Get stronger legs: 5 cable machine hamstring exercises

Hamstrings are the muscles at the back of your thighs. Cable machine hamstring exercises are a great way to help build stronger legs and lower body.

They play a big role in helping you move and stay active. Imagine trying to run, jump or even bend over without your hamstrings – it would be really hard.

kick backs cable machine leg exercises

Having strong and flexible hamstrings is like having a superpower for your legs.

Whether you’re a male or female, cable leg exercises are fun and useful for any lower body workout.

Why use the cable machine?

Did you know that using a cable machine can be really helpful for making your hamstrings and lower body even stronger?

These machines work like magic to give your muscles a good workout.

The cable machine lets you do exercises by providing constant tension on your muscles and allowing you to hit them in different angles than with a barbell or free weights. It’s like having a rope that you can pull to make your muscles work hard. 

Hamstring muscles

The hamstrings consist of FOUR muscles located on the back of the upper leg.

The four muscles that make up the hamstrings, include:

  • Biceps femoris long head
  • Biceps femoris short head
  • Semitendinosus
  • Semimembranosus

The primary function of the hamstrings includes knee flexion, hip extension and medial/lateral rotation of the tibia. 

Benefits of using cable machines to strength train hamstrings

Using cable machines to make your hamstrings stronger is like having a secret tool for your muscles. Here are three cool things about using these machines:

  1. Super focus on hamstrings: When you do exercises with cable machines, you can aim the power right at your hamstrings. It’s like giving them a special invitation to get stronger.
  2. No cheating allowed: Cable machines prevent you from cheating your muscles out of the work. When you lift or pull, the machine keeps the tension on your hamstrings the whole time.
  3. Safe and sound: Cable machines make sure you’re doing the exercises in the right way. This keeps you safe and helps your hamstrings grow strong without any worries.

Cable hamstring exercises

Having underdeveloped and/or weak hamstrings negatively impacts your physique and performance while increasing your risk of injury, especially to the knee.

Since the hamstrings cross the knee and hip joint, it’s important to do a combination of exercises that involve knee flexion and hip hinging to fully develop the hamstrings.

Using cables is a good idea because you can do a wide variety of exercises with a few attachments. Since there are countless hamstring exercises you can do with cables, we’ve decided to highlight just a few.

Hamstring curls

Hamstring curls are like a game for your hamstrings. You lie down on a bench or floor with ankle straps and you’re trying to touch your heels to your glutes.

hamstring curls cable machine leg exercises
woman on the floor doing hamstring curls cable machine leg exercises
  • 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.

Gymreapers Ankle Straps

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

Romanian deadlifts

The cable Romanian deadlift works a lot of your leg muscles at once. The compound exercise provides constant resistance while working the back of the thigh.

RDL cable machine leg exercises
RDL cable machine leg exercises
  • Attach the long handles to the cable machine and stand facing it with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • With a handle in each hand, pull it to waist height with a slight bend in your knees until you are standing upright.
  • Slowly lower your upper body until it is parallel with the ground while pushing your glutes backward. 
  • Repeat. 

Cable squats (front squats)

cable front squats cable machine leg exercises
cable squats cable machine leg exercises
  • Attach the seated row handle to the lowest position.
  • Lower into a squat position by pushing your glutes and hips back as you bend at your knees – be sure to keep your body weight in your heels and a straight back.
  • Your thighs should be parallel to or just below the floor, hold this position before standing back into the starting position.

Kickbacks with ankle straps

cable squats cable machine leg exercises
woman doing kick backs cable machine leg exercises
  • Stand facing towards the cable machine with the ankle strap around your ankle.
  • For support of your upper body, gently hold the machine.
  • Lean forward halfway and keep a straight back.
  • Bend your left knee slightly and lift the right foot off the floor.
  • You have to push through the right heel and extend your right leg as much as you can behind you.
  • Do not arch your lower back and gradually return to your starting position.

Cable pull-throughs

kick backs cable machine leg exercises
kick backs cable machine leg exercises
  • Attach a rope handle in the lower position on a cable pulley for this hip hinge exercise.
  • Turn your back against the pulley, with the cable between your thighs, and take a few steps forward.
  • Bend forward by hinging in your hips and let the rope handle move backward between your thighs.
  • Extend your hip again and return to standing.
  • Pull-throughs target your glutes and hamstrings.
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