Exercises for the Cable Machine and Archie’s Debut!!



How are we all doing today? Good I hope! I am working hard on keeping my smile up :)


Unfortunately ezekiel french toast is not that photogenic. For such a decadent breakfast, it was pretty healthy though!! Two eggs + a splash of skim milk, cinnamon and vanilla, all whisked together then soaked up with sprouted grain bread.

Dipped in sugar-free syrup. The little eggy end parts are the best ;)

After this I made the executive decision not to work out today. Good thing I did, as I ended up having family obligations that took up a huge chunk of the day. For all you positive thinkers out there – please send some this way for my dad and his family. They could use a few extra good vibes!!

Then I drove into oncoming traffic on the Gunningsville bridge. Stuck by a median. Holy heart attack. Rain + drifting thoughts = dangerous driving on my part.

I perked myself up with a new ‘do. It’s in a ponytail right now, I will primp properly tomorrow and show you. Getting rid of hair has a therapeutic effect, no?


So does chocolate. Even when it’s cocoa powder mixed with soy protein powder. I gave a bite to the little step-bro and he said it tastes like chocolate mousse! I didn’t even tell him to say that!!

Mom pulled out all the stops again for dinner tonight.


Roast chicken – my favourite. With roast carrots, turnip and sweet potato.

I swiped the thigh and leg as I like the dark meat best. Yes, I used to be a vegetarian and now I eat it off the bone ;)

Tried a little scoop of these random preserves my mother handed me. I thought they were cranberry.


Got quite the surprise when I took a bite and found out it was sweet cherry! Turns out Sister Sara bought it back when she was living in Edmonton. I’m thinking it would be much better on waffle ;)

In other news, I found a new kind of gum today!

IMG_7685 IMG_7687

It’s no secret that I’m a mad gum chewer. It’s a problem. I’m [not] working on it.


It’s fruity, yet refreshing!! I think it’s some sort of grapefruit concoction. Tasty.


Cable Exercises

A long, long time ago, Lori asked for a post on exercises to do on the cable machines at the gym. I told her I’d get around to it that week. That was around three months ago.

Coincidentally, I gave my mom a mini-training session on the cable machine and she wants me to write down what I showed her. So I’m covering all my bases! :P

Since I got my personal training certification, one of the most common requests I get from people is how to use the above cable machine, or ones similar to it (some only have one pulley).

First we must understand how it works. Most can be adjusted by pulling out a knob on the side and sliding the pulley up or down. There are several different attachments you can clip on.


We’re mostly concerned with the above attachments. Not pictured though is the velcro strap that fits around your ankle. Usually these parts are hanging out somewhere around the machine, or you may have to remove it from another machine to use. Don’t worry, most of the following pictures clearly illustrate which one you’ll need.

Before we get into the exercises, I need to make a very important point.

Don’t let the cable boss you around. 

When trying out new exercises on a cable machine start at a low weight. As the weight plates drop on the machine, the cable will pull forward. It is SO important not to let it jerk you with it. Stay strong and balanced. If you’re struggling, lower the weight. Sometimes we can’t go as heavy on cable machines as we can with dumbbells. That’s okay. You’ll see better results when you actually hit the intended muscles ;)


A stiff-legged deadlift to work your glutes and hamstrings. You can also do a regular deadlift where you bend your knees. A straight bar would be needed for this one.

The cable pull through hits mostly your glutes, but you’ll get a little thigh work in there too. Please keep your back straight and supported!

The one leg cable kickback is actually one of the best butt exercises there is. Want a bubble butt? This is one for you.


Cable thigh pull can work either your inner or outer thighs. The motion pictured above will hit your inner thighs. If you turn around and pull the cable away from your body, you’ll hit the outer thighs. Remember to pull the weight with your thigh muscles, don’t just put all the work in your hips.


The cable chest press is one of my favourite ways to change up the boring ole’ chest press. You can do this two arms at a time, or one arm at a time. Remember to push through your chest and not your shoulders.


Standing cable row. I like doing this one best in a squat position to activate my legs as well. This is an important one to keep your upper body stable on. Try not to round your back when the cable pulls away from the body.

Cable face pull. This one targets your upper back and shoulders as well. Make sure to keep your shoulders down and neck soft. Arms should be parallel to the floor.



