10 Amazing Cable Machine Exercises for Legs & Glutes - Cable Squats



10 Amazing Cable Machine Exercises for Legs & Glutes

fitness woman doing exercise glutes cable kickbacks
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The cable machine is the one machine in the gym that provides endless opportunity for training every muscle group in your body! You’ll often see the cable machine being used to train chest, triceps and abs… but what about legs and glutes?
Read on to make sure you don’t miss out on the amazing exercises that can be done for your legs and glutes using a cable machine.

10 Of the Best Leg & Glute Cable Machine Exercises

Below you can learn about 10 power moves to work your legs and glutes from top to bottom (excuse the pun). And all you need is a cable machine! Technique is important to maximize the benefits of each exercise, so pay close attention to the form notes and video demonstrations.
You’ll even find a little example workout further down to get your putting some of these new-found exercises into practice!

1. Cable Squats

Safe & Effective Glute Workout - Cable Squats
Muscles worked: Glutes, quads, hamstrings
Instructions:
  1. Attach a straight bar or narrow grip handle to the bottom setting of the cable machine.
  2. Hold the handle on extended arms and walk the cable out a few steps.
  3. Keeping your weight in your heels, push your hips back and bend your knees, dropping down into a squat.
  4. Stop when you’re your thighs are parallel to the ground, or just below and hold for a second in this position.
  5. Stand back up to straight and squeeze your glutes hard at the top of the movement before going into your next repetition.
Recommended repetitions: 12 to 15

2. Cable Alternating Step Ups

Cable Step-Up
Muscles worked: Glutes, VMO, quads, calves
Instructions:
  1. Place a box or bench in front of the cable machine. Ideally, you want it to be at a height that when you place your foot on it, your thigh is parallel to the ground.
  2. Attach a single handle to each side of the cable machine on the bottom setting and grab one in each hand.
  3. With extended arms holding the cables, step up onto the bench with the foot of your weaker leg first. Ensure you keep your spine neutral and your chest up.
  4. Push through the middle of your foot until you are standing on top of the bench. At this point, you should have both feet on the bench.
  5. Step back down with the same foot you stepped up with first, commencing your next repetition with the opposite foot.
  6. Note, you can also do this exercise using one leg at a time, i.e. ‘x’ amount of reps on your left leg followed by ‘x’ amount of reps on your right leg.
Recommended repetitions: 24 to 30 alternating (12 to 15 on each leg)

3. Cable Pull Throughs

How To: Cable Pull-through
Muscles worked: Hamstrings, glutes
Instructions:
  1. Attach a rope handle to the bottom of the cable machine.
  2. Hold one side of the rope handle in each hand and step over the cable so it is in between your legs. Your back should be facing the cable machine.
  3. Walk a few steps out from the cable machine to give you space to work.
  4. Start by standing straight with the rope handle on extended arms.
  5. With a slight bend in your knees and a neutral spine, hinge at the hips, driving them back and allowing your hands/the cable to go through your legs behind you. You should feel a stretch through your hamstrings.
  6. From here, engage your glutes and pull back up to standing position, giving them a good squeeze at the top of the movement.
  7. Don’t linger in the standing position for too long before you go into your next repetition.
Recommended repetitions: 10 to 12

4. Cable Romanian Deadlifts

Randi Kennedy Fitness - Cable Romanian Deadlift
Muscles worked: Hamstrings, glutes
Instructions:
  1. Attach a straight bar handle to the cable machine on the bottom setting.
  2. Hold the bar with an overhand grip, shoulder width apart.
  3. Walk the cable out and stand with your feet no wider than hip-width apart.
  4. Start by standing straight, holding the bar with extended arms and your weight in your heels.
  5. With a slight bend in your knees and a neutral spine, push your hips backwards whilst lowering your chest towards the floor and the bar towards the cable machine to create a stretch through your hamstrings.
  6. Pull back up to starting position using your hamstrings and glutes.
  7. Don’t forget a big glute squeeze at the top before going into your next repetition.
Recommended repetitions: 10 to 12

