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How to Do the Cable Push-Pull

Weight Training for the Arms and Shoulders


Updated December 11, 2012

The cable push-pull utilizes two cables set on a frame between waist and shoulder height. The exercise movement is a little like a boxing one-two punching action, and done right, with some shoulder rotation and tight abs, is a great core development exercise.

Find out more about weight training terminology and exercise description if you need background information before you try this exercise.

1. How to Do the Cable Push-Pull - The Exercise Movement

  1. Adjust a suitable cable rack so that you grasp a cable handle in each hand, one from each end of the rack. You will face in the direction of the cable pulls. Cable grips should be a little higher than waist high.
  2. Stand with one leg forward so that you have a balanced position. You will work your arms, pulling one cable as you push with the other in a motion somewhat resembling a one-two punching movement. See an example at Mens Health.
  3. Brace the abdominals and breathe regularly -- out on exertion and in on recovery.
  4. The shoulders should rotate slightly and the knees should be slightly bent for balance.

2. How to Do the Cable Push-Pull - Points to Note

  1. You can do this exercise more or less as an upper body aerobic exercise with light weights and few breaks; or you can use heavier weights for strength training and pause slightly at the end of each push-pull movement or after, say, 10 repetitions.
  2. After one or two sets you should reverse the leg/arm combination by reversing your direction (face the other way) with the alternate leg forward. This will provide a nice balance of anatomical emphasis.
  3. If you don't have access to a gym cable setup, you can organize similar equipment functionality with stretch bands and some solid furniture - but make sure the attachment points are solid.
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