Pictured above is the lateral raise. This will work mostly the top of your shoulders. It requires very little weight, and if you’re on a machine with two cables, you can set it up so they cross in front of you. You can also turn around and pull your arms out in front of you to do a front shoulder raise.


The cable pushdown is one many people are already familiar with. Pleasepleaseplease do not move your shoulder joints in this exercise. The only joint that should be moving is your elbow, which should also be tucked in by your waist. You’ll be able to feel the difference in your triceps!

Cable overhead extension. The thing to remember for this is to keep your shoulders down, try not to shrug them up with the movement. Again, make sure only your elbows are moving!


It’s only fitting that Ahhhnold demonstrate our bicep exercise ;) The one and only cable curl. Set the cable at the bottom of the machine, take on a staggered stance and curl up. Broken record time – only bend at your elbows!!



Cable woodchop. Above is the diagonal version. But you can also set the cable in the center and twist horizontally for the cable horizontal woodchop. Thing to remember here is to keep your arms straight, and pull through using your abs first.

For some reason I get asked about the cable crunch all the time. Maybe because it looks hardcore. I personally find it’s awkward. In the above picture, the guy is twisting diagonally to hit his obliques, but you can also just go up and down for a normal crunch. Again, keep the work in your abs here, and try not to curve your spine too much.

All the demonstrative pictures are hyperlinked, so click away to get more info on the exercise behind the photo :) Of course, these aren’t the only cable exercises you can do, but it’s at least a good start!


Last, but most certainly not least, I have a video to share!! Clickclick to see the one and only Archibald in action.


Haha, my mom says he looks scared in the video. He must be camera shy ;) Also very cute is that is got SO confused when I played back the video!! He kept looking at me and wondering why my mouth wasn’t moving when my voice was coming out of the computer :P


Question of the Day: I want to do a vlog before I leave my mom’s place – what would you like to see? Recipe? Exercise move? Rambles and silliness?? Let me know!

Posted on June 3, 2010, in Workouts and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 40 Comments.

  1. ARCHIE! Hooray!

    He looks like a very polite dog. Like, “Oh, hey! What’s up. I’m right here, and you can pet me if you WANT, but…I’m just going to sit here and look at you with wide eyes until you make that decision on your own.” LOVE.

    • Hahaha, oh, he can be VERY needy. I think he just clammed up for the camera. He’s notorious for jumping on your lap and nosing you till you start petting him ;)

  2. I just watched your Archibald video and now my puppy is running all over the house looking the person who suggested going for a walk! LOL

    I would love to see a vlog of exercises.

  3. I vote recipe blog!
    And Archie is ADORABLE!

  4. Um, I love you!!! I was looking at the cable machine not sure where to start today and now I have the perfect page to print out to bring to the gym. THANK YOU!!

    I vote for an exercise or recipe vlog!

  5. Archie is so cute! LOL.

    I am loving the cable machine so much. Seems like a lot of other people do, too, as we are always having to share when only a few people are in the gym!

    I do the rope crunch, but hold the rope in front of my head and not with the rope straddling like the guy does in that picture.

    Hope everything works out okay for the step family…

  6. Those cable things…I don’t even know what to do with them. I never go to the gym though. I should, with all the knowledge i’m amassing!

    I vote for silliness and rambles! Always love to see the silly, fun side of you!

  7. I’m all about rambling. I’m pretty good at it. Wow, that post was like a book, that took a bit of work, save it all, you know, for YOUR book.

  8. I am so intimidated by the cable machines! I have never ventured to figure them out so thanks for the tutorial. It was very needed. :)

    I love to hear people ramble on, just as I do. Makes me feel better that I am not the only one!

  9. I was going to get that gum but then got the flavor shift one instead. I want to try that mystery flavor next time for sure though.

    I love the cable machines. Sooo many exercises to do. I like doing the wood chopper. Good for arms and abs.

    RAMBLE please :)

  10. Fattie Fatterton

    Sending lots of good thoughts to your family.

    Thank God you weren’t injured – a friend of mine did that once, too. It happens.

    This is a great post on the cable machine. Love it!!

    Although I hate the woodchop – it’s my least favorite!! I would rather do planks for an hour (not that I can).

    Have you ever tried the TRX?

  11. Madeline - Greens and Jeans

    Lots of positive vibes heading your family’s way! Archie is so freaking adorable it pains me.

