Best Cable Exercises for Arms That are Versatile and Effective

Cable Exercises for Arms: When it comes to training the arms, dumbbells, and barbells have traditionally been the most popular tools for doing so. However, hitting your biceps, triceps, and forearms with cables offers some unique benefits.

Cables allow you to more perfectly mimic muscle fiber direction, work from every imaginable angle and provide an ideal strength curve compared to free weights.

In this article, we reveal the 15 Best Cable Exercises for Arms that will give you a great arm workout with nothing but a cable machine.

15 Best Cable Exercises for Arms


  1. Low Cable Curls (Facing Away)
  2. Cable Curls
  3. Single Arm Cable Curl
  4. High Pulley Cable Curls
  5. Bayesian Curl
  6. Rope Hammer Curl
  7. Reverse Cable Curl
  8. Triceps Pushdown
  9. Overhead Cable Extension
  10. One Arm Cable Pushdown
  11. Lying Straight Bar Curls
  12. Arm Cable Preacher Curl
  13. Incline Cable Curls
  14. Cable Triceps Kickback
  15. Single Arm Cross Body Curl

1. Low Cable Curls (Facing Away)

Muscles Worked

  • Biceps

Equipment

  • Dual pulley cable machine

Training Tips

Do not use momentum to drive the weight up by swinging. Contract the biceps strongly at the top.

How To Do It

  • Set the machine to its lowest pulley setting. 
  • Stand facing away from the machine and hold the cable handle at your sides.
  • From a start position with your arms fully extended, curl the bar up to shoulder level.
  • Lower and repeat

2. Cable Curls

Muscles Worked

  • Biceps

Equipment
Single pulley cable machine, short bar handle

Training Tips
Forcefully contract your biceps in a fully contracted position. Keep your feet flat on the floor throughout the exercise.

How To Do It

  • Set the machine to its lowest pulley setting.
  • Stand facing the machine and hold the bar with an arms shoulder-width grip.
  • From a start position with your arms fully extended, curl the bar up to shoulder height.
  • Lower and repeat

3. Single Arm Cable Curl

Working muscles

  • Biceps

Equipment

Single Pulley Cable Machine

Education Tips

Pause just below full extension to maintain constant biceps tension.

How to

  • Set the machine to the lowest pulley setting.
  • Stand facing the machine and hold the cable handle with your right hand.
  • From a starting position with your arms fully extended, curl the cable handle up to shoulder level.
  • Download and repeat

4. High Pulley Cable Curls

Working muscles

  • Biceps

Equipment

  • Cable Crossover machine

Education Tips

Keep your elbows at shoulder level throughout the entire movement.

How to

  • Raise the pulleys to the highest level on the cable crossing machine and stand between the pulleys with the cables in your hand.
  • In the starting position, your elbows should be at shoulder level. Extend your arms to the sides of your body.
  • Bend your arms to bring your hands to your ears.
  • Download and repeat.

5. Bayesian Curl

Working muscles

  • Biceps

Equipment

  • Single cable reel machine

Education Tips

Firmly contract the biceps in the fully contracted position.

How to

  • Set the machine to the lowest pulley setting.
  • Stand facing away from the machine and hold the bar slightly closer than shoulder-width apart. Stand in a split stance.
  • From a starting position with your arms fully extended, curl the bar higher than you would in a traditional curl until it reaches your ears. As you do this, your elbow will come forward.
  • Download and repeat

6. Rope Hammer Curl

Working muscles

  • Bices, forearms

Equipment

  • Single reel cable machine, rope attachment

Education Tips

Do not swing your back as you twist the rope upwards.

How to

  • Set the machine to the lowest pulley setting.
  • Stand facing the machine and hold the rope handle with your palms facing each other.
  • From a starting position with your arms fully extended, curl the rope up to chest level.
  • Download and repeat

7. Reverse Cable Curl

Working muscles

Forearms

Equipment

Single cable reel machine, liner straight bar attachment

Education Tips

Focus on getting a tight movement from the forearms. Don’t shake it.

How to

  • Set the machine to the lowest pulley setting.
  • Stand facing the machine and hold the bar slightly closer than shoulder-width apart, palm down
  • From a starting position with your arms fully extended, curl the bar up to shoulder level.
  • Download and repeat.

