Abs and Core Exercises

How to Master the Side Plank Cable Row

Add rows to your side plank to build a crazy-strong core.

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Side Plank Cable Row
Per Bernal / M+F Magazine

When working abs, most guys crunch away to target their rectus abdominis (the blocky, aes­thetic portion of your midsec­tion). Those same guys also end up with a weak core, which is a problem when you consider that it’s activated during main lifts like the back squat and deadlift. One way to fix this is to work on your rotational strength—that is, your ability to resist core rota­tion. The stronger your ability to resist, the more stable you’ll be during major compound movements, making you better at them. The side­plank cable row, which has you row weight while in a side­plank position—forcing your core stabilizers to fire like crazy— should become a staple in your routine. Oh, and you’ll build a set of well­-defined obliques, too.

How to do the Side-Plank Cable Row

1. Set a cable machine to the lowest setting with a D-handle attached and assume a side-plank position—propped up on your elbow, legs straight, core tight, feet stacked.

2. Facing the cable, reach for the cable with your top hand, making sure it fully extends before pulling.

3. Drive through your forearm and the edges of your feet to keep your hips off the floor.

4. Row the weight to your side, leading with your elbow. Do not let your hips rotate.

Form Tip: To help stabilize, press your bottom forearm and hand, palm down, into the floor, effectively creating tension in your shoulder and lat.

Trainer tip: You can also wrap a thin superband around a pole or a power rack for a lighter pull.

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