Unlike many machines that are it ineffective (or even dangerous!), in the gym, the cable pulley has stood the test of time. Cable pulley and cable crossover machines are the most versatile pieces of gym equipment, allowing you to hit small and large muscle groups, and complete isolation and compond moves from multiple angles and directions.
"One of my favorite moves is the Pallof Press (an anti-rotational core exercise)," says Felix Bangkuai, BS, NASM-CPT, a personal trainer at the Health & Wellness Center at Florida Wesley Chapel. "This move, and its variations, engages your core, back, arms, hips, and legs—all in one," he adds. Plus, it maintains constant tension, and you can move in any plane of motion and direction which helps you properly understand how to "brace” your body—key to core engagement and function, Bangkuai explains.
The 12 excercises that follow include variations of the Pallof Press, as well as other total-body moves designed to improve your weaknesses, craft a shredded core, and add muscle definition to your arms, back, and legs.
On every move, adjust the weight/tension as needed. Don't go too heavy. The emphasis should be on form, technique, and keeping your heart rate up. "You want to brace your core as hard as you can with each move, but you also need to maintain proper form and posture the entire time," Bangkuai says.
He suggests doing these moves as finishers so, at the end of a workout after you’ve done all your primary lifts, complete 4-5 sets of 12-15 reps of one or more of these moves, taking 30-45 second breaks.
For moves that require half-kneeling on one side, complete 6-7 reps and and repeat for 6-7 more on the other side. If one side of your body is weaker, start the exercise on that side.