The Elite Physique

7 Cable Exercises to Break Training Plateaus

Simple Cable Exercises Can Break Training Plateaus and Boost Your Workout 10-Fold

woman working out to break training plateaus

Cable exercises to break training plateaus aren’t easy.  I’m sure you know the frustration of workouts that don’t seem to produce results any more. Most people try to break training plateaus by doing more exercises, more sets, and even more reps, and still nothing. Don’t stress because I have 7 cable exercises that are guaranteed to break training plateaus and put you back on the road to fat loss and muscle gain as quickly as possible.

If you are ready to take your training to a new level and have some of that sweet delay onset muscle soreness (DOMS), then you just have to check out these cool plateau busting exercises and include them in your next workout. Then, shoot me an e-mail and let me know what you thought about them and how your training went.


Cable flys are a great exercise and you can use them with a lot of variety to target various regions of the chest. However cable crossovers are a typical chest cable exercise. Therefore, I am going to mix this up a little bit to break training plateaus and get things back in motion.

So let’s go with cable incline bench press. Try adding this exercise at the start of your next chest workout. You’re sure to feel the difference with some different type of resistance targeting the upper chest muscle. Oh, if you want to up-the-ante on this, after you do a set of about 10 reps on the CB incline press, finish off with some incline CB chest flys, as many as possible. Repeat that training format 2-3 times and move on to the next chest exercise.


For your delts, let’s go for the cable shoulder press. This will be an awesome exercise to break new ground for more shoulder development. You want those nice round shoulder caps that catch the judge’s eye, right? Well, give this exercise a shot. Just grab a bench with a back support so you can put your focus into the reps and not so much on trying to balance yourself.

After you center the bench between the cables and set the poundage, take a hold of a hand grip in each hand. Now, using your shoulder muscles, push the handles up over your head, doing a shoulder press movement. As an added bonus, lower the poundage slowly, getting the negative. This negative action combined with the cable change up will bring a new slate to your level of training. You will certainly wake up with sore shoulders, which is a rare thing.

woman doing cable shoulder press

The v-bar pushdown is a great triceps exercise. It targets the triceps muscle fully and even zones in on the well-known horseshoe that so many lifters and competitors want. Even so, I want to focus on bentover triceps extensions for a change in your training. This exercise is typically preformed kneeling on the floor, but if you are not as “hardcore” you can sit on a bench to execute it.

Use a straight bar for this and make sure it is position over your head. Grab the bar from behind and move down to a lowered position. Keeping your elbows close to your head and stationary, extend the bar forward, flexing your triceps at the contraction.

This is a great exercise to build the belly of the triceps muscle. You can add a twist to this exercise and really break some new ground by using the rope attachment. As you pull and extend the rope, pull it outward as much as possible, making the triceps work even HARDER. Be prepared to be sore the next day.


Everyone loves pulldowns and it is probably one of the most popular back exercises, and with good reason. It’s well-known for helping to bring out the famous v-taper so many figure competitor s want. The v-taper is what gives lifters and competitors that really fit and strong look. Just having a nice and wide back tells the world that you are in shape.

Now, we can take the pulldown exercise a step further and enhance your lat training. You can still do the pulldown on back day, but afterwards do this exercise as a finisher, the straight-arm pulldown.

Use any straight bar on a high cable pulley apparatus.   Make sure the bar is set overhead so you have to reach up and grab it. Standing in a natural position, grab the straight bar overhead with an over-handed grip. Allow your lats to stretch. While keeping your arms straight pull the bar all the way down until your lats are fully contracted, then release and get the stretch again and repeat the movement.

This exercise can give you some added lat width, completing your overall package that you present to the judges. Oh, and be prepared to be sore the next day after doing this lat finisher.


Most women tend to have underdeveloped hamstrings. Stiff-legged dead lifts are a great ham builder, but you might also want to include a variety of leg curls.

Now, if you are tired of the same ole’ basic leg curls, you might give this a try… Cable leg curls. Yeah, similar, but a bit different.   First you are going to need an ankle strap that you can clip on to the cable apparatus.

