Trying to find the ultimate training routine to support your bodybuilding goals? We may have the ideal 5-day cable machine workout plan that could help you.
For most fitness enthusiasts, cable exercises are just a part of their regular routines. But following a cable-only routine can be far more beneficial than you could have imagined.
According to research, cable machines offer better starting and ending joint angles in strength training while also providing the optimal range of motion (ROM) compared to selectorized weight equipment .
Relying on cable workouts is also safer. Since the path and range of motion are fixed, the possibility of picking up a training injury is far less likely. As machine-based workouts are as effective as free weights in strength and muscle mass gains, you would not be compromising on your goals either .
Based on these scientific conclusions, we have come up with the perfect cable machine workout schedule to help you in your fitness journey.
Our plan demands five training sessions per week with two days for rest and recovery. Since we follow the bro split workout routine, your muscles will never be subjected to overtraining, either.
Without further ado, let’s move straight on to our 5-day cable workout plan:
5 Day Cable Machine Workout Routine
Many past studies have concluded that each muscle group should be trained at least twice weekly for optimal strength and mass gains .
But if that were the case, bro splits could not exist. Fortunately, there is a workaround.
Regarding resistance training, frequency is not the sole impact-creator for muscle hypertrophy. By equating the volume and intensity of the training sessions, one can reduce the frequency and still get equitable results .
Based on this hypothesis, you can take full advantage of bro splits without limiting the amount of muscle and strength you can put on while training. All you need is a well-structured and strategic workout plan.
For that reason, we have come up with the ultimate cable pulley workout program to maximize your gains and help you achieve the body that you’re aiming to build.
We have already mentioned the number of sets you need to perform, along with the potential repetition ranges. Studies recommend that you perform 8-12 repetitions with medium load in each set for maximal hypertrophy gains, or around 14-15 repetitions to improve your endurance as well .
Let’s guide you through our comprehensive cable machine 5-day workout routine:
Day 1: Chest
We will start our ultimate cable workout plan with the coveted chest session. We have included all the exercises needed to promote well-rounded development in your chest region.
For example, the standing cable chest press is perfect for activating the pectoralis major, with the anterior delts and triceps acting as accessory muscle groups.
The inclined variation of the same exercise is present to put some focus on the upper portion of the pecs.
The high-to-low cable chest press targets the same muscle group from a different angle. As such, the lower portion of the pecs is activated, which largely gets ignored in the other two exercises mentioned above.
The cable crossover is a very effective isolation exercise that mainly engages the outer portion of the pectoralis major. When performing this exercise, make sure that you emphasize and feel the contraction for optimal results.
Finally, we end the day with incline cable flyes – quite similar to crossovers but with a different angle for reference. This is also an isolation exercise that primarily targets the upper part of the pecs.
- Standing cable chest press: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Incline cable chest press on the bench: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- High to low cable chest press: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Cable crossover: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- incline cable flyes: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
Day 2: Back
Performing cable machine exercises to build your back muscles requires a bit of creativity. We start off the session with some basic wide-grip lat pulldowns. This exercise will target the latissimus dorsi (lets), with the posterior delts, biceps, and rhomboids acting as accessories.
The V-Bar pulldowns are quite similar. But instead of using a flat bar, this exercise involves the use of a V-shaped bar to offer a different grip. Apart from targeting the lats, you will also engage your trapezius muscles.
Seated cable rows form the next exercise. They primarily target the middle and lower trapezius and the lats, with the rear deltoids and rhomboids doing most of the accessory work.
Straight-arm cable lat pulldown is an effective isolation exercise for targeting the lats. It also activates the teres major, the muscle in the upper limb that ultimately attaches to the scapula.
Finally, we have the half-kneeling single-arm cable rows. This is a complicated movement that is meant to target the lats and supporting muscles. The variation in the setup allows fitness enthusiasts to focus on hypertrophy while also working on their balance and coordination.
- Wide-grip lat pulldowns: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- V-Bar lat pulldown: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Seated cable rows: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Straight arm cable lat pulldown: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Half kneeling single arm cable row: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
Day 3: Shoulder
For many people, having broad and toned shoulders is the dream. But achieving that is not simple. Apart from hard work and good nutritional habits, it also requires a well-structured workout routine that focuses on the holistic development of the shoulder muscles.
