Weight Lifting, Weight Training, Bench Press & Bodybuilding
January 28, 2023
"Expander Cable Training"

By Dennis B. Weis the "Yukon Hercules"

Bodybuilders who use heavy weights in their exercise schedules find from time to time that a LAYOFF from the heavy weights is necessary to insure future progress. Most likely, the bodybuilder will use lighter poundages as a substitute from the heavy weights. The problem sometimes arises that the muscles fail to congest from the use of lighter weights even though the body needs a rest from the heavy training.

With this thought in mind, one should consider using the Expanders or Cables in addition to the weights. Unlike barbells, there is very little danger of Over Training with cables. A very brief comment on the physiology of the body will help to explain this statement. With weights (barbells, dumbbells) and other related exercise equipment, your whole body is using a tremendous amount of unnecessary energy just supporting your body weight and the barbell.

Thus, whatever the body part being exercised at the time, that particular muscle will be in a consistent state of violent contraction for the entire set of reps. This causes FATIGUE to set in much faster.

Expanders or Cables are so light weight that unnecessary energy is not being wasted supporting your body weight and the cables. So, only the muscle being exercised is using any energy, so to speak.

cable training Let's take a look for a moment at some of the immediate advantages of cable or expander training. They are very easy to store or transport (great for travel or vacations). The action of expander cables are very quiet so one could use them when weights are not practical. There are three distinct classes of cables or expanders: steel spring, flat rubber, and elastic rubber cord type. The steel spring seems to offer more uniform or consistent strength per spring. The main disadvantage in the spring type is that on any movements that are next to the body, they have a tendency to pinch the skin.

Some very general expectations from cable training are: increased chest expansion, better breathing capacity, and a very beneficial internal massage on the organs and muscles. At this point of the article, we will now concentrate on how the bodybuilder can apply this expander cable training into his schedule of weight training.

Bodybuilders selecting sets, reps, and rest periods in cable training should do this for their particular needs and goals, that they have at the time they are considering expander cable training. For example, if your goal is to achieve greater upper body muscularity, a specialized cable training course of 30 minutes to one hour, 4 days per week is best. These 4 days, you will find yourself using only the cables and the other 2 days using the weights. At this time, I would like to share with you some points which will help your specialized expander cable training to assure the best results in muscularity.

    1. During this 30 minutes to 1 hour program (four days per week), use SPEED with smooth movement in each of your exercises.

    2. Strive for shorter rest periods between each set of exercise. In this way, you will be able to add more and more sets in the allowed 30 to 60 minute program.

    3. One of the most important points or phases in expander cable training is "As you pull the cables throughout the movement, more and more tension is put on the tendons, ligaments, and muscle areas."

    Thus expander, cables have the faculty of stimulating growth faster because of the increased resistance they are STRETCHED through the full range of the movement. In the high range or completed areas of the exercise movement, CONCENTRATE on a deeper, wider stretch.

    4. For added MUSCULARITY, hold the maximum stretched position for a slight second before beginning the next repetition.

If you don't want to SPECIALIZE on expander cable training four days per week as suggested, this is how I would encourage a bodybuilder (competitive) to use cables in a heavy barbell program. Plan your total barbell and expander cable training program at least six months ahead of a contest.

During the first two months of training toward the contest, perform 2 sets of expander cable work after all of your sets per one body part have been worked. An example would be, after you have completed all of your arm work (biceps), finish off with 2 sets of expander cable curls. Use this type of system within whichever muscle group is worked on a particular day of training..

During the third and forth months of training for the contest, perform 3 sets of expander cable work per body part.

And finally, during the fifth and sixth months, perform 4 sets of expander cable work per body part.

As a summary, this is how your training for a six-month period might look.

First Two Months

Deltoids - 2 sets of cable movements after all weights related work has been done for this area.

Biceps - 2 sets of cable movements after all weight related work has been done for this area.

Triceps - 2 sets of cable movements after all weight related work has been done for this area.

Chest - 2 sets of cable movements after all weight related work has been done or this area.

Lats - 2 sets of cable movements after all weight related work has been done for this area.

Traps - 2 sets of cable movements after all weight related work has been done for this area.

Forearms - 2 sets of cable movements after all weight related work has been done for this area.

Third & Fourth months

At this point, you may simply add one additional cable set to each body part for a total of three sets

Fifth & Sixth months

During this final 2 months, you will perform a total of 4 sets per body part of expander cable movements.

standing bicep cable curls Some of the very best movements in expander cable training to apply to the training above or cable training in itself is as follows: Deltoids (Two-hand up right rowing under the chin, Front cable raise, elbows locked); Biceps (one arm curl); Triceps (two-hand tricep stretch. This is done with palms down, elbows locked in front of the body. Concentrate on stretching the cables to the side. Archer's movement); Chest (Chest pulls in front of the body. Arms locked); Lats (One arm cable rowing); Traps (Cable shrugs); Forearms (Reverse curls. Cable wrist curls either palms up or palms down.).

Since most of you readers are aware of proper exercise performance, I will not go into a description of each of the listed movements.

The best repetition schedule to follow when using cables, whether specialization or combined with barbells is 10 to 12 reps, this seems to prove best for development. When the 10 to 12 reps are performed easily and you don't feel or obtain a deep burn or ache in the muscle area being worked, it is time to another progressive strand or band to your cable exercise.

