Cable machine exercises for glutes will improve shape

Using cable machine exercises for glutes is really an effective way of building fullness in the muscle group while rounding the glute medius and minimus by using abduction exercises.

The glutes are one of the largest and strongest muscles in the human body. They play a major role in maintaining an upright posture through hip extension.

woman using cable machine for glute exercises

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You will find the cable machine is one of the most versatile exercise machines for leg workouts and glute workouts. There are a variety of lower body exercises you can do focusing on the legs and glutes.

Anatomy of the glutes

Three main muscles make up your glutes.

Gluteus Maximus

The shape of your booty is primarily dependent on your gluteus maximus, which is the largest in the muscle group. Its function is the extend and rotate the hip. It also comes into play when you extend your trunk.

Gluteus Medius

The gluteus medius moves your legs away from the body’s midline and rotates it. When you’re in motion, the gluteus medius secures your pelvis.

Gluteus Minimus

The gluteus minimus assists the gluteus medius in its functions. All the exercises that feature gluteus medius activation will do the same thing for the gluteus minimus.

Benefits of using cable machines

Cable pulley machine is a great tool that allows you to build muscle definition and strength. The benefits of using cable machines can be seen in and out the gym.

Builds strength

The cable machine provides constant tension, unlike free weights which have an ascending/descending resistance curve. The constant tension allows for more time under tension, which will fatigue the muscles with less total volume, making your workouts very efficient. 

Variety and ease of use

You can change the handle attachment to use multiple grips and hand positions to work the target muscle or muscles is slightly different ways to maximize muscle growth. You can include different exercise variations and isolate your glutes with the smallest changes.

Constant resistance

The cable provides constant resistance and extends “time under tension,” which is a significant driver for building strong, lean muscle.

Add cable machine exercises for glutes to your workout

You can perform all of the traditional lower body exercises using cables including deadlifts and squats

Using quality ankle straps will allow you to perform many of these cable leg exercises with extra comfort but also for a better mind-muscle connection due to the ankle being the pulling point on the leg.

woman standing holding cable pulley machine with leg flexed for donkey kickback
woman with leg extended in donkey kickback cable machine exercise for glutes

Standing cable donkey kick

  • Place an ankle cuff on each leg.
  • Lower the cable machine to one of the lower settings.
  • Attach your foot with the ankle cuff.
  • Hold onto the machine and tighten your abdominals. Start your leg in a 90-degree bend.
  • Kick your leg straight back and hold for a sec. You’ll raise it without arching your back or rotating your hips and pull it back in.
  • Repeat the desired number of reps and sets for both legs. 

Tip: An alternative are cable kickbacks, where you keep your leg straight throughout the movement. If your moving leg touches the ground, stand on a weight plate for your anchor leg.

Cable front squat

  • Start by attaching a close grip attachment to the pulley and standing in front of the cable machine with your feet shoulder distance apart.
  • Let your starting position be at the bottom of a squat.
  • Pull the attachment to your shoulders and hold.
  • Stand up keeping the attachment at your shoulders.
  • Lower into a squat position until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor.
  • Repeat for the desired reps and sets.
cable deadlifts for glutes

Cable deadlifts

  • Attach the straight bar attachment or long handles to the pulley at the lowest position.
  • Face the pulley with the attachment in both hands and about three feet of distance between you and the machine.
  • Slowly bend at the hips with a slight bend in your knees, and at the same time extend your arms forward, engaging your core and keeping your back flat.
  • Squeeze your glutes as you stand back up and, at the same time, pull your elbows back. This will look similar to a bent-over row, and be sure that you are pulling with power.
  • At the top, squeeze your glutes and keep the core engaged. This is one rep.
  • Repeat to complete the desired reps and sets.

Tip: The goal with this one is to feel a good stretch in your hamstrings and squeeze the heck out of your butt at the top. It’s a great posterior chain exercise.

