Jump Start Your Workout – Include Cable Attachments

Are you considering purchasing a cable machine for your home gym? Does the fitness center you are a member have cable machines? If you are new to cable attachments, consider including them in your fitness routine. Cable attachments are versatile and give you a wide range for upper body movements. Recently, when I was at the gym, someone asked me,  ‘Why use cable attachments?’ My response was, ‘Why not, don’t limit yourself!’ Let’s discuss the basics! Learn what are cable attachments and what are some of the more popular attachments that will find in the gym or consider purchasing for your home?

Why use Cable Attachments? Cable attachments are designed to use with cable-based machines and easily attach with a carabiner clip to the machine. Using cable attachments will significantly increase the number of exercise possibilities with your upper body. Plus, as you get more advanced, there are lower body exercises that you can do with cable attachments, but I will save that for another blog. Cable attachments allow you to a exercise with greater range of motion because of the freedom of exercising in a variety of different angles. Unlike machines, you are not confined to exercising within a defined range of motion.

What are some of the popular Cable Attachments? Let's discuss (5) commonly used cable attachments that will jump start your workout: Low Row, Strap Grip, Stirrup Grip, Straight Bar and Lat Pulldown.

 

Low Row

[caption id="attachment_2858" align="alignnone" width="300"]Low Row Cable Attachment known as Double D Cable Attachment Black Iron Strength® Low Row Cable Attachment with Antimicrobial Handles[/caption]

The Low Row Cable Attachment is sometimes referred to as the Double D or the 3-D V-Shaped Handle. It is often used as a standing or seated row, which is a pulling movement. This compound movement works the lats and biceps. Click to see full product description.

Strap Grip

[caption id="attachment_2864" align="alignnone" width="300"]Strap Grip gives you a variety of upper body movements. Black Iron Strength® Strap Grips with Antimicrobial Copper Handles[/caption]

The Strap Grip gives the user tremendous options in an upper body workout because of the flexibility of the strap. Some of the exercises with the Strap Grip are bicep curls, press downs, chest presses, seated rows, and pull downs. The flexibility of the strap allows you to work a variety of upper body muscles including the biceps, triceps, lats, deltoids, and pecs. When working out with a strap grip, it is a one-handed motion. Therefore, you are working out each side of the body independently, which avoids one side compensating for the other that could create a strength imbalance. Click to see full product description.

Stirrup Grip

[caption id="attachment_2860" align="alignnone" width="197"]Jump start your workout with cable attachments from Black Iron Strength. Black Iron Strength® Low Row Cable Attachment with Antimicrobial Copper Handles[/caption]

The Stirrup Grip is sometimes referred to as the cable version of a dumbbell. Like the dumbbell, the stirrup grip on a cable unit allows for a variety of pressing and pulling movements. For example, the bicep curl would be a pulling motion and the tricep press down would be a pressing or pushing motion. Like the Strap Grip, working out on with stirrup grip is a one-handed movement. Therefore, you are working each side of the body independently.  Click to see full product description.

Straight Bar 

[caption id="attachment_2832" align="alignnone" width="300"]Black Iron Strength® Straight Bar is available in three lengths. Black Iron Strength® Straight Bar Cable Attachments (Available in 14 inches, 20 inches & 26 inches)[/caption]

The Straight Bar is very versatile because it allows for multiple pulling and pushing upper body movements. Some of these exercises include bicep curl, pull downs, high rows, upright rows and shrugs. With the versatility of this attachment, you can activate the major muscle groups of the upper body. Most straight bars are 20 inches long. However, some brands are available in 14 inches and 26 inches long. This is important because we are not all the same size! You should consider choosing a straight bar based on your shoulder width. If you have a wider stance, consider the 26-inch bar. However, if you have a narrower stance, the 14-inch bar would be a better choice. Click to see full product description.

Lat Pulldown

[caption id="attachment_2856" align="alignnone" width="300"]The Lat Pulldown allows you to perform lat pulldowns giving you a wider grip option. Black Iron Strength® Lat Pulldown with Antimicrobial Copper Handles[/caption]

The Lat Pulldown is a long bar that runs straight and curves at each end, which allows the user to naturally grip the bend in the bar. When attached to the cable machines, you use the bar to perform lat pulldowns to the chest or behind the neck, to exercise your lats. However, do not limit yourself to lat pulldowns! This bar has multiple purposes, especially when performing exercises with a wider grip. This includes exercises such as wide-grip upright rows, wide-grip cable shrugs, wide-grip seated rows and wide-grip tricep press downs. Click to see full product description.

