How The Rope Crunch Works For Core Isolation

standing cable crunch and Pallof press

This core isolation exercise will seriously enhance that six-pack.

When it comes to core work, there are an abundance of ab exercises we can use to enhance our six-pack. We all want one. But how willing are we to put in the work? With so many exercises out there, it shouldn’t be that hard to get one, right? It takes more than a want and a wish to see that shredded aesthetic and the rope crunch is one core isolation exercise you need to put into your routine. Able to put an increased load on your core, this will work those abs beyond belief and really help with all your goals.

While we all want to look lean and shredded, the value our core has to those big lifts, and any functional work in general, is too great to ignore. Our core is our foundation, able to support us as we squat, deadlift, bench press, or perform any number of exercises. And it should be said that the added stability allows us to perform other daily activities which can be great for all our goals. The added bonus is that physique we all want to see which is icing on top.

Let’s take a look at the rope crunch and see what it can do for us. From what it is, to muscles worked, and the great benefits associated with it, this exercise needs to be in your routine. We will also show you how to do it and some solid tips to properly perform it. Alright, enough is enough, let’s jump into this awesome exercise.

What Is The Rope Crunch?

The rope crunch, also referred to as the cable crunch, kneeling cable crunch, or cable rope crunch, is a great strength training exercise designed to build your core and provide for stability in the low back and hips, both vital parts of your body to consider when lifting big (1). This exercise uses a cable machine and lets you add weight to keep constant tension on your abs as you work the movement to maximize range of motion. It can work those deeper core muscles which some other ab exercises may not be able to reach. A great exercise for all levels, the rope crunch is one to definitely consider adding to your routine.

Muscle Worked

This exercise works your core and is a solid isolation exercise to really boost all areas of your abs. As mentioned before, it can target deeper muscles which is an added benefit to support, stability, and balance to all lifts and workouts.

strong man

Benefits Of This Exercise

The benefits of this core isolation exercise are great for they allow you to focus on that muscle we all want to see pop. Benefits include:

Increased Core Strength: Isolation exercises are great for they allow us to focus on one muscle group. As a result, strength is greatly affected and you will see real results as you add on weight.

Increased Load: The rope crunch allows you to add weight which is an added bonus compared to other bodyweight ab exercises. The added load allows us to work deeper muscles which is another nice added bonus.

Support & Stability: Both support and stability are vital for seeing a difference in those big lifts and will work to allow us to lift more, feel more grounded, and avoid unwanted pain and injury (2).

Great Range Of Motion: This exercise allows for greater range of motion as compared to a traditional crunch, working the muscles more and for longer to see greater strength gains.

Shredded Aesthetic: What we all want. By working deeper muscles and adding real tension on the abs, these muscles will pop for that desired physique to unfold. And one others will be envious of at that.

How To Perform It

Here are the steps for performing the rope crunch:

  • Set the cable to the highest level, or one that is most comfortable to you. You can use the rope attachment or something like the bar if the rope is not an option.
  • Grab the rope and kneel down, putting your wrists next to your head. Your hips will be back and engaged, as well as your core.
  • Perform a crunch, bending at the hips and keeping the rope behind your head, just about at the base of your neck.
  • As you raise back to the starting position, keep control and follow the same path as you did on the way down. Repeat for your desired number of reps.

strong man

Some Tips To Think About

This exercise is awesome for building that core strength but knowing how to properly perform it is vital to avoid pain and injury, while also getting the most out of it. For reps, somewhere in the higher range of 8 to 12 is where you want to be. This will allow you to increase weight but also do so safely.

It is also important to keep your core engaged the whole time while following the same path on the way back to the starting position as you did going down. You want to protect your back as much as possible while also working on strengthening the muscles around it to have more support.

Wrap Up

We all want our abs to pop. That shredded aesthetic we seek may seem farther away than we actually think but its important to realize it is attainable. With a solid workout routine, dietary regimen, and supplementation plan, we are well on our way to getting exactly what we want.

The rope crunch is a fantastic exercise to help us get there as it will work to isolate the core and work deeper muscles than some of the bodyweight ab exercises we are accustomed to. Performing this properly will only ensure we are taking care of our bodies while maximizing the effects and it isn’t one to take lightly. Set the cable machine to where you are comfortable and give this exercise a try. You won’t be disappointed by the results.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Contreras, Bret; Schoenfeld, Brad (2011). “To Crunch or Not to Crunch: An Evidence-Based Examination of Spinal Flexion Exercises, Their Potential Risks, and Their Applicability to Program Design”. (source)
  2. Hibbs, Angela E.; Thompson, Kevin G.; French, Duncan; Wrigley, Allan; Spears, Iain (2008). “Optimizing performance by improving core stability and core strength”. (source)
Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.