Single leg deadlift

  • Attach the handle at the lowest position and face the cable machine.
  • With the hand opposite to the leg you’re working on, extend the arm and keep your feet together.
  • Bend forward in your hips, keep one leg on the ground and the other behind you in the air.
  • Your chest should come down only as much as the leg behind you comes up.
  • Keep your spine straight and tense your core muscles to maintain balance.
  • Use your glute in the working leg to pull yourself back up.
cable machine exercises for glutes
woman doing cable pull throughs for glutes

Cable pull-through

  • Start by attaching the rope attachment to the cable pulley machine with it positioned at the lowest setting.
  • Facing away from the machine, you’ll grab the rope attachment between your legs and with your palms facing each other.
  • Take a few steps away from the machine. You want to be far enough that the weight does not come back in contact with the weight stack.
  • With your feet shoulder-width apart and feet straight, or pointed out no more than 15-30 degrees.
  • Begin by pushing your hips back until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Keep a neutral spine throughout the entire movement.
  • Hold this position for a second and then begin reversing the movement by extending at the hips and squeezing to activate the glutes at the top.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps and sets.

Tip: The cable pull-through is a similar movement to the cable Romanian deadlifts and is a great alternative to the barbell hip thrust.

Reverse lunge with step

  • Start by attaching the rope attachment and putting the pulley in the lowest position.
  • Place a step box in front of the cable machine and step onto the box.
  • Holding the rope with both hands, then step one leg back and lower your body until your knee is at a 90-degree angle. Be sure that you’re keeping your back straight and your core tight.
  • Return that leg to the box and repeat with the other leg.
  • Repeat for the desired reps and sets.

Cable hip abduction

  • Start by standing next to the low cable pulley and attaching the ankle strap to the leg closest to the pulley.
  • Grab hold of the cable machine for stability.
  • Keeping your body and legs straight, pull the leg that’s strapped in front of your supporting leg and hold for two counts.
  • Then go back to the starting positions.
  • Repeat for the desired repetitions and sets.

Tip: By simply adjusting the position of your toes – straight, inwards or pointed out, you can alter the way the hip abductor muscles are stressed. 

Cable squat walks

  • Attach a rope attachment to one of the lower settings on the machine.
  • Face the machine and extend your arms, walk the cable out a couple steps.
  • Begin in a squat position and take six steps backwards, and six forwards.

Tip: Keep all weight in the heels of your feet and your knees apart for this exercise to give the best results.

woman doing cable squats for glutes

Side step squat

  • Start with your feet about shoulder width apart. Place ankle straps on each ankle.
  • With one ankle attached to the lowest setting, take a big step away from the machine and lower into a squat go as low as you can.
  • Then push back up to standing. This is one rep.
  • Repeat for the desired reps and switch to the other side.

Cable glute workout

SetsReps
Cable Side Step Squats48-12 reps
Cable deadlifts410-12 reps
Cable reverse step lunges320 reps (10 each leg)
Cable pull-throughs410-15 reps
Cable squat walks3

How often should you train glutes?

It depends on how many days per week you can train. If glute hypertrophy is your primary goal, training them 2-3 times per week is optimal.

Is there an ideal rep range?

Your glute muscles will respond to 5 reps to 25 reps ranges. To get the most out of your workouts, do at least 50% of your glute training in the (moderate) 10-20 rep range. The other 50% can be evenly split between the (heavy) 5-10 rep range and (light) 20-25 rep range.

Why should I use cable machines?

Whether you’re new to the gym, or only just beginning to lift weights, or coming back from an injury, cable machines are a fantastic way to learn (or remaster) the key movement patterns of all the major pushing, pulling and rotational exercises is a safe and controlled way.

Wrap up

Incorporating cable leg and glute exercises into your routine is no different than incorporating any other equipment into your workout routine.

By using different attachments, angles, weights and different ranges of motion, the cable workout can target all the major and smaller muscles of your legs and glutes. Cable exercises are a great way to help build strong glutes and muscle mass by providing constant resistance for each exercise.

Remember, a lot of these exercises are not about lifting progressively heavier, they are about isolating a particular muscle.

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