By discussing the basics, hopefully, this article has taken some of the mystery out of using cable attachments and given you the groundwork to use cable attachments the next time you are in the gym. As a fitness educator and former owner of a personal training facility, I have always encouraged the use of cable attachments. Attach those cable attachments and ‘Jump Start Your Workout!’ My next blog, I will focus on the five factors to consider when purchasing cable attachments.

Kettlebells: Old-School Power, New-Age Technique = World Class Strength

A Brief History

“The reemergence of the kettlebell as a training tool of prominence in recent times has spawned a great deal of buzz about this supremely time-honored strength/conditioning medium”. J. Dellinger continues on to share that, despite a lack of documented info on kettlebells, there is traceable data to show that this type of strength training instrument has been used throughout the world, including Russia, Ireland, China, India, and Egypt. It’s no wonder that countries are competing for the original acknowledgement of this amazing, yet pragmatic “ring-weight”.

The Textbook of Weightlifting, published in 1910 contains four exercises, which used the kettlebell. Then, in 1924, the Milo Barbell Company incorporated six kettlebell exercises in their course series Body-building and Muscle-developing Exercises. The reason for the implementation of the kettlebell is obvious from two perspectives. First, it made lifting a heavy weight both convenient and practical. Second, the aesthetic shape made them ideal for strongman acts.

Arthur Saxon, nicknamed "The Iron-Master", was a German strongman and circus performer from the late 19th century into the early 20th century. Mr. Saxon had the following points of interest to say:  “The lifting of three, or even two, 56 lb. ring weights is far more impressive to the ordinary man than a much heavier bar-bell.”

We can all agree that kettlebell training methods and philosophy have evolved since the late 1800’s, Brian D. Johnston and Tommy Boyer-Kendrick continue on in Current Kettlebell Methodology. They state that in the past, the number of explosive and ballistic kettlebell movements were often more of a demonstration of ability rather than an applied and regular exercise technique. We know more about the human body, what our individual muscle groups are capable of and how to utilize kettlebell training to our advantage to increase muscle and performance.

Arthur Saxon, the only man to single press 370 pounds overhead with one arm, had this to say on the subject in The Text Book of Weight-lifting:

“In order to secure (the result of all-around development), the exercising must be thorough, and it must be all-around. Each part of the body must be dealt with seriatim.”

“Just think carefully over the various lifts, and you will see that every lift develops particularly certain muscular groups upon which a very considerable strain is put in other lifts, which do not, however, test these same groups so severely. It stands to reason, therefore that the regular practice of all-around lifting must (out) of necessity, be excellent practice, not only for all-round lifting, but also for special and particularized lifting.”

Dynamic Duo: The Maker and The Instructor

There are two key players in the kettlebell industry: the maker, Tom Grace, President of Black Iron Strength®, and the instructor, Michael Skogg, world-renowned kettlebell coach, educator and author.

Michael Skogg has this to say about kettlebell technology today:

“It’s for everyone. Whether you’re a 20-something guy in peak condition, or a 72 year-old grandma, we can work out a routine for you and it will make you stronger.” “A simple concept: Everyone can be strong with the (SKOGG) Kettlebell Method.” 

That statement is a huge jump from the iron men of the 1800’s to being a recommended weight lifting apparatus for a “72 year old grandma.” Here is the thing, when used correctly, at the appropriate weight, kettlebell training is ideal for all lifters. In The Future of Kettlebell Training, Brian D. Johnston and Andrew Short share the following:

Certainly the “olde tyme” strongmen exercise and methods will never go out of vogue; and neither will Olympic style lifting. Those lifts have become “traditional” and likely will always remain part of our exercise heritage. However, as we become more creative and have better tools with which to exercise, such as Modern American kettlebells by Black Iron Strength®. These new and innovative methods are easier to develop and employ, which meets the needs of our progressive society to bring this optimum weight training application to all as Michael Skogg referred to above. To learn more about the Skogg Kettlebell Method or to purchase the Skogg Training System, click here: Skogg

Let’s talk about the modern maker, Tom Grace.

Tom Grace, President of Black Iron Strength®, and developer of the Modern American Kettlebell, is no stranger to strength training in athletics and in military training.

Tom served as the Director of Instruction for the Department of Physical Education at the US Military Academy supervising 42 instructors, 57 programs and instruction for 4,400 cadets. Also, Tom was also the Women’s basketball strength and conditioning coach at West Point. Tom served as an Officer in the US Army, retiring at the rank of Major, from 1978-1992. After completing his Master of Science in Exercise and Sports Science from Penn State University, he returned to his Alma Mater to become an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Education.

With education and experience under his belt, Tom applied his knowledge to develop the top of the line, American made weight training systems. In fact, Black Iron Strength® has been awarded 15 US Patents and 6 Registered Trade Marks.

To check out Black Iron Strength Kettlebells and to purchase direct, click here:

Black Iron Strength® Kettlebells