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How to Adapt Your Workout if You Don’t Have Access to a Cable Machine

Dave Cruz

Cable exercises are featured in many Core Performance workouts, and for good reason. Training with cables—especially pneumatic-based equipment like Keiser—allows you to easily change the resistance and train your total body at virtually any angle and at various speeds to develop strength and power, says performance specialist Kevin Elsey.

For example, a movement like the Split Squat Rotational Cable Lift (shown below) can improve your balance and stability, rotational power, and strength in your shoulders, chest, and arms. Not bad for one move.

If you work out at a gym, you should have access to a cable machine, but if you train at home you more than likely need an alternative. Here are a couple alternatives to training with cables, courtesy of Elsey, to help you get the most out of your training program:

Option 1: Pick up a set of resistance bands.

A quality set of resistance bands is relatively inexpensive (starting around $30) and can be used to create a range of resistance levels. Depending on the movement, find a secure high- or low-point to attach the bands to and you’ll have everything you need to replicate cable moves at home. Some popular cable moves like rows and presses can also be performed using a TRX suspension trainer.

Option 2: Use a weight.

Don’t have a resistance band either? Grab a dumbbell, weight plate, or medicine ball and perform the movement just as you would with cables. For example, if your program asks you to do a move like the Standing Cable Lift (below), you can mimic the same movement pattern using a weight plate, which will look like the Rotational Plate Lift (also below).

Standing Cable Lift

No Cables, No Problem

Tags: Rotational Movement, Resistance Training, Strength, Cable Machine