Strap-up one ankle and latch it to the bottom position of the cable apparatus. Select a challenging poundage and stand a few inches from the cable machine, facing it. Lift your knee up in front of you a few inches from the floor. In this awkward position, but use your hamstring muscle and do a leg curl.

This exercise really gets a good cable effect if you can do a 1-2-3 temp rep (1 second to get to full contraction, hold the contraction for 2 seconds, 3 seconds to return to starting position). Shoot for 3-4 sets of 15 reps on each leg, and then crawl out of the gym.


Nothing beats a great pail of legs, right? If you want some stellar legs, and I mean jaw-dropping quads, I’m going to share with you a little training trick you can do with the basic leg extensions.   Now, you will need a training partner to help you with this one. If you don’t have a training partner or coach, then just grab anyone in the gym to assist you with this since it’s partner assisted manual resistance training.

The leg extension is based on cables and pulleys, so it’s perfectly cool for me to use it in this cable article. *smile*

Okay, on the leg extension machine, select a poundage in which you can complete 15 reps to failure, making the 15th rep the failure rep. Oh, that’s not it sister… I’m not finished with you yet. NOW… Once you get to the 15th rep lower the poundage a few plates and rep out. As you rep out have that training partner of yours play the resistance confusion game. What he or she is going to do is with each rep he or she is going to either push on the extension apparatus adding some resistance or pull it away from you slightly, making your leg muscles search for the resistance when fully contracted.

Who would have ever thought leg extensions could be so challenging!?


If you want to add even more size to your arms, be sure to do your biceps training. However, I may not have to tell you this because the biceps is one of the most popular body parts and people LOVE to curl. But, you don’t want to just curl, you want your curls to produce results, as in bigger biceps. Right? Right.

No problem. I’m going to share with you a cool biceps exercise you can incorporate to power-up your guns, get them bigger and have then burn during your training, along with some sweet DOMS. Ready? We are doing to do some high-pulley cable curls.

Biceps Exercise – Oldie But Goodie

Now, you don’t see this exercise too much. Back in the day we used them as a part of our muscle growth training, and it proved to be a powerful punch in amping-up a biceps workout.

You will need to use both sides of the cable machine for this exercise. Adjust each cable level to just about shoulder width. Make sure each side has a hand grip. Grab a hand grip in each hand and stand in the center of the cable apparatus.

Now, bring your hands up so your upper arm (from shoulder to below) is parallel with the floor. From this position, bring your hands towards your ears, all the while keeping your elbows in line with your shoulders. It’s easy for your shoulders to sway forward, so as you curl, pay attention and keep your elbows pulled back some.

Release and allow your hands to line up with your elbows and repeat. Don’t allow your hands to go beyond your elbows. The technique for this exercise can be tricky, so start off light and get the form down, and then add poundage as necessary. This is a great exercise to really pump-up and build your biceps size and strength.

Last Thing on Break Training Plateaus…red arrow pointing down

Now have 7 exercises to break training plateaus at your disposal.  I highly recommend you take these training tips and implement them in your next figure workout so you can shock your body instantly to see and feel changes quickly.  Remember, ain’t nuttin’ gonna work unless you do, so get at it!

Now, join over 73,000  others who are changing their physiques and even competing.  Get my FREE Contest Prep Crash Course and start changing your body this week.  See below for instant access…


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My name is Karen Sessions and I am a life-time natural female bodybuilder, multi-certified fitness instructor, author, specialist in performance nutrition, and a success coach. I've been in the fitness industry since 1988! I teach people Just Like You how to transform their bodies, get in shape, build muscle, lose fat and compete in Bodybuilding, Physique, and Figure Competitions. When you have the CORRECT information you can have total confidence and turn your dreams into reality... and I can help transform YOUR body. I have helped THOUSANDS of clients reach their goals and I can help you, too. Be sure to grab my free gift above so you can start moving toward your goal.

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