What are Cable Crunches?

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  • Written By: Harriette Halepis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 August 2019
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Cable crunches are a type of abdominal exercise that can only be performed with the help of a cable machine. By placing a bar or rope attachment on a cable machine, one can effectively work the abdominal muscles by kneeling in front of the machine and bending forward. In order to complete this exercise, the rope or bar in use must be placed in back of a person's head, since this is the best way to ensure a complete abdominal workout.

The object of cable crunches is to tighten the abdominal muscles while bending forward. To begin this exercise, a person must select the amount of weight to use by setting the machine correctly, kneeling in front of the machine, grabbing onto a bar or rope, and bending forward until the head is almost touching the knee area. While this exercise can be performed without the help of any additional equipment, a crunch bench is often helpful. By using a bench to complete cable crunches, a person will be able to increase depth, which will lead to a better overall crunch.

As with most other exercises, cable crunches should be done slowly and cautiously. This type of exercise does not involve any kind of swinging movement. When selecting the amount of weight to add to a cable machine, it is crucial that a manageable amount of weight is chosen. Selecting weights that are too heavy could cause a great deal of injury.


When a basic cable crunch creates a large amount of pain within the back area, the amount of weight selected is too high. Likewise, selecting an amount of weight that is too light won't allow a person to complete the exercise correctly. Instead, weight should be heavy enough to provide resistance, but light enough to lift comfortably.

Cable crunches can also be used to target the sides of the abdominal area known as the obliques. To isolate the obliques, instead of bending forward, side bends are optimal. This small change in movement will target the oblique area, and it can be used in conjunction with a regular forward cable crunch.

While cable crunches are not too difficult to perform, it is important that the right technique be observed. This is precisely why a cable crunch should be performed in front of a certified trainer at first. Once the correct movement has been noted, a person can easily perform cable crunches without supervision. This exercise can be executed three times per week, and it should be performed on a regular basis in order to produce desirable results.


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