  12. Yeah he looked a bit scared. I’ll vote a vlog showing you making one of your famous meals.

  13. roast chicken is one of my faves – i’m inspired to maybe make one while my husband’s gone on vacay and eat it all week!

  14. this cable post is amazing! 3 mos ago it would have been wasted on me, but not anymore!

    “Don’t let the cable boss you around. ”

    the awkward cable crunch, oh, i agree. i never do it b/c it looks like so much “work” for very little true reward. i would rather do something else like a good old fash situp/crunch than mess aroudn w/ that one

    great post susan!

  15. The best machine! And loving Ezekiel French Toast.. it’s been too long for me.. this may have to be on the weekend menu.

  16. Mmm ezekiel french toast… it’s SO expensive but I love it so… I think I need to just suck it up and buy some! hah.

    Thanks for the cable tutorial, I have had University training in fitness and still don’t know what the hell to do with cable machines ;) Well, now I do!

    I would like a random/silliness-recipe blog! :D


  17. Hooray for Archie! Boomer is VERY camera shy.

    I want to purschase a cable machine but need a job first ;) I love the shoulder move. I do those with dumbbells.

  18. All of the above on the vlog topics! :)

    I don’t do many cable exercises…I should!

  19. Sending good vibes to your family right now!

    Fellow gum-aholic here… I keep thinking I “should” cut back, but I like it. More harmful habits we could have, right? can’t wait to see your hair!

    Thanks for the cable exercises! I used the machine for the first time with my trainer a couple of weeks ago- did the woodchop and some others I don’t know the names of. It was fun! Though looks pretty intimidating…haha.

  20. archie is so prim and proper the way he sits – too cute!

    and i am admittedly bad at weightlifting. i don’t like it. but i LOVE yoga, and we are going to do that in BANFF…yesssssssssssss!

    and i need french toast in my life – that looks way too good. and the eggy parts are my fave too :)

  21. haha OMG cutest video ever!!!

    YES love cable exercises and the possibilities are endless! thats why i love training people using it! they look at me like “WHO aer you and HOW did you think of THAT exercise?!?!” but it rocks!

  22. love this post! I don’t utlize the cables enough. They are always so dang busy. But, next time it’s not, I’ll def pull some of these out!

    and French Toast–yum!

  23. The idea of you cooking on a vlog is super cute for some reason! But I’d watch anything.

    Holy French toast, woman. I want your breakfast. And your mom’s roast chicken!

  24. Haha, cute Archie! It was hilarious, too: when I played the video and you said “sit”, my dog jumped awake and sat down! And then when you said “walk”, his ears pricked straight up and his tail started wagging a mile a minute! Hahah, so CUTE! Love dogs.

  25. I wish I had a cable machine in my home gym aka my basement that holds a treadmill and an exercise ball. So many prostar exercises I’m missing out on :(

    I want to give Mr Archibald a big cuddly hug. What a sweetie!

    You should include some chocolate “mousse” mixing (and eating!) in your vlog. It would make for epic video viewing no doubt

  26. What a great and informative post! We don’t have a cable machine at the gym but I’ve just bought a rowing machine for home which also acts as a small cable machine so I will be putting some of these moves to good use!

  27. Oh thanks for sharing!! I’ve never heard of the cable pull through.. bookmakring that!!

  28. Love Archie, he is too cute!

    That roast chicken looks great. Maybe your mom could make me dinner!

  29. love to your papa’s fam girl :)

    THANK YOU for these cable exercises! i’m always interested in more ways i can utitlize those huge honkin babies! i seriously am a cable whore at the gym hahaha i think they’re so fun!

    other things that are fun? vegitarians eating off the boneeeeeee

  30. …Is it weird and creepy that whenever we have roast chicken now, I totally think of you and our shared love for the roasted poultry?! ;)

    YES to the vlog! I saw TGBA Mom should make an appearance :)

  31. Hey there!!! I saw your dinner plate and was totally like, DEJA VU!! My bf has the exact same plates, and yup, we love are roasted chicken. :) Momma’s are amazing.

    But I’m also in love with your french toast. That looks awesome!! I’m not sure why you’d think Ezekiel bread french toast is unphotogenic. :P

  32. i need to get my hands on that gum! i am quite the gum chewer also. i blame marshall. great cable moves! ive been using the seated one arm cable chest press move i got from your total body workout and i love it! stoked for the vlog!

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