7 Of The Top Cable Machine Glute Exercises

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Cable machine workouts can offer you impressive benefits and muscle gains but what are some glutes, also known as butt, exercises you can do with cables?

The cable machine is a piece of fitness equipment where a steel frame holds weights and pulleys. Thanks to the cable going through these pulleys and attached to these weights you can do many types of strength training exercises for a wide variety of muscles.

Many people think about squats with heavy barbells and leg press gym machines when talking about glute exercises. While these other combinations can be helpful, the cable machine can also be used as a gym machine for glute muscles.

There are plenty of reasons to strengthen and grow your glute muscles. Your glutes can burn a lot of calories, they are generally considered to be aesthetically pleasing, improve posture, and more.

These exercises require a variety of handles varying from ankle straps to the straight bar cable attachment. In some cases you can improvise, in others, you want to stick to the recommended handle.

Keep in mind that even though there are many benefits, your injury risk is generally also higher when you do exercises with more weight/resistance.

1. Cable glute kickbacks

This first exercise requires you to have an ankle strap attachment. You could make glute kickbacks work with a single D-grip handle but this is a lot less safe and generally not recommended.

Once you have the right equipment, take the following steps to do a cable glute kickback:

  1. Put the cable pulley as close to the ground as possible and preferably use an ankle strap handle. You may be able to get away with a D-grip handle but certainly in this leg exercise, that option is a lot less safe.
  2. Stand with your face toward the cable machine and strap on the ankle band. You can hold the cable machine during the exercise for balance.
  3. Lean forward to about a 45-degree angle to a vertical line.
  4. Slowly move the foot with the strap back and with your knee slightly bent until your leg is stretched at an angle somewhat more vertical than just a horizontal line.
  5. Return your foot to starting position in a controlled motion.

As the name implies, the cable glute kickback is a hip dominant exercise that focuses a lot on the glute muscles. Inevitably you also get some hamstring muscle engagement on top of that.

2. Cable pull-throughs

To do a cable pull-through take the following steps:

  1. Put the cable pulley as close to the ground as possible and preferably use a double-rope attachment. You may be able to use other grip attachments but these will be a lot more uncomfortable.
  2. Stand right next to the cable machine with your back toward it. Grab the double rope handle through your legs so that the cable goes through your legs and take a step forward.
  3. Bend your knees slightly and bend your upper body forward as far as you can without bending your back.
  4. Slowly move up your upper body until you stand up straight. Keep your back straight and your arms pointing downward. Make sure you don’t hunch your shoulders.
  5. Alternate between the positions in step 3 and step 4.

This exercise focuses on your glutes, lower back, and hamstrings.

3. Leg abductions

To do a cable abduction take the following steps:

  1. Put the cable pulley as close to the ground as possible and preferably use an ankle strap handle. You may be able to get away with a D-grip handle but the ankle strap is safer.
  2. Stand with your side toward the cable machine and strap on the ankle band on the leg furthest away from the machine. You can hold the cable machine during the exercise for balance.
  3. Tilt your weight slightly to the cable machine so the leg without the strap carries your weight.
  4. Lowly move the foot with the ankle strap sideways until it is at about a 45-degree angle with the rest of your body. Keep your legs stretched throughout the exercise.
  5. Move the leg back to the position in step 3 in a controlled motion.

Cable leg abductions, moving your leg away sideways from the other one against resistance, engage your outer thighs and glutes.

There is also something called cable leg adductions, moving one leg sideways to the opposite side, you need to put the strap on the leg closest to the cable machine. Leg adductions will only focus on your inner thigh muscles, not your glutes.

4. Squats

To do a cable squat take the following steps:

  1. Put the cable pulley at a low setting and preferably use a straight bar handle. You can use others as well but in that case, you may have to use a different stance.
  2. Grab the straight bar attachment with an overhanded grip with your hands at about shoulder width.
  3. Stand up with a straight back and slightly leaning backward right next to the cable machine with your face towards it. Put your feet at more or less shoulder width.
  4. Slowly lower your hips by bending your knees. How far depends on different factors like knee health but at your lowest point you want your hips to be at or lower than your knee height. Keep your back in a straight line throughout the movement and adjust how far you lean back for balance.
  5. Push yourself up again into starting position by stretching your legs.

Squats are one of the, if not the most, popular leg exercises, and for a good reason. They are a great option for an overall leg workout. If you only and only want to work out your glute muscles, some of the previous exercises will be better options.

5. Romanian deadlifts

To do a Romanian deadlift with the cable machine take the following steps:

  1. Put the cable pulley as close to the ground as possible and preferably use a straight bar handle. You can also use a variety of other handles.
  2. Stand up straight right next to the cable machine with your feet at more or less shoulder width and your face towards the machine. Make sure you have enough room to do the rest of the exercise.
  3. Slightly fold your knees and tilt your upper body forward to grab the straight bar attachment with an overhanded grip with your hands at about shoulder width.
  4. Get in an upright position, for the first repetition you can use your legs to do so.
  5. Slightly tilt your upper body forward as far as you can without bending your back or knees or until the bar/other attachment is right below knee height.
  6. Slowly move back into the position of step 4.

Good technique is important in any exercise to avoid injuries but especially so for Romanian deadlifts. Before selecting the heaviest weights it is smart to improve your Romanian deadlift technique first by selecting a light or no cable weight at all.

The Romanian deadlift focuses on muscles like your glutes, lower back, and hamstrings.

6. Reverse lunges

To do a reverse lunge with the cable machine take the following steps:

  1. Put the cable pulley as close to the ground as possible and preferably use a double-rope attachment. You can use others as well but in that case, you may have to use a different stance.
  2. The end position for the second step is you with your back toward the cable machine with each rope going over one shoulder with the hand of that side holding the rope. You can grab the ropes while facing the cable machine and then twist or start with your back toward it and get in the position that way.
  3. Take two or three steps forward so you have room to do the exercise. If needed lean forward slightly to brace against the weight from the cable machine but keep your back straight.
  4. Move one leg back as if you would take a big step back but keep your weight mainly on your front leg. As you do this your front knee folds into an angle of about 90 degrees.
  5. Return to the position of step 3.
  6. Repeat step 4 but with your other leg taking the step back.

Similar to squats, lunges are a great cable exercise for an overall leg workout. This includes your glutes but also your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.

7. Good morning’s

To do a good morning with a cable machine take the following steps:

  1. Put the cable pulley as close to the ground as possible and preferably use a straight bar handle. You can also use a variety of other handles.
  2. Stand up straight right next to the cable machine with your feet at more or less shoulder width and your face towards the machine.
  3. Slightly fold your knees and tilt your upper body forward to grab the straight bar attachment with an overhanded grip with your hands at about shoulder width.
  4. Get in an upright position, for the first repetition you can use your legs to do so.
  5. Tilt your upper body forward as far as is comfortable with a good posture (but not farther than a horizontal line). At the same time bend your knees a small amount.
  6. Return to the position in step 4 in a controlled motion.

The good morning may look similar to a squat or a regular deadlift but you go a lot less through your knees. This exercise engages your glutes, lower back, core, and hamstrings.

On the other hand, it does engage your quadriceps less than squats or deadlifts. Depending on your training goals this can be both a good or bad thing.

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Author:

Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.