Top cable leg exercises with ankle straps

Cable leg exercises with ankle straps are a great way to add variety and challenge to your leg workout routine. Using ankle straps with a cable machine, you can target specific leg muscles, such as your glutes, hamstrings and quads, while improving your balance and stability. 

Cable machine exercises can also increase your range of motion and flexibility while reducing the risk of injury.

woman in green tshirt and gray legging doing cable squats with ankle strap

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Whether you’re an avid gym-goer or new to strength training, adding these lower body exercises to your routine can be a great addition to your leg workouts.

What are the benefits of cable leg exercises?

Cable leg exercises provide you with additional variations to leg workouts you do with free weights. Here are some benefits of doing these exercises:

  • They can help you target specific lower body muscles, like glutes, hamstrings and quads.
  • Using a cable attachment can provide constant tension on the muscle instead of using dumbbells or a barbell. 
  • They can help make your legs stronger and more toned.
  • These exercises can also help improve your flexibility and range of motion.
  • Cable leg exercises with ankle straps are a great way to change up your workout routine and provide various compound lifts like squats.

What are the benefits of using ankle straps?

Using ankle straps for leg exercises and your lower body workout can have several benefits. Here are some of them:

  • Ankle straps can help to add resistance to your leg exercises, making them more challenging and effective.
  • Ankle straps can help you isolate and target specific muscles in your legs, like glutes, hamstrings and quads. You might also target your inner thighs with exercises like the cable abductors.
  • They can also help to improve your form and stability during leg exercises.
  • Ankle straps are versatile and can be used for various exercises, including cable kickbacks, cable hip abductions, cable hamstring curls, cable straight leg deadlifts, cable squats and cable lunges.

Cable leg exercises with ankle straps for glutes

Kneeling cable kickbacks 

cable kneeling kick backs with ankle straps
cable kneeling kick backs with ankle strap
  • Position a bench in front of a cable machine and attach the ankle cuff above your right ankle. 
  • Kneel your left leg on the middle of the bench and position your hands under your shoulders. 
  • Extend your right leg forward, keeping your knee unlocked.
  • Bring your leg back behind you until it is fully extended, ensuring you do not hyperextend your back as you pull against the weight. 
  • Contract your glutes, hold for two counts, then slowly return to the starting position.

Variations: Standing cable-glute kickbacks, standing medial kickbacks

Standing cable glute kickbacks

woman in green tshirt and gray leggings doing cable leg exercises with ankle strap
  • Stand facing towards the cable machine with the ankle cuff around your ankle.
  • For support of your upper body, gently hold the machine.
  • Lean slightly forward and keep a straight back.
  • Keep your left leg straight and turn your right foot 90 degrees as you lift it off the floor and slightly out to the right.
  • Squeeze your glute once your leg is extended.
  • Do not arch your lower back and gradually return to your starting position.
  • Repeat for desired reps and then switch legs.

Cable hip abductions 

cable hip abduction exercises ankle strap
  • Set up your ankle cuffs to a low cable position and place it on the ankle of your outside leg.
  • Stand tall and raise your leg out to the side.
  • Pause and squeeze the side of your glutes (glute medius & minimus) before slowly lowering.
  • ​Repeat for desired reps and then switch legs.

Cable hip adductors

woman in green tshirt and gray leggings cable adduction leg exercise

These are similar to hip abductors except the only difference is the direction your leg goes during the movement.

Place the ankle cuff to the inside leg for this cable exercise and pull your leg across the front of your body.

Tip: You will feel this on the inside of your legs in a day or two.

Single-leg cable reverse hyper

  • Set the pulley to its lowest setting. Place an ankle strap onto the end of the clip on the machine.
  • Place an angled bench in front of the machine, facing toward it.
  • Attach the cable to your right ankle and lie upside down on the bench so that your butt is high and your head is low.
  • Extend your right leg back to full extension.
  • Lower and repeat.

Cable leg exercises with ankle straps for hamstrings

Lying cable hamstring curls 

woman lying on a bench in a green tshirt and gray leggings lying hamstring cable leg exercise with ankle straps
  • Place the ankle cuff to your left leg and clip it to the cable at the lowest position. The clip should be on the front of the ankle.
  • Place a bench in front of the cable machine, lie down prone, facing away from the cable and extend your legs.
  • Brace your core and curl your left leg up. Focus on bringing your heel to your butt. Allow your other leg to remain straight.
  • Once you feel a contraction in the left hamstring, pause for 1-2 seconds.
  • Slowly lower your leg back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for desired reps and then switch legs.

Tip: When performing this isolation exercise, focus on keeping your hips down to prevent your lower back from getting involved in the movement.

Variations: Standing cable hamstring curls

Cable leg exercises with ankle straps for quads

Cable squats

woman in green tshirt and gray legging doing cable squats with ankle strap
  • With the ankle cuff around your right ankle and attached to the lowest setting, stand sideways next to the cable pulley machine.
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Step out to the right and squat down.
  • Return to the starting position while keeping constant tension on the cable.
  • Repeat for desired reps and then switch legs.

How to choose a cable ankle strap

When choosing the best cable ankle strap for leg exercises, there are a few factors to consider to ensure you get the right one for your needs. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Material: Look for a cable ankle strap made from high-quality, durable materials with a strong velcro strap that can withstand the weight and resistance of your exercises. Popular materials include neoprene, strong nylon, and leather.
  2. Size and Fit: Choose a strap that securely fits your ankle without feeling too tight or uncomfortable. 
  3. Padding: Look for a strap with adequate padding to provide comfort and prevent irritation or chafing. The padding also helps to distribute the pressure and weight evenly across your ankle.
  4. Attachment: Make sure the strap has a secure attachment point that can withstand the weight of the cable machine. Most straps come with a strong velcro closure and double D-rings attachment that allows you to connect to the cable easily.
gym reapers ankle straps
gymreapers ankle straps on a woman's ankle

For this workout, I used Gymreapers ankle straps, which were sent to me to try out. I was pretty impressed by them.

Gymreapers Ankle Straps

Ankle straps with neoprene padding for cable machine kickbacks, glute workouts, lower body exercises

The ankle straps provided a good amount of padding for the different range of motions that I took my leg through for the different exercises. The D-rings did not dig into my leg like other ankle straps that I have used in the past. They also were very secure once velcroed into place.

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