This is most definitely one of my top core exercises for women, I love adding it to a back or core day. This core exercise looks sexy when you do it and not only does it help strengthen your back and abs but your arms as well. Why is this one of my top core exercises for women? Well, like I just said it’s probably because you can feel sexy doing it! Ha! Okay, really though it’s because of the power you feel when doing it along with the strength and coordination of the muscles of your abs, diaphragm, core, arms, back or Latissimus Dorsi (lats) how they work together to create this straight arm cable lat pulldown with a crunch. This is a great exercise to include when doing a core workout or back day. I usually do it on my core days but that’s just me. That is why this is rated as one of my top core exercises for women and because it is a functional movement that involves multiple muscles in a full range of motion. Following are the steps to doing this exercise properly: 🙂
1. Starting position as you can see on the left is with a slight bend in the knees, slight lordosis in the lumbar spine, chin tucked head in alignment with spine, straight arms and wrists. Step back a couple of feet so you have enough room to fully extend your arms.
2. Bend your torso forward at the waist by about 30-degrees with your arms fully extended in front of you and a slight bend at the elbows. If your arms are not fully extended then you need to step back a bit more until they are, you will also feel a bit of a stretch in the abdominals. Once your arms are fully extended and your torso is bent at the waist, tighten the lats and then you are ready to begin.
3. While keeping the arms straight with a slight bend in the elbows, pull the cables down by contracting the lats until your hands are next to the side of the thighs and you crunch down into yourself by bringing you chest to the tops of your thighs.
4. Be sure to exhale as you crunch into yourself or you can injure your abdominals with a muscle strain or worse, a rupture of the muscle at its’ attachment.
5. Go back to your starting position and start again without letting go of any tension in the muscles.
6. HAVE FUN! It’s a great core exercise to throw in the mix and just enjoy it as much as I do. 🙂
Feel free to check out my other blog, ‘Core Workouts 101’ for more information on training the core as well as getting a core workout.