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6 Cable Machine Workouts for the Hotel Gym

6 Cable Machine Workouts for the Hotel Gym

Even the saddest hotel gym will probably have a cable machine - here’s how to use it for a great pump.

The hotel gym is often disappointing. We all know it. But that doesn’t mean you should skip your workout when you’re traveling.

Cable machines are great for isolating muscles, especially when your goal is hypertrophy (muscle growth). And the good thing is that you can count on the hotel gym having one, even in the most underwhelming hotel gyms.

Side note: not all hotel gyms are bad (looking at you 1 Hotel South Beach).

Are cable machines any good?

If you’re a CrossFit or functional fitness enthusiast, you may never even consider the cable machine for a good workout. But don’t be so quick to walk past it.

While it’s true that the cable machine should not make up the bulk of your training, it has it’s place as a certified muscle builder. The reality is that the best fitness is all-inclusive, meaning that you’re incorporating variety.

So make sure you’re hitting the free weights, dialing in your bodyweight movements, doing some cardio, and using the cable machine from time to time.

Shocking your body by doing something that you don’t normally include in your training is a proven way to break through training plateaus and grow stronger.


Cable machines are easy to use and setup. They will give you good technique and form, which is great for beginners. If you’re more experienced, the cable machine allows you to isolate muscles for an intense pump.

They’re also great for the hotel gym environment. Think about it. If you’re on vacation, you probably don’t want to spend a ton of time in the gym. Get in, get a quick pump with some cable machine exercises, and be on your way to the beach.

So the next time you walk into a hotel gym and feel a wave a disappointment, resist the urge to turn around and walk out. Find the cable machine and get to work with one of these six workouts.

Workout #1 (Upper Body)

  1. Standing Single-Arm Row (3 Sets of 10-15 Reps)

  2. Triceps Rope Pushdown (3 Sets of 10-15 Reps)

  3. Biceps Curl (3 Sets of 10-15 Reps)

  4. Lateral Raise (3 Sets of 10-15 Reps)

  5. Cable Crunch (3 Sets of 10-15 Reps)

Workout #2 (Full Body)

Do 10 to 15 reps for each move and complete three to four sets of each exercise. Rest for thirty seconds between exercises and one minute between sets. The workout should take between ten and fifteen minutes to complete.

  1. Split Squat

  2. Pull Through

  3. Seated Row

  4. Single-Arm Chest Press

  5. Standing Cable Crunch

Suns Out, Guns Out Workout #3 (Arms)

This workout is super-setted. Do a set of the A. exercise and then a set of the B. exercise. Repeat that two more times. Then move on to the next superset.

1A. Triceps Pushdown (3 Sets of 8-10 Reps)

1B. Cable Curl (3 Sets of 8-10 Reps)

2A. Overhead Extension (3 Sets of 10-12 Reps)

2B. Rope Hammer Curl (3 Sets of 10-12 Reps)

3A. Single-Arm Cable Kickback (3 Sets of 12-15 Reps)

3B. Single-Arm Cable Curl (3 Sets of 12-15 Reps)

Workout #4 (Advanced)

  1. Pallof Press (4 Sets of 10-15 Reps on Each Side)

  2. Face Pull (4 Sets of 10-15 Reps)

  3. Standing Cable Squat Row (4 Sets of 10-12 Reps)

  4. Alternating Step-Ups (4 Sets of 10-12 Reps)

  5. Plank with Single-Arm Row (4 Sets of 10-20 Reps)

Workout #5 (Abs)

  1. Pallof Press With Rotation - 1 Set to Failure

  2. Standing Cable Wood Chop - 1 Set to Failure

  3. Kneeling Cable Crunch With Alternating Oblique Twists - 1 Set to Failure

  4. Cable Reverse Crunch - 1 Set to Failure

Workout #6 (Lower Body/Legs)

  1. Reverse Lunge (3 Sets of 10 Each Side)

  2. Glute Kickback (3 Sets of 10-12)

  3. Deadlift (3 Sets of 8-10)

  4. Side Lunges (3 Sets of 10 Each Side)

  5. Pull Through (3 Sets of 12)

  6. Cable Abductors (3 Sets of 10 Each Side)

Bottom Line

It’s easy to overlook the cable machine but you can count on most hotel gyms having one and it can be a useful tool in both muscle growth and fat loss. Try these workouts when you’re on the road and are looking to switch things up in a less-than-stellar hotel gym.

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Cover photo from Shutterstock.

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