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Cable Pull Through [Exercise Guide]

cable pull through

We are going to have a look at what a cable pull through is and how to perform it correctly, the advantages that you can get with this activity, the muscles engaged, and lastly, possible alternative exercises. Read on to find out whether cable pull through is right for you.

What Is A Cable Pull Through

Cable pull through is a strength exercise based on hip extension. It’s deservedly considered one of the most isolated and efficient techniques to load your glutes. The whole posterior chain development benefits significantly from doing cable pull throughs too. The exercise also increases endurance, strengthens hip flexors, improves extension mechanics, helps with muscle imbalances, and can be an excellent warm-up movement. You can practice a cable pull through with a special machine or use a band to create needed resistance. 

What Muscles Does Cable Pull Through Work

Cable pull throughs are a good option for building glute strength. Cable pull through primarily targets the muscles of the posterior chain:

  • glutes
  • hamstrings
  • calves
  • erector spinae

This exercise should be an essential element of your training regimen. It aids in keeping your hips flexible and developing muscles that may prevent lower back discomfort. By strengthening the muscles mentioned on the list, you can improve your explosive motions technique, increase your athletic ability, and improve your posture.

How to Perform Cable Pull Through

Before you get started, you need to set a cable machine and attach your rope  (pulley system) to the very bottom level. If you don’t have a cable machine, use a sturdy surface by attaching a band to it. Make a loop in the band and pass it through. Using a bigger resistance band provides more stress and strain on the muscles.

Step 1. Get Into Starting Position

Turn your back towards the machine. Stand with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-length apart. Keep a slight bend in your knees. 

Step 2. Grab The Rope

Take the rope with your hands, using a neutral grip. Notice your back and make sure it stays parallel throughout the whole exercise. Please don’t keep your back too high, and avoid rounding it.

Step 3. Extend All The Way Back

Make a couple of steps out but don’t go too far. Lean forward and extend back, feeling a nice stretch in your hamstrings.

Step 4. Pull Out

 Pull the rope out, initiating the movement with your glutes. Put full force on these muscles, squeezing them as hard as possible.

Step 5. Return To The Starting Position

Come back to the start, letting your hips do all the range of motion.

It’s crucial to keep your arms straight and avoid causing friction in your groin with the rope. Avoid putting much load on arms. Let your glutes and hamstrings work the most.

Advantages Of Cable Pull Through

Glutes Activation

The cable pull through isolates your gluteus maximus. Isolation helps to load targeted muscles maximally. Compound lifts are usually performed with a heavyweight, putting undue strain on the whole body. Cable pull through is not like that. Because of the focus on the lift’s eccentric part, you’ll give yourself total activation of your glutes and hamstrings.

Suitable For Beginners

Cable pull through has a relatively simple technique that makes a move suitable for beginners. It may help you practice a crucial hip hinge action for other complex workouts. If you are a newbie, cable pull through is an excellent exercise to develop and reinforce appropriate hip flexion and hinging patterning essential for advanced-level lifts.

Super Tension

Your target muscles are always under strain while you do the cable pull through. Such a strong effect helps the athlete to realize and feel how the muscles work. It is clear that this only enhances the impact of training and contributes to better results. The level of muscle activation may be adjusted by mixing up the duration under strain.

Lower-Back Friendly

This exercise works best for those who want to maximize muscular development in the glutes without hurting the lower back. Isolated movement won’t create unnecessary stress on your spine. This implies that you can do a lot of reps, which is excellent for bulking up your muscles.

5 Cable Pull Through Alternatives

Hip Thrust

This movement mainly trains hip extension. The targeted muscles are quads, glutes, and adductors.

How to do a hip thrust:

  • Find a stable flat bench to get a nice base for your back. Position your rhomboids on the bench. Put your feet about hip-width apart. The leg position should be comfortable to create a 90 angle at the knees as you go up.
  • Lay padding under the bar to avoid injury, and get the bar into position. The weight should be directly over the hip joint. Put your arms on both sides of the bar.
  • Take a breath and put your hips into extension. Feel the tension in your glutes and hips.
  • Slowly go down to the starting position, controlling the motion.

Any discomfort in your lumbar spine is a signal to scale back the weight.

Romanian Deadlift

Romanian deadlifts are an excellent choice for those who wish to improve hip mobility and target the glutes.

How to do a Romanian deadlift:

  • To begin, place feet shoulder-width apart. Use an overhand grip on each of the dumbbells or kettlebells you’re holding, or both hands on your barbell. Shoulder-width grip is recommended.
  • Keep your back flat, and your shoulders tucked in.
  • Lift your hips and knees slowly and steadily, and bring the weight down to your feet. You have to feel the hamstrings being stretched. Maintain a tight grip on the weights or barbell you’re using.
  • Return to the beginning position with your hips pressed forward and the weight close to your torso.

Barbell Back Squats

If you want to train more muscles simultaneously, the back squat takes the cake. The exercise will move your body through a great range of motion.

How to do a barbell back squat:

  • Get your whole body under the bar before you pick it up. This way, you minimize the risk of injury. Line up your thumbs on the edge of the bar’s grip, swing them down, and make sure they are even. Dive under the bar and put it on your shoulders.
  • Push the barbell up and put your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Come down, flexing your glutes. Keep your core nice and tight the whole time.
  • Go back to the starting position.

Reverse Barbell Lunge

Lunges are often thought to be a quadriceps workout. However, if you lunge backward, you will feel more glutes engagement. Perform some bodyweight reps first until you feel strong enough to do the same with a barbell.

How to do a reverse barbell lunge:

  • Get into a shoulder-width stance holding a barbell on your shoulders.
  • While maintaining an erect position with your front leg, drop your rear knee to the floor within an inch.
  • Push off your back leg and bring your feet back together. Mind your step, don’t step too far or too close. The back knee should be underneath your pelvis. And your front knee – above your ankle.
  • Try to keep your ankles, knees, and hips in a straight line throughout the movement.

Want to take your glute and hamstring activation to the next level? To accomplish the deficit variant, use a 6′′ box.

Dumbbell Swing

The exercise works the glutes, thighs, and core. Practicing a dumbbell swing will help you enhance your overall stability and lower-body strength. It’s an excellent cardio workout since it targets many muscle groups simultaneously, allowing you to burn more calories.

How to do a dumbbell swing:

  • Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Maintain a strong core and keep your shoulders down. 
  • Bend the knees slightly and hinge at the hips. The objective is to achieve a natural lower back-arc and a gentle quarter bend. Place the dumbbell in front of your chest.
  • Swing the dumbbell. Feel the strain in your lats and back shoulder. Hike the weight between your legs and rise.


What muscles do cable pull throughs work?

Gluteus maximus and lower-back muscles are targeted by the cable pull through. Actually, it’s an exercise that targets the posterior chain of muscles.

Are cable pull through effective?

Yes, they are. Exercising the glutes and hamstrings by pull throughs on a cable machine is a fantastic way to increase time under tension and total muscle activation.

What can I replace cable pull throughs with?

Cable pull through alternatives are workouts that focus on the gluteal muscles and hamstrings. Some of the exercises included are banded pull throughs, kettlebell swings, barbell hip thrusts, deadlifts, and barbell squats.


If you have lower back issues and want to load your glutes muscles to the maximum, cable pull through is the best choice. The simple technique and isolation principle make it both accessible and practical. It works the same for muscles building and improving your performance. The glutes are engaged in practically every functional fitness action and most everyday activities. So it’s good to add cable pull through to your workout program whether you are a bodybuilder, fitness athlete, or an ambitious beginner.