Cable Pulley Machine Beginner Exercises

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Cable pulley machines are common in many gyms and rehab centers today. They provide a wide range of exercises and can be adjusted to your height and size. Unlike other weight-training machines, this equipment requires you to use your body to maintain balance and support while exercising. If you are a beginner, you have three basic movements you can do with the cable machine -- push, pull, and rotation. Adjusting the height of the cable handles offers you different resistances in the same exercise.

Standing Cable Push

The standing cable push exercise emphasizes on the pushing and pressing forward movement while maintaining balance and core stability, which resembles real life pushing movement from a standing position. Face away from the cable machine, and hold the cable handles at your heart level while standing with your left foot in the front and toes pointing forward. This position encourages you to lean your torso forward. Push your hands forward and extend your arms. Return back to the start position with your shoulder blades retracting. Maintain a tall spine at all times. Switch legs between sets and determine which side easier.

Standing Cable Row

Like the standing pushing exercise, pulling from a standing position works your entire body, and it is how you would pull in real life. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointing forward. Set the cable handles' height at about chest level. Pull the handles toward your chest with your elbow back and shoulder blades together, while maintaining a tall spine and balance. Gradually extend your arms forward and repeat the movement.

Cable Chop and Lift

Standing rotation exercises mimic the rotational movement used in tennis, golf and baseball. Set the height level of one of the cable handles at the lowest point of the machine, and set the other handle at the highest point. Grab the low handle with both hands and walk away from the machine until the weight stack lifts off, to prevent clanging the weights. Stand tall and parallel to the cable. Keep your grip tight. Rotate your trunk and lift your arms in an arc across your body. Twist the hip and leg that is closest to the machine toward the direction of the turn. Keep your elbows slightly bent. This leg and hip movement allows maximum range of motion of the entire body.

For the chopping movement with the higher handle, the movement is the same as the lift, except now you are rotating from top to bottom, going along with gravity instead of against it. When you chop the handle toward your hip, keep your back neutral. Do not hunch your shoulders or upper back.