The arrangement of movements in cable training is overwhelming. For instance if you are into a specialized expander cable program, you might consider super setting body parts with your cables as with barbells. In this respect, I suggest that you have two cable sets available to accomplish this principle since all body parts are not strong enough to use the same cable strand. This will save you time in making cable strand strength changes if you have both cable sets prepared before you begin your program.

Another type of expander cable training system that you might want to try on the contest preparation schedule mentioned above is the "21" Movement. This was very popular with the use of weights a few years ago. In this performance you (stretch, curl or pull) depending on the exercise at the time from the beginning or low position to half way point for seven reps - now you pull from the locked out or high position to half way for seven reps - now finish off with seven complete reps. This constitutes one complete set.

Combining barbell and expander cable exercises or specialized cable work results in better muscle shape, definition and muscular power. (Authors note: I have written an e-report titled: The Jettison Technique. This special technique gives out all the details for the combining of barbells and expander cable exercises. I invite you to read about this report by visiting: http://www.criticalbench.com/jettison.htm. Expander cables will also bring out muscle density "ONLY" after you have built them with weights.

As mentioned earlier in this article, the expander cable training puts more and more tension in the tendons, ligaments, and muscle areas. Thus through expander cable work, these areas are strengthened in a different way than from weight training.

With this thought in mind, the powerlifter would be wise to consider including expander cable(s) as a part of their powerlifting schedule because of the TREMENDOUS STRENGTH FACTORS involved from the added tendon and ligament work.

Expander cables are great for the vital pumping up at a physique contest and vitally important conditioning for the powerlifter at this chosen contest.

In concluding my notes on cable training, some of the most immediate advantages of training this way come to mind. Expander cables build tendon and ligament strength - flushes the muscle area - gives added muscle tone and gives sharpness to the muscle which cannot be obtained by weights alone.

Author's Note: The late Chuck Sipes, a great bodybuilding champion of yesteryear used to spend a great deal of time in the wilderness. This was due to the type of work Chuck performed for the California Youth Authority, for many years. As part of his job Chuck would take many of the troubled youths on 30-day treks into the rugged mountains of California as a part of their rehabilitation process.

One might assume that Chuck would most likely return from such 30-day treks into the wilderness in less than stellar physical condition, simple due to the fact that he wasn't able to lift the heavy iron for a month. This was not the case with Chuck and anyone who had the opportunity of seeing Chuck immediately after one of these wilderness hikes would note that he was always in a FANTASTIC STATE OF CONDITION. His muscularity and muscle tone was always at a zenith.

This did not happen by accident…

For your interest, this is the type of exercise program that Sipes follows when out in the wilderness.


Chuck Sipes He would arise early every morning; eat a light breakfast; load an 80 to 100 lb. pack upon his back and begins the day's hike with the youths. Late in the afternoon, the hike was terminated and it is at this time that Chuck began his exercise program. His exercise program consisted of expander cable movements and abs movements and as previously mentioned would take from ½ hour to 45 minutes to complete.

With expander cables:

Traps (cable shrug), Delts (two hand upright rowing), Chest (chest pulls) Biceps (cable curls), Forearms (wrist curls and reverse curls).

Sipes performed two sets of 10 to 12 reps on each movement. Chuck felt that two sets was all that is necessary for fitness cable training as along as MAXIMUM EFFORT IS APPLIED. Next Chuck performs two sets of 25 reps in the lying leg raise and two sets of 50 in the front bend for the abs. Now, the program of the day was finished off with 10 Sets of 10 Reps in the REGULAR push up and one final set of 50 very quick rep pushups. Chuck found that his torso was pumped to the maximum from this very simple but effective program. Chuck trained his legs with a job or run of a few miles in the late evening.

Chuck Sipes comments on cable training.

"The points of suggestion in reference to this EXPANDER CABLE TRAINING article are up to the individual and the type of training he enjoys." Unless the individual is ENJOYING his training program, he will get discouraged and not put forth FULL EFFORT.

Consider making cable training an important part of your training. Stay flexed!

Dennis is also a frequent hard-hitting uncompromising freelance contributing consultant for many of the mainstream bodybuilding and fitness magazines published worldwide. He is also author of these two books mentioned in the article above.

Bodybuilding Legend Chuck SipesChuck Sipes E-Book
Bodybuilding's Original Iron Knight speaks…in this rare hardcore series of unpublished direct training communiqués. "Chuck Sipes Lives Again." Through the 20th Century-21st Century millennial time barrier comes the incredible human strength and bodybuilding fire power wisdom of one of the 20th Century's greatest Bodybuilding legends. He's gone now (August 22, 1932-February 24, 1993)…but lives on here teaching the ideas and ideals of his very important training life existence. Here for the first time are the unpublished IFBB Mr. America - Mr. Universe - Mr. World Chuck Sipes maximum training potential direct communiqués…to Dennis B. Weis.

  Download as a pdf. $25


The Jettison TechniqueThe Jettison Technique: Blowtorch-Intensive Resistance
This comprehensive and definitive E-report contains explicitly calculated, NEW, state-of-the-art training methods to help you add natural muscle. I unveil an innovative dual-resistance training system that can't help but deliver a Super Mega-Pump to your muscles. This routine is short, sweet and to the point. If you're looking for a new routine, give this a shot. Click here for more info.

  Download as a pdf. $15


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