Cable Machine: Total Body


by Amanda Fitzpatrick, ACSM-CPT, ACE-GFI

This total body workout is focused around the cable machine, a staple in every gym due to its versatility and ability to accommodate every body size.

To adjust the handles, you’re going to pull the pin out and slide the handles up or down making sure they lock into position.

To adjust the weight, pull out the pin and adjust the weight plates. If you’re doing bilateral movements (i.e. chest press) make sure your weight is even on both sides.

When selecting your weight, you want to make sure that the exercise is challenging but doable with proper form for the amount of reps you’re aiming to complete. You should feel like you couldn’t possibly complete another rep. If you completed all reps and found it to be too easy, increase your weight by about 5-10%. Your weight settings can be different for each exercise. Make sure you record your weight for each exercise. This way you can know where you’ve started and track your progress as you get stronger!   

Directions: 3 sets of 12 reps. Complete all sets of each exercise before moving on to the next exercise. 45 second rest in between sets and 1 minute rest in between exercises.

Bicep Curl: With both handles set at the lowest setting, pull the handles up to your shoulders and control them back out.

Chest Press: Handles set at shoulder height, facing out, begin in a split stance, keeping your core engaged. Palms facing down, mimic the movement of a push up.

Chest Fly: Handles set at shoulder height, facing out in a split stance with your palms facing inward, squeeze your arms closed as if you were making an ‘O’ with your arms.

Tricep Extension: With the rope attachment, begin facing out in a split stance with your arms reaching overhead, biceps by your ears and elbows pointing forward. Bend your elbows only and straighten.

Single Arm Lunge Row: Facing the cable machine, lower to a reverse lunge. With the same arm as the leg that’s behind you, complete a single arm row. Avoid twisting through your torso! Complete 3 sets of 12 reps on each side!

Shoulder Press: Begin facing out in a split stance, your hands are going to start at your shoulders. With your core engaged (avoid arching your low back) press the handles overhead and control their decent back to your shoulders.

Pull-down: This one can be done kneeling or sitting facing the cable machine. With the handles set at the highest position, draw your elbows into your sides engaging your lats. Keep your shoulder blades pressed down away from your ears!

Squat: Using the rope attachment and facing the cable machine, begin with the weight lifted and ropes held to your chest. Complete a squat and squeeze through the backs of your legs to stand up, lifting the weight with your legs.

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