The 8 station cable crossover machine has become a staple in most gyms, and it continues to grow in popularity. It should come as no surprise that this machine is frequented by so many fitness buffs and novice gym-goers. The cable crossover machine is a versatile and effective piece of equipment. It meets the needs of experienced fitness members as well as those getting started on a fitness journey.

The 8 station cable crossover machine targets and works virtually all the muscle groups in the body and allows them to go through a full range of motion. It’s size and usability allows for sport-specific motions. This is perfect for dynamic stretching and training for a specific sport. It has two weight stacks which can be used at the same time by one person or by two people individually. Near the weight stack will be a pulley system which is easily moved up and down to different heights for a wide variety of exercises. Most machines have a chin-up bar connected to the top, as well.

With all it’s bells and whistles, the 8 station cable crossover machine looks as cool as Tom Cruise in Top Gun, but if you don’t know how to use it, you could crash and burn (…huh, Mav?). As mentioned earlier the machine’s pulley’s can be adjusted to different heights and can be used simultaneously by one person. The best example of this would be the cable crossover exercise. To do this exercise, attach a single handle bar and put the pulleys on a high setting at least shoulder-height or maybe a little higher, depending on the specific muscle you want to target. Grasp one handle in each hand, palms facing down, and stagger your feet slightly. Pull down and across your chest with each arm. Stop when your hands meet each other. Keep the core engaged and tight, and as you pull the cables together, squeeze the chest and hold for 2-3 seconds before releasing the cables to their starting point and then repeat the exercise. For larger strength gains, use more weight and perform 5-8 reps. For more conservative strength gains and muscle hypertrophy, perform 8-12 reps, where you’ve chosen a weight that causes the 12th repetition to be fatiguing. For muscle endurance, perform 15-20 reps with lighter weight.

Numerous exercise exist with this machine. Your arms, specifically your biceps, can be worked by standing near one weight stack and lowering the pulley near the bottom and pulling up for a bicep curl. A tricep pressdown can be performed by raising the pulley near or above your head and, keeping the elbows close to your side and stable, extend the arms down to focus on the triceps. Upright rows for the trapezius muscles and reverse curls for the biceps and forearms can also be performed from setting the pulleys low. Lat pulldowns can also be performed from the high setting. Each exercise will have  specific handles that assist in the proper form and movement.

The lower body can be worked, too, on an 8 station cable crossover machine. The hip adductors (the inside of your thighs) and abductors (the “saddle-bags” on the outside of the legs) can be utilized by attaching an ankle strap and either sweeping the leg out away from the body for the abductors or in and across the body for the adductors. The glutes can also be used by extending the hip straight behind you with an ankle strap attached.

Have fun with this machine, and explore the many options for training. As with using any machine, proper form is essential to achieve the best results and avoid injury. Always seek direction from a more experienced user should any questions arise.