The 3 Best Athletic Cable Exercises

Cable machines are typically used for bodybuilding exercises; however, this doesn't always have to be the case. Discover three cable exercises perfect for athletes.

Dwight Howard Cable Exercise

Cable machines are fixtures in almost every gym. People mostly use them to build bigger arms or get a stronger chest, making it seem like cable exercises are more appropriate for bodybuilders than for athletes.

Although most people use cables for simple Curls or traditional Chest Presses, the machines' versatility allows you to get creative and challenge your body in new ways, so they're great for athletes. Below are three exercises that target the chest, back and core, but that include new twists for improving on-field performance.

Cable Low-to-High Chop

This exercise develops core rotational strength, which is critical for nearly every athletic movement. It is quite similar to a hockey shot, baseball swing and tennis swing.

  • Position cable at lowest position with handle attachment
  • Assume quarter-squat stance with cable next to foot
  • Grasp handle with both hands; keep chest up and back flat
  • Rotate hips and explode upwards to pull cable diagonally up and across body; keep arms straight throughout movement
  • Lower cable with control to start position
  • Repeat for specified reps; perform set in opposite direction

Sets/Reps: 3-4x6-8 each way

Single-Arm, Single-Leg Cable Row

This move increases back strength while forcing the core to stabilize to maintain balance throughout the movement.

  • Position cable at waist height with handle attachment
  • Assume athletic single-leg stance facing cable machine; hold handle with opposite hand
  • Bend knee to lower into quarter squat
  • Simultaneously drive out of quarter squat and pull cable handle to chest; keep elbow close to side
  • Extend arm to return to start position
  • Repeat for specified reps

Sets/Reps: 3-4x6-8 each arm

Single-Arm Lunge Cable Press 

Builds balanced upper-body strength, improves joint stability and increases core strength and balance.

  • Position cable at waist height with handle attachment
  • Assume lunge position in front of cable machine; hold handle with hand opposite forward leg
  • Extend arm forward to press cable; keep back straight and core tight
  • Bend arm to return to start position; keep elbow close to side
  • Repeat for specified reps; perform set with opposite arm

Sets/Reps: 3-4x6-8 each side


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: TENNIS | CHEST | EXERCISE | PRESS | STANCE | WAIST | SWING | STABILIZE | CABLE MACHINE | BASEBALL SWING