8. Triceps Pushdown

Muscles Worked

  • Triceps

Equipment

  • Single cable pulley machine

How to

Don’t let your elbows stick out.

  • Set the machine to the highest pulley setting.
  • Stand facing the machine with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the bar slightly closer than shoulder-width apart and palms down.
  • From a starting position with your elbows at your sides and your hands at upper chest level. press down to fully straighten your arms.
  • Download and repeat.

9. Overhead Cable Extension

Muscles Worked

  • Triceps

Equipment

  • Single Cable Pulley Machine, Rope attachment

Education Tips

Avoid using momentum to push the weight forward. Do not go too heavy in this exercise.

How to

  • Set the machine to the highest pulley setting.
  • Stand facing away from the machine with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold the rope handle slightly closer than shoulder-width, with your palms above your head.
  • Take a staggered stance with your right leg forward. Now extend your arms at a 30 degree angle to full extension.
  • Download and repeat

10. One Arm Cable Pushdown

Muscles Worked

  • Triceps

Equipment

  • Single cable pulley machine

Education Tips

Keep your elbow at your side throughout the entire movement.

How to

  • Set the machine to the highest pulley setting.
  • Stand facing the machine and hold the handle in your right hand with the palm facing down.
  • From a starting position with your elbow at your side and right hand at upper chest level, press down to fully straighten your arm.
  • Download and repeat.

11. Lying Straight Bar Curls

Muscles Worked

  • Biceps

Equipment

  • Single cable pulley machine, straight bar handle attachment

Education Tips

Perform your reps slowly and deliberately, getting a strong contraction at the beginning of each rep.

How to

  • Set the machine to the lowest pulley setting.
  • Grab the bar and lie facedown on the floor in front of the machine.
  • From a starting position resting on your upper legs with your arms fully extended, curl the bar up to shoulder level.
  • Download and repeat.

12. Arm Cable Preacher Curl

Muscles Worked

  • Biceps

Equipment

  • Single cable pulley machine, straight bar attachment, preacher bench

Training Tips
Be sure to adjust the bench height so that your arms are draped right over the bench to your armpits.

How to

  • Set the machine to the lowest pulley setting. Place a preacher bench in front of it a foot or so facing the machine.
  • Sit in the preacher chair and hold the cable rod attachment. Cross your arms over the seat cushion and fully extend your arms.
  • Curl the arm up to full arm contraction. Download and repeat.

13. Incline Cable Curls

Muscles Worked

  • Biceps

Equipment

  • Single pulley cable machine, straight bar attachment, incline adjustable bench

Training Tips
Set the bench angle to 45 degrees for the best bicep stimulation.

How To Do It

  • Set the machine to its lowest pulley setting. Position an incline bench about a foot in front of the machine, facing it.
  • Sit on the bench and grab the bar handle with a close grip. Lie back and extend your arms to full extension.
  • Curl your arms up to a full contraction.
  • Lower and repeat.

14. Cable Triceps Kickback

Muscles Worked

  • Triceps

Equipment

  • Single cable pulley machine

Training Tips
Use a relatively lightweight. The only movement should be through your forearm.

How To Do It

  • Set the machine to its lowest pulley setting.
  • Stand in front of the machine, facing it and lean down to grab the cable with your right hand. Grab the machine upright with your left hand for support.
  • Start with your elbow at your side and bent at a 90-degree angle, extend your arms back to full extension.
  • Lower and repeat

15. Single Arm Cross Body Curl

Muscles Worked

  • Biceps

Equipment

  • Single-arm pulley machine

Training Tips
Forcefully contract your bicep in the top position.

How To Do It

  • Set the machine to its highest pulley setting.
  • Stand facing from the machine and grab the handle with your right hand in an underhand grip.
  • From a starting position with your right arms fully extended and at your side, curl up and across your body to your opposite shoulder.
  • Lower and repeat

Cable Exercises for Arms: Conclusion


Making cables a mainstay of your arm training program will allow you to apply tension throughout the full range of motion while working the biceps, triceps, and forearms from ideal biomechanical angles. You now have an arsenal of 15 great Cable Exercises for Arms.

Choose two of each workout for a total of eight sets. Alternate your rep range between the highest 30 with light weights and the lowest 6 reps with your max. Do this every 5 days, switch to different exercises in each session and you will be rewarded with stronger arms in no time.

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