How To Do A Cable Oblique Crunch Properly

The cable oblique crunch is a traditional crunch variation that is performed on a cable pulley machine.

This highly effective isolation exercise is designed to target your core muscles with particular emphasis on your obliques.

Required equipment: Cable pulley machine, D-handle

Steps:

  • Attach a D-handle to the cable machine.
  • Stand sideways to the cable machine, with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Grabbing the handle with an underhand grip, pull it down so that your palm is in line with your head and your elbow points downward.
  • Keep dragging the handle until your working hand is between your shoulder and nose. Your other hand should be resting on your hip.
  • Tighten the side of your abdomen to squeeze the obliques.
  • Move your elbow toward your hip. At this point, you should feel your obliques contracting.
  • Pause for a few seconds before you slowly return to the starting position.
  • When you get to the starting position, you can choose to hyperextend your arm slightly to stretch your side a bit more before moving to the next rep.
  • Finish all the reps on one side, then repeat the steps with the other side.
  • 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps each should be enough for a beginner. Feel free to add more after you have mastered the form.

WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE CABLE OBLIQUE CRUNCH WORK?

OBLIQUE MUSCLES

The obliques are one of the four major muscle groups that make up your core. They help with spinal mobility and core stability.

As the name suggests, the cable oblique crunch is designed to specifically isolate and strengthen your oblique muscles.

RECTUS ABDOMINIS MUSCLE

The rectus abdominis muscle, popularly known as the “abs” also gets worked by the cable oblique crunch.

The main function of your abs is to help with the movement of the body parts located between your pelvic area and your ribcage.

CABLE OBLIQUE CRUNCH BENEFITS

INCREASES CORE STRENGTH

By training your obliques, this exercise increases your core strength which in turn helps stabilize your spine.

Additionally, a stronger core will enable you to perform most lower body exercise with ease.

SIMPLE AND EASY TO PERFORM

The cable oblique crunch is relatively easy to do. The steps are quite simple and it doesn’t require much to perform except a cable pulley machine and an arm attachment.

REDUCES LOWER BACK PAIN

By strengthening your core, the cable oblique crunch could help prevent or alleviate pain in your lower back.

ALTERNATIVES TO CABLE OBLIQUE CRUNCH

DUMBBELL SIDE BEND

The dumbbell side bend uses a dumbbell to work your abdominal muscles as well as your arm muscles.

How to do it:

  • Grab a dumbbell with a neutral grip using your right hand and then place it on your side. Your other hand should be holding your waist.
  • Keeping your back and body straight, bend to your left, going as far as you can.
  • Stay in this position for a second or two before going back to the original position.
  • Move to the right side and repeat the above steps for the desired number of reps.

You can make this exercise more challenging by holding a dumbbell in each hand and working both sides as the same time.

KNEELING OBLIQUE CABLE TWIST

This exercise is almost like the cable oblique crunch except that instead of crunching up and down, you crunch from side to side.

It also places more emphasis on your obliques rather than your upper abdominal muscles.

How to do it:

  • Connect a rope attachment to the cable machine at around face height.
  • In each hand, hold one side of the attachment and kneel in front of the machine.
  • Put the rope behind your head and tuck your elbows in.
  • Tighten your core and pull the rope downwards to your left side until your elbows are touching or near your left knee. Essentially, you should be in the crunch position at this point.
  • Pause for a few seconds.
  • Slowly and with control, return to your original position.
  • Perform your next rep on your right side, with your right hand.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps, making sure to alternate between both sides.

HIGH-PULLEY SIDE BEND

The high-pulley side bend is an equally effective oblique exercise that isolates the obliques by putting constant tension on your core throughout the exercise.

Steps:

  • Attach a single handle to the top of a cable pulley machine.
  • Stand sideways to the machine and hold the single handle with an underhand grip.
  • Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and your other hand at your hip for stability.
  • Pull the cable downwards until you get to the point where your elbow is touching your side.
  • Hold this position for two seconds while contracting your obliques.
  • Slowly and with control, allow your arm to go upwards as you extend it fully.
  • Do 12 -15 reps.

CABLE OBLIQUE CRUNCH MISTAKES TO AVOID

USING HEAVY WEIGHT

Start the movement with a relatively light weight so that you can master the proper form. Afterwards, you can use heavier weight as long as you will be able to control it.

However, the weight shouldn’t be so light that it cannot take the body back to the original position.

USING YOUR ARMS

Avoid using your arms for this exercise if you truly want to work your obliques.

Using your arms will force you to use your arm muscles which are not the target of this movement.

Instead, use your obliques to generate the driving power for your motions. You can do this by tightening the side of your abdomen where the obliques lie.

MOVING THE WORKING HAND

Keep the working hand fixed throughout this exercise. It should only move through the motions prescribed for its execution.

SWINGING THE CABLE

Avoid jerking or swinging the cable as you move your arm up and down. Your reps should be smooth, slow and controlled for the best results.

FAILING TO BREATHE

Every exercise that works the core, including the cable oblique crunch, requires that you breathe in between reps so that you can fully activate and engage your abdominal muscles.

FINAL WORD

If working your obliques is at the top of your wish list then you should seriously consider adding the cable oblique crunch to your routine.