!

    Personally, I think whatever the weight on a cable machine is marked is pretty much irrelevant, there’s not only the multiplication of force from the pulleys, but there’s different friction from the cables/weight bushings/pulleys (bearings, diameter… all make a difference), the weight of the bar for the pins, assorted attachments, changes in geometry… even if you count the same pulleys you probably won’t see the same force.  I usually either try to keep track of the weight that I’m doing (but I like to change things up so I might not see the same exercise week to week and  sometimes I can’t get the same machine in the gym if it’s busy so that can be difficult, or more likely I go by feel and take it to exhaustion anyway (I’ve been doing a lot of drop sets lately…)

    Cable machines are a great example, but that can be the case with any gym equipment, hip sleds that have different weight sleds and different angles, bars with the knurling spaced differently, dumbells with different geometry affect some motions.  Recently my gym got new ez curl bars, and it was driving me crazy, the beginnings of my sets felt better (better geometry for me), but the set felt like I was doing a lot more work by the end.  I ended up dragging an old bar and new one into the locker one and weighed myself holding them on the scale and found that the old bars were 18lbs and the new ones were 27.  They didn’t look that different…

  • I just bought and installed an Archon wall mount cable unit in my living room. Your video really helped me get started with some good back exercises.

  • My mom and I just viewed and we want to say thank you for the great instructions on proper form. We are visual learners and your demonstration was precise and perfect for us.

  • Work = Force * distance. The amount of work doesn’t change, but by adding pulley’s you increase the distance of the force applied. Therefore, the amount of force applied decreases

  • If the weight is moving the same distance from the rest position that you are moving then the work is the same. Rather than whipping out my old statics engineering textbook to figure out the half dozen pulleys on my bodycraft express pro I just measured the distance the cable moved compared to the distance my arms were moving on a bench press. They were the same, so the work is the same so the weight is the same. I confirmed this with a pull scale used for deer hunting, which was much easier method. Most of the cheap machines are all over the place i bet. The bench press machines that act like levers are the most misleading… my father in laws machine is much lighter than the weight plates because your hands are out 10 more inches than the weights. Its weird to load up 200# of free weights on it and you get 150# at the handles.

  • It’s like relying on a taster to serve you food! Cmon guys go to a gym and try the same exercise with free weights a machine and pullys! See what what works for you! Move up the weight stack if you must but trial and error is the only way forward! When ever I read or hear something regarding an exercise I try it out in the gym and see if it works for me.. If it does so much the better if not it must be working for someone else!

  • I’m really late to the party here, but Jeff is way off on his comments about how pulleys work. They basically re-direct the tension to the load, and he got that right. He went off-track when he started talking about the # of pulleys. The # is not relevant, the DESIGN is. They could be using 10 pulleys in order to get the cable to the stack, but not have a force-multiplying design included. In that case the added friction will actually INCREASE the apparent weight of the stack.
    What IS relevant is the distance that the weight is moved as a ratio of how far you’ve moved the cable. If you move the cable 4′ and the stack only moves 2′ you’re only moving 1/2 the weight. On the machines that I’ve seen there is re-direction and there is either a 1:1 ratio or a 2:1 ratio, so it’s very easy to determine what fraction of the weight you are actually supporting. Just move the grip and see if the stack moves the same distance, or only 1/2 the distance. It’s NOT rocket science.

  • its not the number of pulleys but rather where they are placed.

    If the cable ends at the weight stack and none of the pulleys in the machine move when you do the movement, then you have a 1 to 1 ratio and the weight stack should move the same distance that you pull it.

    If the weight stack has a pulley attached to it and the cable is then anchored to some part of the frame, then typically you are only lifting half of that amount and that actually weight stack will travel a shorter distance. 

    Summary: if the weight moves the same amount of distance that you pull, then you are lifting the full weight. If the weight moves any less than that then some of the weight is being overcome with mechanical advantage rather than straight force.

  • So for just getting fit and staying in shape cable systems are fine when you don’t care about lifting heavy to begin with. Strength training where you are obsessed by how much you are actually lifting and increasing week in week out is different and maybe cable systems are not for you.

  • I don’t typically comment but single change of direction pulleys do not reduce the load. They can if anything add nominal friction but thats it. If you have 100 change of direction pulleys you’ll be moving all the weight plus the friction of the 100 pulleys. To use a pulley to reduce weight you have to set them up in a 2 or more to 1 ratio. This is easy to spot as you’ll have one or more pulleys that aren’t fixed, it will move as you pull. If all pulley’s are fixed as in this video then all the weight is being moved. It should be noted that when you do see a mechanical advantage being applied in a weight lifting machine in all cases you are the anchor and the moving pulley is making your weights work more efficiently against you not the other way around. Some machines do use ratios in their pulley systems and this is where your user manual comes into play. On machines like this the manual will have a chart that explains how much wait is being moved at each pull point as a low pull point and high pull point may be moving different amounts of weight with the same number of plates.

    I’m a mechanical engineer who uses cables and pulleys for rigging and rescue professionally.

  • When i do pullies i dont try to focus on numbers, i just go with the feel and contraction of the excersise to get a good set in. I think that what its about.

  • Title was misleading. Pulleys are good as long as you’re challenged. That’s why, on pulley machines, I like ones where the plates are simply numbered and don’t reflect a weight. Then I just focus on going from plate 13 to plate 14 and not worry about how many #s. I also like pulleys because of the eccentric resistance.

  • This was definitely helpful I’m usually afraid to go over towards the single pulling machines because I’m not super confident in my workouts but I went to the gym when It was empty tonight and tried them and I’m never going to use a multiple pulling machine ever again

  • Just gotto look at the cable pull machine. Lots have the weight rating at the handle on the stack. Some dual cable ones once attached to a single bar will actually be double the weight at the bar vs the stack. So it all really depends on the machine. You should be able know if the weight seems to light or heavy anyways regardless of the reading. Coming to a new cable pull machine I will always try and load it as heavy as possible then work down to find my ideal starting point to do reps, then start working up from there over the weeks. I love cable pull machines for curls and triceps, nothing beats that constant load from top to bottom. Being able to have one cable set high for triceps, and one low for curls is also killer to just keep switching back and forth till you’re dying ��

  • Good Afternoon from Greece…for humans like me who have a few problems myoskeletal on lower back knee and shoulder i belive machines is a good way….i wish he best Jeff

  • This is the only basically worthless video among the gold-mine of information that these folks offer. Seriously, does anybody take the numbers on the plates seriously? We know there are pulleys. We know these aren’t dumb-bells or barbells. The numbers on the plates only serve as landmarks for other numbers on the same plates. Thought this was obvious. Other than this one, these Athlean X videos are only source I trust anymore.

  • -Misleading title….
    -And also… more pulleys doesn’t necessarily mean less load! Even if there’s a 100 pulleys, but none of them are moving (up&down etc), BUT ONLY ROTATING, the load isn’t any different! (there’s friction though -> higher concentric load & lower eccentric load……)

    It’s physics, b!tch!

  • Yes he’s correct with regards to pulleys. With that said machines don’t make you week you just have to add more weight. I use machines to stay in shape and I’m not necessarily looking to get bigger with that said the more I do the stronger I get the more toned and bigger my arms get. It all depends on your goal. Machines are also great to do rehab because they isolate to one muscle group. I used them to rehab my shoulder and it worked. If I would have used free weights the chances of injuring myself would have been greater. You young guys can still work out however you want but as you get older injuries from working out are more likely and you’ll have to modify the way you work out. Some parts of the body just don’t work like they use to.