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The cable machine is a versatile piece of equipment. You can use it for building your entire upper body.
However, it’s still somewhat underrated as a means of improving your leg strength. You can do an entire leg and glute workout just with the cable machine – supposing you know the right movements, of course.
And that’s what we’ll show you here – the best cable glute exercises that you can do to build your legs and glutes.
So get your crutches out, because after you’ve done these exercises, your life in the next few days is going to be a bit harder than usual.
8 Best Cable Glute Exercises
Supposing you got the cable machine all for yourself for 30-45 minutes or so – do some of these leg exercises, and you won’t need to do anything else for the day!
These are the best cable glute exercises for building strong glutes – including some exercises that work some other key leg muscles!
1. Cable Squats/Front Squats
For this exercise, you’ve got two options: you can use the V-bar attachment if your cable machine allows it and turn this movement into the classic front squat; or, you can use the T-bar cable attachment – both will target your glutes.
The techniques for both are slightly different. With the V-bar attachment, you’ll have to hold the attachment closer together, while the T-bar will stay in your hands in front of you.
There’s a slight difference in that V-bar squats will also target your quads a bit more, while the cable T-bar squats are better for targeting the glutes more.
- Hold the cable attachment in front of you (near your chest for the V-bar, in front of you with the T-bar)
- Start at the bottom with your knees at a 90-degree angle
- Move your body upwards but keep your back straight
- Repeat (8-12 times)
For the V-bar:
For the T-bar attachment:
2. Standing Abduction
You’ll do this move standing. Even though it might look easy, it’s anything but, especially if you load up the cable machine appropriately.
This exercise will target your glutes and your outer thighs, but also your abs to an extent. We like it because it mirrors the movements you’ll do when you do sports – plus, it targets the outer thighs, which are crucial for stability as you run or do sports.
- With the cable attachment at the low position, stand next to the cable machine
- Then, attach the rope to your leg that’s further away from the cable machine
- Stand tall and grab onto the cable machine, and keep your standing foot straight
- Start lifting your other leg sideways to as high as you can
- Ideally, you’ll want to stop at the top for a second and pull your leg downwards slowly
3. Cable Romanian Deadlift
Barbell Romanian deadlifts are tough – and highly effective for building your posterior chain, including your glutes. And you can also do it with the cable machine.
A bit of trivia: the Romanian deadlift is named after the weightlifter Nicu Vlad, who was an Olympic medalist in 1984, 1988, and 1996. Impressive! And guess where that weightlifter was from? That’s right… Finland… Kidding, he’s obviously Romainian.
Now, back to Romanian deadlifts – the key with Romanian deadlifts is that you must do them properly. They’re somewhat similar to standard deadlifts, only that you don’t bend your knees as much, and you’ll have to drive from your glutes a bit more.
- With the cable attachment in the low position, grab the attachment and pull it away from the machine so that you have it in front of you
- Bend your knees only slightly, and bend your upper body forwards, but keep your back straight
- Then start pulling the cable upwards while keeping your back straight
- When your body is in the straight position, move back slowly and repeat
4. Cable Pull-Throughs
Now, cable pull-throughs and cable Romanian deadlifts are very similar – so much so that some people even mistake the two.
But there are some slight differences in form, although the two movements work very similar muscles. Pull-throughs will mostly target your glutes and hamstrings, and also your lower back.
The main difference between pull-throughs and Romanian deadlifts is that you’ll have the cable attachment between your legs with pull-throughs. And you’ll be “pulling through” your legs during the movement, which will create tension in your glute area.
- Grab the cable attachment and pull it between your legs, while you’re facing away from the cable machine
- Bend your knees slightly and point your toes outwards
- Pull the cable upwards by pulling through from your glutes. Make sure you are feeling your glutes doing the work
- Don’t go too low – this will wreck your back
5. Cable Glute Kickbacks
The cable glute kickback is perhaps the best movement to isolate your glutes. You’ll also work your hamstrings, but with this move, you’ll be able to really focus on your glutes more.
Half-assing this exercise will result in nothing, so you’ll need to make sure you’re doing the movement slowly and not rush it.
It’s important that you stretch your leg back as much as possible and not stop in the middle of the movement. This will render the move ineffective and it won’t provide any tangible results in the end.
- Put straps on the ankles of both of your legs, and then attach the cable to one of your legs
- Stand near the cable machine facing the cable – about two steps away from it
- Bend your upper body only ever so slightly
- Then grab the cable machine and keep your standing leg straight as you pull the cable backward with your working leg
- Focus on moving only your leg while also making sure you extend this leg as far out as you can
- Do it slowly and don’t rush it
6. Cable Forward Lunge
Yes, it is possible to do lunges – even with the cable machine. Although you’ll need some modifications in order to make this move work.
First, you’ll need the barbell attachment on the cable machine – although it’s also possible to do this move without this attachment. You can also do reverse lunges with the rope attachment – although we find it easier with the barbell one.
And lunges are definitely one of the most functional leg exercises you can do, because they mimic our natural body movements great, especially if you’re someone who does a lot of running or sports.
Here’s how to do them.
- Place the barbell attachment onto the cable machine
- Grab the barbell into your hands and put it at the height of your hips, and walk forwards so that you can feel some tension
- Then, lunge with one of your legs forward – make sure you don’t put your front leg knee over your toes as you do so
- Come up and alternate your legs (or, you can do it with one leg first and then switch legs – we find it more comfortable with alternating the legs)
Here’s how to do reverse lunges with the rope attachment if you don’t have the barbell attachment ready:
7. Cable Bulgarian Split Squat
The Bulgarian split squat is also one of the most effective exercises for building your glutes. When done correctly, this move will target your glutes, hamstrings, and also your quadricep muscles.
Keeping your core engaged while performing this exercise is the key to stabilizing your lower body during the movement. Most of the time, this exercise is done with dumbbells, but you can also use the cable machine to perform it effectively.
- Grab the cable machine and place the bench behind you, and then place one leg on the bench while extending the other
- Start lowering yourself down while keeping your standing foot in place, and moving your back foot down
- As you come back up, keep your back straight and tighten your abs and glutes
8. Cable Deadlift
Last but definitely not least, the deadlift. It’s perhaps one of the best movements for focusing on your glutes but also your upper back when done correctly. Normally, we do this movement with the bar, but this time, we’ll use the cable machine.
The movement is slightly different with the cable machine, though. The essentials are still there, though – keeping your back straight, driving from your glutes, and not overextending at the top of the movement.
Cable deadlifts are done easiest with the barbell attachment, but you can also use almost any other attachment.
- Grab the cable attachment and bend your legs slightly
- Bend your upper body downwards and keep your back straight
- Then pull from your glutes as you drive upwards
- Stop at the top of the movement for a second, but don’t overextend!