And that is exactly what we have devised.
For example, the front cable raises focus on the anterior deltoids (front part of the shoulder) while the leaning cable lateral raises focus on the lateral head of the deltoids (side part of the shoulder).
Next up, we have the bent-over cable rear delt flies, which activate the posterior deltoids (rear shoulders) along with the rhomboids and the trapezius muscles.
Cable rope face pull is a great compound exercise for targeting multiple muscle groups at once – the posterior delts, upper traps, rhomboids, and even the external rotator muscles. Cable upright rows, on the other hand, target only the lateral delts, the traps, and the biceps.
Finally, we end the session with some simple cable shrugs. This is an isolation exercise that is mainly used for building the upper traps.
- Front cable raise: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Leaning cable lateral raises: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Bent over cable rear delt flies: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Cable rope face pulls: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Cable upright row: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Cable shrugs: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
Day 4: Arms
The fourth day of our routine is a special one for all fitness enthusiasts. It involves building the arm muscles.
For this, we have divided the entire routine into exercises meant to activate the triceps and the biceps.
For the triceps, we start with some cable tricep pushdowns, which are excellent for activating the lateral and medial heads of the triceps brachii. From there, we move on to cable overhead tricep extensions, which are more focused on building the long head of the muscle group.
Single-arm cable tricep extensions, again, work on the lateral and medial heads of the triceps brachii. All of these exercises also activate the anconeus, which is a small muscle located in the elbow joint.
From here, we move on to bicep exercises. We start with some basic cable rope curls and then move on to behind-the-back one-arm cable curls for some variation in the movement and intensity.
The high cable bicep curl is a very effective isolation exercise for targeting the biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis. Similarly, the reverse cable curl targets the forearms and the same muscles while using different movements.
All of these exercises target both the short and long heads of the biceps brachii, ensuring well-rounded development.
- Cable triceps pushdown: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Cable overhead tricep extension: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Single-arm cable tricep extension: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Cable rope curls: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Behind-the-back one-arm cable curl: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- High cable biceps curl: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Reverse cable curl: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
Day 5: Legs
The leg is a combination of many different muscle groups. For optimal strength gains, it’s important that all the muscles are given equal attention and activation.
We start with some basic cable squats, targeting the quadriceps, gluteus maximus, hamstrings, calves, and lower back to some degree.
From there, we move on to cable pull-throughs. They are an effective exercise that mainly targets the muscles present in the posterior chain – primarily the hamstrings, glutes, low-back, as well as core.
Cable glute kickbacks, as the name suggests, are primarily meant to target the gluteus maximus and the hamstrings.
After this, we move on to a couple of knee-joint exercises, starting with cable leg extensions. This movement targets the quadriceps – more particularly, the rectus femoris. From there, we move on to lying cable hamstring curls to work on the hamstring muscles (biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus).
Finally, we dedicate some time to the calf muscles by performing standing cable calf raises. It also activates the soleus, the powerful muscle located in the back of the lower leg, to some degree.
- Cable squat: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Cable pull-through: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Cable glute kickback: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Cable leg extension: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Lying cable hamstring curl: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
- Standing cable calf raises: 3 sets of 10-15 reps
Day 6 & 7: Rest
Many studies have been conducted to test the optimal rest and recovery time for athletes engaged in strength training. The results vary and are subject to many external considerations.
However, ideally, you should aim to let your muscle groups recover for at least 3-4 days (72-96 hours) before you start training them again . This ensures that you are not putting yourself at risk of potential training injuries.
It also allows your muscles to recover enough to perform to their maximum potential, allowing you to replicate or even surpass the performance in the previous training session.
With a bro split, you are providing maximum rest and recovery time to your muscles. You can take advantage of this fact by increasing the intensity of the training to meet your fitness goals quickly.
5-Day Cable Machine Workout Program PDF
Our 5-day workout plan can help you achieve your fitness goals efficiently. The plan is structured based on scientific conclusions and evidence.
To download the entire workout plan, click on the button below.
The file is available in PDF format and can easily be downloaded and printed.
Cable-based workouts can be pretty effective. They are as efficient as any other machines or equipment and much safer because of the fixed path and range of motion.
By building a well-structured training program around cable exercises, you can effectively improve your strength and muscle mass gains.
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