Start Position
End Position

Starting position:

  1. Adjust the pulley height just above your height when in a kneeling position.
  2. Kneel on the floor or a mat, facing the cable crossover station.
  3. Grasp the rope ends with a closed grip.
  4. Bend torso towards cable crossover station and bring the rope ends down so your shoulders and upper arms are positioned just below your head.

Downward movement/concentric phase:

  1. Flex the trunk as you pull down the rope ends, flexing your neck as your flex your torso.
  2. Flex the trunk until your elbows touch your upper thighs.

Upward movement/eccentric phase:

    1. In a controlled fashion, slowly return to starting position.
Do not allow the weight to drop before proceeding to next concentric phase. Do not bounce at the end of the concentric or eccentric phases. Do not hold your breath. Exhale during the concentric phase and inhale during the eccentric phase.


Exercise Data

  • Primary Muscles: Rectus abdominis
  • Synergists: External oblique, internal oblique, latissimus dorsi
  • Stabilizers: Transverse abdominis
  • Type: Strength, hypertrophy, muscular endurance
  • Mechanics: Trunk flexion
  • Equipment: Cable crossover station and rope attachment
  • Lever: 3rd class lever
  • Level: Intermediate to advanced
  • FAQ'S & FACTS ABOUT Crunch

    What Is A Cable Abdominis Crunch?

    A cable crunch is an exercise, which involves the abdominal muscles, primarily the rectus abdominis. This exercise is performed kneeling on the floor. The concentric portion of the exercise is flexion of the vertebral column, pulling the rope downward. The eccentric portion is extension of the vertebral column with the body returning to the upward position.

    The purpose of cable crunches is to strengthen the abdominal muscles while promoting the hypertrophy (increases in size) of this muscle group.

    Why Do A Cable Abdominis Crunch?

    Promoting hypertrophy of the abdominal muscles with trunk flexion helps define the “6-pack” of the rectus abdominis. Strengthening the abdominal muscles offers protective effects for the lower back as the abdominals play a role in stabilizing the torso. Stronger abdominals also complement exercise and sports performance as they can contribute to biomechanical efficiency during physical activity and exercise. Performing this exercise with a cable provides constant resistance throughout the entire range of motion.

    Anatomy Of A Cable Abdominis Crunch

    The abdominal wall is made up of broad, flat sheet-like muscles that are layered. The rectus abdominis is a vertical muscle that extends from the pubic crest and symphysis (at the pelvis) to the rib cage (xiphoid process and costal cartilages of ribs 5-7). The rectus abdominis is segmented by three tendinous intersections that run horizontally across the rectus abdominis. This tendon outlines the “6-pack” of the rectus abdominis along with the linea alba, a tendinous seam that runs down vertically, dividing the “6-pack” in half.

    The oblique muscles assist the rectus abdominis with flexion of the vertebral column. The external oblique muscle runs downward and medially and forms the inguinal ligament of the groin area. Its origin is at the outer surfaces of the lower eight ribs and it inserts into the linea alba via a broad aponeurosis. Some of the fibers of the external oblique insert into the pubic crest and iliac crest.

    The internal oblique, as its name suggests, is located below the superficial external oblique. Its fibers run in an upward and medial direction. Its origin is located at lumbar fascia, iliac crest and inguinal ligament. Its insertion is located at the linea alba, the pubic crest and the last three or four ribs.

    As the rope is pulled down, the shoulders must extend to accommodate to trunk flexion. The latissimus dorsi is the prime mover of shoulder extension. When well developed, this is the muscle that is credited for giving the body its “V-shape”. Its origin is located at the lower six thoracic vertrebrae, lumber vertebrae, lower 3 to 4 ribs, and iliac crest of the pelvis. Its insertion is located around the teres major at the intertubercular groove of the humerus.

    The transverse abdominis is the deepest muscle of the abdominal wall with fibers running horizontally. This stabilizing muscle compresses the abdominal contents. Its origin is located at the inguinal ligament, lumbar fascia, iliac crest and the cartilage of the last six ribs. It inserts at the linea alba and the pubic crest.

    Variations Of A Cable Abdominis Crunch

    Abdominal crunches (on the floor).

    How To Improve Your Cable Abdominis Crunches

    The abdominal muscles are working all day, every day, when you are physically active. For example, the rectus abdominis stabilizes the pelvis when you’re walking. Therefore, a greater overload stimulus is required to stimulate growth of the abdominals when isolating them during exercise. Cable crunches provide the resistance to optimally activate the rectus abdominis. Strategically varying your intensity, rest times and volume (number of repetitions in a set) will optimize abdominal development with time.

    Incorporating various abdominal exercises complements the performance of cable crunches, especially as you advance in exercise difficulty (e.g. V-ups, hanging leg raises).

    Focus on each concentric portion of the contraction, concentrating on “squeezing” as the elbows reach the upper thighs.

    Emphasis on eccentric contractions, prolonging the return back to the upward starting position, may also be incorporated with an abdominal training program focused on increasing strength. This should be implemented accordingly and with adequate muscle recovery as eccentric contractions cause substantial damage to muscle tissue and/or delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

    It’s important to note that your repetition and set volume will depend on your goals (e.g. strength, hypertrophy, muscular endurance).

    Common Mistakes When Doing Cable Abdominis Crunches

    Using momentum to lift the weight minimizes the benefit gained from the exercise. Therefore, it is important to control the concentric and eccentric contractions to optimize activation of the abdominal muscles.

    When incorporating abdominal training into your exercise regimen it is important to evaluate what other exercises you are doing in that training session. For example, it may not be best to train abdominals on the same day as performing deadlifts and squats as those exercises fatigue the abdominals substantially. Training abdominals before or after a training session that involves smaller muscle groups (e.g. calves, biceps, triceps) may be suitable, as it will not interfere with the quality of the overall training session.

    Injuries Or Ailments & Their Effects Regarding Cable Abdominis Crunches

    While performing abdominal exercises with added resistance can improve strength gains, increasing the weight beyond the lifter’s capacity can result in injury to the abdominal tissue.