Get the Most Trusted Services for Physiotherapy Winnipeg
physiotherapy rehabilitation exercises

8 Cable Physiotherapy Rehabilitation Exercises to Enhance Recovery

Rehabilitative exercises are crucial for individuals recovering from injuries, surgeries, or dealing with chronic musculoskeletal conditions. The journey to regaining strength, flexibility, and functionality can often be challenging and painful. However, incorporating cable exercises into a rehabilitation routine can offer a tailored and effective solution to your pain. 

This blog post will introduce 8 physiotherapy rehabilitation exercises using a cable machine –  each targeting different areas of the body. These exercises are designed to enhance stability, strength, and mobility, ultimately leading to a quicker and more efficient recovery process. Whether you’re recovering from a shoulder injury or knee surgery, or looking to improve your core stability, these cable exercises can be a valuable addition to your physiotherapy treatment program.

#1 Cable Chest Press for Shoulder Stability

The cable chest press is an effective exercise for shoulder stability. It targets the chest and shoulder muscles, promoting balanced muscle development and enhancing joint stability. This exercise helps prevent shoulder injuries by strengthening the muscles around the shoulder joint.

How to do Cable Chest Press?

  • Attach handles to the cable machine at chest height.
  • Stand in the middle of the machine, facing away from it.
  • Grab the handles with palms facing down and elbows bent.
  • Step forward into a staggered stance for balance.
  • Push the handles straight out in front of your chest.
  • Slowly return to the starting position, maintaining control.

#2 Seated Cable Row for Upper Back Strengthening

This exercise is beneficial for strengthening the upper back, enhancing posture and reducing the risk of back-related pain. By targeting the rhomboids, trapezius, and latissimus dorsi muscles, it promotes a balanced and strong upper body.

How to Perform Seated Cable Row?

  • Sit on the machine with your feet firmly planted on the footrests.
  • Grasp the cable attachment with both hands, maintaining a neutral grip.
  • Keep your back straight and chest out, with a slight bend in your knees.
  • Pull the handle towards your abdomen, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • Slowly extend your arms back to the starting position, maintaining control throughout the movement.

#3 Cable Leg Extension for Knee Rehabilitation

Effective in knee rehabilitation, this exercise targets the quadriceps muscles, which are crucial for knee stability and strength. By isolating and strengthening these muscles, the exercise aids in the recovery of an injured knee joint and improves its functional capabilities.

How to Perform Cable Leg Extension?

  • Attach an ankle cuff to the low pulley of a cable machine.
  • Stand facing the machine and secure the cuff around your ankle.
  • Grasp the machine for support and gradually straighten your leg at the knee.
  • Pause at the top of the movement, then slowly lower your leg back to the starting position.

#4 Cable Bicep Curl for Elbow and Arm Strength

This exercise is highly effective for increasing strength in the elbow and arm, focusing primarily on the biceps muscles. It facilitates muscle development, enhances joint stability, and augments overall arm functionality. 

How to Perform Cable Bicep Curl?

  • Attach a straight bar or rope handle to the low pulley of a cable machine.
  • Stand facing the machine with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Grasp the handle with an underhand grip, keeping your elbows close to your body.
  • Curl the handle upwards toward your shoulders, contracting your biceps.
  • Pause at the top of the movement, then slowly lower the handle back to the starting position.

#5 Cable Tricep Pushdown for Upper Arm Rehabilitation

The cable tricep pushdown is a beneficial exercise for rehabilitating the upper arm and shoulder. It specifically targets the triceps muscles. Strengthening these muscles is crucial for enhancing arm functionality and stability, especially following injury or surgery.

How to Perform Cable Tricep Pushdown?

  • Attach a straight bar or rope to a high pulley of a cable machine.
  • Stand facing the machine, grasping the bar with an overhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep your elbows close to your body and your upper arms stationary.
  • Press the bar downward by straightening your elbows until your arms are completely extended.
  • Pause briefly at the bottom of the movement.
  • Slowly return to the starting position, keeping tension on the triceps.

#6 Standing Cable Hip Abduction for Hip and Glute Strengthening

Standing cable hip abduction is beneficial for hip and glute strengthening, promoting balance and stability in your legs. It specifically targets the abductor muscles, aiding in injury prevention and enhancing overall lower body function.

How to do Standing Cable Hip Abduction?

  • Attach a cable to your ankle using an ankle strap, and stand sideways to the cable machine.
  • Keep your body straight, with the leg closest to the machine slightly bent for stability.
  • Slowly lift your outer leg away from your body, keeping it straight.
  • Pause at the top of the movement, then slowly return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions before switching legs.

#7 Cable Core Rotation for Lumbar Spine and Core Stability

Cable core rotation can enhance lumbar spine and core stability. It targets the oblique muscles, improving rotational strength and supporting the lower back. This is important for overall spinal health and injury prevention.

How to do Cable Core Rotation?

  • Set the cable machine to chest height and stand sideways to it, holding the handle with both hands.
  • Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
  • Rotate your torso away from the machine, keeping your arms straight and core engaged.
  • Slowly return to the starting position, maintaining control throughout the movement.

#8 Cable External Rotation for Rotator Cuff Health

Cable external rotation is helpful for maintaining rotator cuff health, which is a group of 4 muscles that supports the shoulder joint. This exercise strengthens the small muscles of the shoulder, enhancing shoulder stability and reducing the risk of injuries, particularly in activities involving repetitive arm movements.

How to do Cable External Rotations?

  • Attach a handle to a cable machine at elbow height and stand sideways to the machine.
  • Hold the handle with the hand farthest from the machine, keeping your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle and close to your side.
  • Move your forearm away from your body by rotating it while keeping your elbow static.
  • Pause when your forearm is perpendicular to your body, then slowly return to the starting position.


Incorporating cable exercises into your physiotherapy rehabilitation routine can enhance your recovery process. These eight exercises target various areas of the body, promoting strength, stability, and mobility. By focusing on specific muscle groups, you can address your unique rehabilitation needs and work towards a more balanced and functional lifestyle. 

At Bridgwater Physiotherapy, we understand the importance of physiotherapy rehabilitation exercises. Our experienced physical therapists are able to provide you with the most effective cable workouts tailored to your individual needs. We are committed to helping you regain your strength and mobility so you can return to your daily activities with safety and confidence. Contact us today to schedule a physiotherapy assessment.