Rope Crunch Exercise Guide

Rope crunch, also known as kneeling cable crunch, is an excellent exercise for isolating and strengthening the core muscle group. It is perfect for people who want to build their “six-pack” muscles as it primarily targets the rectis abdominus. In addition to working the core and abs, rope crunches are also a great way to improve one’s overall balance and stability. 

How To Do Rope Crunch

Setting Up

Use a rope attachment on a cable pulley machine and kneel about 3 feet in front of it so that you have enough space to bend forward.

After setting an appropriate weight, hold on to the rope with both your hands reaching overhead and keep your torso upright. This is the starting position.


To perform the exercise, lower your elbows to your mid-thighs as you pull the cable down. Make sure that your abs are contracted while doing so. Pause for 1-2 seconds at the bottom of the motion, then slowly return to starting position.

Repeat for desired reps. 


  • Start with a light or appropriate weight until you get the hang of the exercise. You can increase your weight as you get stronger.
  • Maintain good posture throughout the entire exercise. This will help prevent any lower back pain or injuries.
  • Be sure not to overdo it – Take breaks regularly between sets; this will allow your body to properly recover.
  • Avoid bending at the hips. Instead, make sure that you move your torso using your abdominal muscles for more strength and muscle gains.


  • Increases core strength and definition
  • Provides a greater range of motion than traditional crunches
  • Improves overall balance and stability
  • Easy to track and increase over time

Illustrated Guide

How To Do Rope Crunches

Muscles Worked

Primary Muscles

  • Upper abdominals

Secondary Muscles

  • Lower Abdominals
  • Obliques

Rope Crunch Variations

Oblique Rope Crunch

Oblique Rope Crunches are a great way to work and involve the love handle area which can be hard to lose. Using a twisting motion, move your left elbow to the right until it touches your right knee. Do the same on the opposite side.

Reverse Rope Crunch

This is performed the same way as the regular rope crunch except that you face away from the cable machine instead of facing towards it.

Hold the rope over your shoulder on either side of your neck. This allows you to feel more resistance as the force is applied at a different angle. 

Rope Crunch Alternatives

Resistance Band Rope Crunch

If you do not have access to a cable machine, a perfect alternative is to do rope crunches using resistance bands.

To do this, simply attach the resistance bands to a good anchor point at about head level and perform the exercise as you would with a cable machine.

Decline Bench Crunch

Like the rope crunch, decline bench crunch is also an effective core exercise that targets the “six-pack” abs or the rectus abdominis. Start by lying on a decline bench with your feet secured behind pads.

Curl yourself up while keeping your lower back pressed firmly on the bench. Pause at this position for a 2-3 seconds. Slowly lower yourself down to the initial position.

This can be progressed by increasing the decline angle over time or adding a weight plate for more resistance.

Ab Wheel Rollout

The Ab Wheel Rollout is not only great for targeting the abs, but also for working the lats and shoulder. It is important to note though that it is not easy to do if you do not have good foundational core strength.

On your knees, while gripping an ab wheel with a pronated grip (knuckles up), roll the wheel out in front of you while maintaining straight arms. Go as far as you can, squeezing your core the whole time, before returning to the original position for one rep. 

To increase the difficulty, do the exercise on your toes instead of your knees. 

Ab Exercise Guides

Kevin Harris