5. Cable Calf Raises

FitRanX - Cable Calf Raise - Male - FitRanX Fitness Ranking System.MTS
Muscles worked: Calves
Read more: The Benefits of Standing Calf Raises
Instructions:
  1. Place a step or weight plate for you to stand on in front of the cable machine.
  2. Attach a straight bar handle to the cable machine on the bottom setting.
  3. Stand facing the machine with the front of your feet on the step or weight plate whilst holding the bar on extended arms.
  4. You can play around with foot positioning – narrow, medium or wide stance.
  5. Lower your heels towards the ground then push up onto your tip toes until your calves are fully contracted.
  6. Lower down to starting position and push straight back up. Try to avoid spending too long in the bottom position. Aim for maximum tension on the calves.
Recommended repetitions: 15 to 20

6. Cable Single Leg Deadlifts

Glutes and Hamstring Exercise- Single Leg Romanian Deadlift RDL with a Low Pulley Cable

Muscles worked: Hamstrings, glutes, adductors
Instructions:
  1. Attach a single handle to the bottom of the cable machine.
  2. Hold the cable on an extended arm in the hand that is opposite to the leg you’re working.
  3. Start standing with your feet close together and then hinge forward at the hips, keeping one leg grounded and sending the other out behind you whilst maintaining a neutral spine.
  4. Keep your core engaged to assist with balance.
  5. Think of your hips as a pivot – your chest only goes down as far as your leg comes up.
  6. Aim to get your back and floating leg parallel to the ground before engaging through the glute of your working leg and pulling back up to starting position.
  7. Keep your repetitions slow and steady and do all of them on one leg before changing sides.
Recommended repetitions: 10 to 12 on each leg

7. Cable Squat Walk-Outs

CABLE SQUAT WALK BACKS
Muscles worked: Quads, glutes, hamstrings
Instructions:
  1. Attach either the rope handle or straight bar handle at the lower end of the cable machine (it does not need to be all the way at the bottom).
  2. Hold the cable attachment on extended arms and walk it out a few steps.
  3. Go into a squat position and then holding this position with a neutral spine and lifted chest, take 6 steps backwards followed by 6 steps forward.
  4. Keep your weight in your heels when you take the steps to allow for maximum glute engagement and make sure your knees don’t collapse inwards.
  5. Each way back and forward, collectively, counts for “1 repetition”.
Recommended repetitions: 3 to 5

8. Cable Reverse Lunge

Reverse Lunge vs Cable
Muscles worked: Glutes, quads
Instructions:
  1. Attach the rope handle to the bottom of the cable machine.
  2. Stand with your back towards the cable machine and swivel under the cable so that the rope handle is behind your head and your hands are just above each of your shoulders.
  3. Walk the cable out to give you enough space to go into a reverse lunge.
  4. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart to begin with, then take a wide step backwards into a reverse lunge, bending both knees and lowering yourself towards the ground.
  5. Make sure you keep your chest up and your weight in the heel of your front foot during the lunge.
  6. Step back into starting position and repeat on the same leg for the desired amount of repetitions.
Recommended repetitions: 10 to 12 on each leg

9. Cable Assisted Pistol Squat

Pistol Squat Cable Assisted
Muscles worked: Glutes, quads, calves
Recommend reading: 5 Benefits of Pistol Squat
Instructions:
  1. Attach the narrow grip handle to the top of the cable machine to perform an assisted cable machine pistol squat. Alternatively, should you wish to do an unassisted cable machine pistol squat you can attach the narrow grip handle to the machine at around waist height.
  2. Stand a few feet out from the cable machine and pull the handle towards your chest.
  3. Go into a one-legged low squat and then push back up to standing position through your heel.
  4. Perform all repetitions on one leg before starting on the other side.
Recommended repetitions: 6 to 8 on each leg

10. Cable Front Squats

Cable front squats
Muscles worked: Glutes, quads, hamstrings
Instructions:
  1. Attach the straight bar handle to the bottom of the cable machine.
  2. For starters, stand facing the machine and grab the handle with an underhand grip.
  3. Pull the handle up towards your chest so your hands are by your collar bones and the bar is running across your chest.
  4. Engage your core and push back and down into a squat position whilst holding the bar against your chest.
  5. Hold at the bottom for a second and then push back up through your heels into standing position, squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement.