Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredCable
  • MechanicsIsolation
  • Force TypePull
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
Target Muscle Group


Abs Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Cable Crunch Instructions

  1. Attach the rope attachment to a high pulley cable and set the appropriate weight on the stack.
  2. Stand directly in front of the cable machine, facing away from it.
  3. Grasp the rope from behind your head with your palms facing inward and drop to your knees.
  4. Your buttocks should be resting on top of your feet. Keeping your elbows bent and hands at either head height or shoulder height, crunch down as far as possible.
  5. Pause, then slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.

Cable Crunch Tips:

  1. This exercise works best when done slowly with perfect form.
  2. Your buttocks should stay touching your heels at all times.
  3. Focus on crunching the abs in, not pivoting at the hips.
  4. As you increase weight it may be more comfortable to rest the rope on your shoulders.
  5. Don't choose a weight so heavy that your lower back handles most of the resistance. 
Posted on: Wed, 04/28/2021 - 18:06

can this workout be replaced with dumbells?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 04/29/2021 - 09:20

Hey maya - check out this alternative exercise: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/weighted-crunch.html. You can use a dumbbell with this one.

Posted on: Sat, 06/15/2013 - 22:34

Why are there people that give comments like these thumbs down?!?!

Posted on: Wed, 07/03/2019 - 02:28

maybe because they feel it, only thing i felt from doing this are the numbness of my fingers... unless im doing it wrong idk

Posted on: Fri, 03/29/2013 - 07:14

If I don't have this type of equipment, is there an exercise that would substitute?

Cole Byrd
Posted on: Wed, 03/06/2013 - 20:44

what else would be just as good as the cable crunch cause I don't have the cable to do it

Posted on: Sat, 10/26/2013 - 07:49

You could replicate this by using a resisitance band around a sturdy surface behind you. Use different thicknesses of bands to create different tensions.

Posted on: Fri, 02/15/2013 - 21:04

I have a couple questions. First, I've always seen and heard that you should never have your butt resting on your heels. Is there any benefit either way? Also, most of the time I see cable crunches done they are done facing the rack. Is one more beneficial than the other?

Posted on: Thu, 04/09/2015 - 21:33

I've been wondering about the butt position too! Has anybody said to you, WHY you shouldn't have your butt on your heels? Sounds like a "no" but time has passed since your post. I have always done it with my butt on my heels and my feet dorsiflexed because I don't get the opportunity to use my momentum and "fall down" with the weight to complete the rep. I feel a better ab contraction with my butt down.

Daryl Gibbs
Posted on: Sun, 08/12/2012 - 07:17

i also have had 2 knee surgeries and resting on my knees like that is very painful is there another abs routine I can do from home maybe !

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 08/22/2012 - 14:45

Try the standing variation of this exercise.

Posted on: Tue, 05/08/2012 - 03:23

perfect crunch for me, less back pain :D

Posted on: Wed, 04/25/2012 - 04:50

The seated crunch machine would be perfect replacement, I feel that they do the exact same workout

Alan Matthews
Posted on: Tue, 03/27/2012 - 03:03

i have had 3 knee surgeries and resting on my knees like that is very painful and other ab exercise i could swap this for and still work the same area

Posted on: Wed, 04/11/2012 - 00:56

I also have bad knees from football and a few tours overseas and I find you can do seated pulldowns as well

Tyler Pruett
Posted on: Tue, 08/13/2013 - 17:03

I'm in no way a trainer, but it really helps if you get a floor mat and fold it up to put under your knees. The softness should not affect the resistance of the exercise.