Core Exercises Using Adjustable Cables, Medicine Ball and Bench

July 11, 2012

Must See Strength Training Videos

Dozens of exercises available to athletes can boost strength, but if your core muscles are weak, not only will your sports performance suffer but strains, sprains and other injuries may result. For example, strong core muscles, particularly in the abdomen and groin areas, may prevent sports hernias. So, to stay healthy and insure peak game performance, give as much attention to training your core muscles as you give to your chest and biceps.

Try the following core strengthening exercises in your sports conditioning program. You can either substitute a medicine ball or use a machine with adjustable cable heights and light to moderate resistance for some movements. A bench can used for other exercises.

Adjustable Cable Machine and Medicine Ball Exercises

1. Side Chops

These strengthens the oblique and transverse abdominal muscles as well as the legs, hips, upper, middle and lower back and arm muscles. Assume athletic stance facing away from cable machine. Set cable pin about a foot above left ear and use light to moderate resistance. Grab cable handle with both hands and explosively drive across body diagonally downward toward right ankle while contracting abdominal muscles. Slowly return to start position and repeat for 10 repetitions without resting; repeat on other side.

2. Reverse Chops

Similar to positioning for Side Chops, except cable pin is set at ankle height. Reverse Chops will strengthen your abdominal, leg, hip and upper, middle and lower back and arm muscles. Grab cable handle at left ankle and, keeping abdominal muscles tight, quickly drive upward across body to above right ear. Slowly return to start and repeat 10 reps. Repeat on other side.

3. Alternate Cable Chops

You can perform this exercise with a medicine ball by forcefully bouncing it from side to side in 30 to 45 seconds. Alternate Cable Chops and medicine ball bounces engage abdominal, hip, leg, back, and arm muscles. Assume athletic position one to two feet in front of cable handle. Set cable pin about six inches above head. Using a rope handle, grab both ends and rapidly drive down toward right ankle while slightly twisting. Slowly return to start and chop to left ankle. Alternate to each side as many times as you can in 30-45 seconds.

4. Cable Side Twists

This is an excellent exercise for strengthening the obliques and lower back. Assume athletic stance one to two feet away from and facing sideways from cable machine. Set cable pin about waist high. Grab cable handle with both hands and quickly drive across body at waist level, rotating torso. Slowly return to beginning and repeat for as many twists as you can do in 30-45 seconds, both directions.

Medicine Ball Core Exercises

1. Russian Twists

A terrific lower abdominal/oblique strengthening exercise. Sit on a mat with knees bent and feet off floor. Rapidly bounce a medicine ball on floor toward right hip, then toward left hip. Do as many alternating bounces as you can in 30-45 seconds.

2. Side Lunge and Twist

This works to strengthen the leg and hip muscles, middle and lower back and arms, and abdominal muscles, particularly the obliques. Assume athletic stance with medicine ball at chest height, arms extended. Lunge to the right while simultaneously turning ball to the right. Bring left foot to right foot and continue lunging/twisting ball to the right for about 10 yards. Repeat with left side lunges and ball twists back to start position.

3. Woodchopper and Twist

A wonderful upper and lower body strengthening exercise that effectively targets the lower and middle back and abdominal muscles. From an athletic stance with feet spread about shoulder-width, hold ball overhead and explosively drive ball through legs. Bring ball back to chest level and, with arms extended, twist from side to side. Repeat movement 10 times.

4. Medicine Ball Prone Plank

Planks are great abdominal, middle and lower back and shoulder muscle strengtheners. Contract your abdominal muscles and keep your back straight, without letting your lower back sag. Assume the prone plank position (similar to push-up position except resting forearms on ground). Place one foot with toes on a medicine ball and raise the opposite leg off floor. Hold position for 30 seconds, then switch feet/toes on ball and other leg airborne for 30 seconds. Advanced version: Place both feet/toes on ball in plank position and hold 30-60 seconds.

Core Exercises Using a Bench

Feet-Elevated Prone and Side Planks

Prone and side planks work the oblique and transverse abdominals, lower and middle back and shoulder muscles. Assume plank position with both feet/toes on a bench. Raise left foot off bench and hold position 30 seconds. Repeat with right foot airborne for 30 seconds. Without resting, rotate to left side of body and raise hips off floor with right forearm on floor and left arm extended overhead. Hold 30 seconds, rotate to right side and repeat.

photo credit: menshealth.com

Topics: CORE
Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as associate health and wellness...
Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as associate health and wellness...
Must See
Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout
Views: 1,225,973
Dashon Goldson: "You Just Gotta Have Heart"
Views: 4,901,621
Brandon Jennings: "Always Improve"
Views: 4,159,975

Featured Videos

A Day in the Life of NBA D-League Star Seth Curry Views: 69,070
Kevin Love's Cone Hop Basketball Shooting Drill Views: 9,456
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Views: 133,452
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,308,880
What Ryan Hall Eats for Breakfast
Views: 795,300
STACK Fitness Weekly: How To Do a Muscle-Up
Views: 778,676
Greg Nixon's Hill Training Program
Views: 705,782
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,561,942

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Train Like a Pro: MLS Soccer Strength Program

Use Wave Loading to Take Your Strength to the Next Level

Train Like a Pro: Julio Jones 3-Day Sandbag Strength Program

Abby Wambach's Soccer Power Workout

3 Tips to Blast Through Training Plateaus

Not Making Bench Press Gains? Try These Strategies

Train Like a Pro: Los Angeles Lakers Strength Training Program

Train Like a Pro: Baseball Strength Workout Program

Build Muscle With the 2-Second Pause Workout Program

How to Recover From a Soccer Game or Workout

Train Like a Pro: Dustin Pedroia's Baseball Power Workout

5 Quick Workout Fixes for Faster Muscle Growth

How to Use the Pallof Press for an Iron Core

Kevin Love's In-Season Workout

Abby Wambach's Strength and Speed Workout

Add Surprise Sets for a Great Workout Finisher

Jump Higher After a Month With These 3 Exercises

3 Keys to Better Softball Workouts

Speed Drill of the Day: Weighted Arm Swings

Get Faster to Pitch Harder

Todd Durkin's Complete Football Strength Training Program

Use Sled Pushes to Increase Speed, Strength and Power

Train Like a Pro: James Harden's Basketball Maintenance Workout

Tobin Heath's Powerful Leg Workout

The Un-Liftable Inch Dumbbell: Can You Handle Its Challenge?

Build Strong Legs with the Leg Press Lockdown Workout

Train Like a Pro: Henrik Zetterberg's Hockey Strength Workout

Bicep Curl Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

The 4 Best and Worst Cable Machine Exercises

3 Keys to a Solid Squat Setup

Build Athletic Strength with the Playground Sandbag Workout

Speed Drill of the Day: Reverse Lunges

How You Can Olympic Lift With an Injury

Increase Athletic Strength with Rotational Bodyweight Training

Build Bulletproof Chest Strength With This Unconventional Method

8-Exercise Advanced Chest and Back Workout

4 Tips for Reducing Deadlift Back Pain

3 Reasons Why You Should Do Full-Body Workouts

Is It Too Soon for Olympic Lifts?

The Top 10 Mistakes Athletes Make in the Weight Room

Build a Strong Upper Body With These Landmine Exercises

2 Brutal 10-Minute Workouts That Deliver Serious Results

Paul Rabil's Powerful Rotational Strength Workout

Get Faster With This Weightlifting Technique

3 Habits of Highly Successful Coaches