Centr trainer Ingrid Clay performs a high plank cable row using the Centr 1 Home Gym machine.
Centr Team

4 of the best cable machine core exercises

Centr Team

You know there’s more to building a strong core than crunches. But how do you elevate your ab gains using a cable machine?

We’ve got your cable machine and your core exercises covered. If you're looking to max those arm gains, try these upper-body cable exercises instead.

The Centr 1 Home Gym is a compact and powerful functional trainer packing a 160lb (73kg) weight stack, frictionless pulleys and unique radial arms. Available from shop.centr.com and select retailers, it comes with a 3-month digital subscription to Centr – and the muscle-building workout routine you’ve been looking for.

Our 9-week Centr 1 Strong program is designed specifically for the Centr 1, with expert splits to deliver total-body results.

What is your core?

While you may immediately think of six-pack abs, your core actually encompasses all the muscles in your torso, from your diaphragm to your back and down to your pelvic floor.

And your abdominals are packing three layers of muscles, the deepest transversus abdominis, the rectus abdominis at the top, and obliques on either side. Want to know more? Take a deep dive into your core.

Now, if you’re ready to feel the burn, we’ve chosen a 4 of the best cable machine core exercises from the program to get you started.

SAFETY NOTE: When performing exercises using the Centr 1, make sure you are standing on (or keep a hand on) the front plate at all times.

1. Cable high plank row

While firing up your abdominal and oblique muscles, these rows will also work your back and arms for maximum efficiency. Every rep will build upper-body and core strength, enhancing your posture and improving functional movement patterns.

How to do a Cable high plank row:

  1. Set the radial arms at the lowest position.

  2. Take a high plank position facing the machine, your feet shoulder-width apart and your left hand on the front plate.

  3. Grab the handle with your free right hand, creating tension on the cable.

  4. Keep your core engaged and your body in a straight line from head to toe.

  5. Pull the cable handle toward your side, driving your elbow up past your back and squeezing your shoulder blades together.

  6. Pause at the top of the movement, then return the cable handle back to the starting position with control.

  7. After completing a full set of rows on your right side, switch to work your left.

2. Cable kneeling crunch

While primarily targeting your abs and obliques, this crunch also engages the hip flexors and lower back muscles to improve stability and power any functional movements that involve bending or twisting at the waist.

How to do a cable kneeling crunch:

  1. Set the radial arms at a high position and attach two D handles (or a rope handle) to one side.

  2. Kneel on the front plate, facing the cable with the two handles. You may want to place a workout mat over the plate for comfort.

  3. Grab a handle with each hand at head height.

  4. Engage your core, then curl your torso forward, pulling your elbows down toward your thighs.

  5. Squeeze your abs as you crunch forward, then slowly return to the starting position, controlling the resistance as you go.

3. Cable side plank row

This side plank position will activate your obliques, while the rows also target your back and arms. By engaging multiple muscle groups simultaneously, you won’t just be improving core strength, stability and balance, but developing full-body coordination.

How to do a cable side plank row:

  1. Set the radial arms at the lowest position, reaching out at an angle from the front plate.

  2. Lie on your side with your legs extended, feet stacked on top of each other on one end of the front plate.

  3. Take a side plank position, balancing on your right forearm with your elbow directly under your shoulder.

  4. Grab the cable handle with your left hand, creating tension on the cable.

  5. Engage your core and lift your hips off the ground – your body should form a straight line from your feet to your top shoulder.

  6. Pull the cable toward your side, driving your elbow back and squeezing your shoulder blade.

  7. Pause at the top of the movement, then return the cable back to the starting position with control.

  8. After completing a full set of rows leaning on your right side, switch to lean on your left.

4. Cable good mornings

While this mainly targets the posterior chain – including the hamstrings, glutes and lower back – it requires stabilization of the core muscles to maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement. And a strong core and posterior chain working in tandem gives your lifting power a massive boost.

How to do cable good mornings:

  1. Set the radial arms at the lowest position and attach D handles to each side.

  2. Stand on the front plate with your feet shoulder width apart.

  3. Grip the handles above your shoulders, your palms facing upward, cable outside your arms and elbows up and out at a 45 degree angle.

  4. Engage your core. Then, keeping your chest up and knees soft, push your hips back and hinge forward to lower your torso toward the ground.

  5. Pause at the bottom of the movement, then slowly lift your torso by pushing your hips forward, squeezing your glutes as you return to the starting position.

Ready to start building total-body strength at home with our exclusive Centr 1 Strong program? The one-of-a-kind Centr 1 Home Gym functional trainer is available at shop.centr.com and select retailers.


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