Cable Glute Kickbacks 101 – How To, Proper Form And Benefits

The Cable Glute Kickback

Let’s talk about leg day – or more importantly, glute day. My favorite day (or days, depending on my mood) of the week! And for those who aren’t a fan of working out lower body, it’s time to reevaluate that. There are a slew of benefits that accompany leg day like the fact that working out your legs helps to produce hormones including testosterone and cortisol. Not to mention working out your lower body also:

  • Builds and tones your muscles
  • Strengthens your core
  • Increases your balance and stability
  • Reduces joint pain
  • Eases lower back pain
  • Manages stress levels
  • Improves posture
  • Boosts brain health

So, if you have been on-board team “skipping leg day” then it’s time to hop off. The benefits definitely outweigh your disdain. And I can promise that you’ll feel accomplished once that last rep is complete. So, a mental health boost to accompany the workout — that’s definitely a win, win.

As I mentioned above, working the glutes is one of my favorite days of the week. While there’s a large variety of glute workouts to do, one of my all-time favorites is cable glute kickbacks. Any exercise using cables can be pretty challenging (the good kind) and a good way to intensify your workout. But there’s not much that satisfies me more than the burn of cable glute kickbacks.

What is a Cable Kickback?

First things first, what is a cable glute kickback? The quick answer: one of the best glute exercises you’ll ever do. But to put it more in depth, you do a cable kickback with a cable machine while targeting the gluteal muscles. You’re probably thinking about the fact that squats do the same thing. And while squats do work the glutes, they don’t isolate the muscles as well as cable glute kickbacks.

Muscles Used During Cable Glute Kickbacks

Cable Glute Kickbacks

Cable glute kickbacks get their name from working the three gluteal muscles.

  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Gluteus Medius
  • Gluteus Minimus

However, they work more than just those. In fact, cable glute kickbacks work a pretty broad range of muscles such as your core, hamstrings, calves, quads and lower back. While these secondary muscle groups may not receive the brunt of the work, they are engaged and will help tone those areas.

Are Cable Glute Kickbacks Effective?

Cable Glute Kickbacks

Are glute kickbacks really worth all the hype? Why, yes, they are. Cable glute kickbacks are extremely effective in shaping and toning your gluteal muscles and legs – especially the hamstring area. Cable kickbacks target the area where the hamstrings meet the glutes, which helps to create a rounder, fuller bum!

Cable Kickback Benefits

This might be a shot in the dark here, but I’d say a majority of people want to have a nice bum. As the name implies, cable glute kickbacks are an extremely effective exercise for building, toning and shaping your buttocks. But there are additional benefits to cable kickbacks.

Strengthens

One of those benefits being the fact that strong glutes = a strong core = a strong back. According to celebrity trainer, Sara Lewis, all the muscles in your body work together—that’s why you can’t spot reduce or strengthen just one muscle at a time. And three areas that work together a lot are your core, your butt, and your lower back. So, by doing cable kickbacks you’ll be keeping your back and core strong too!

Isolates

The gluteal muscles can be hard to isolate. It’s common when doing other lower body exercises, like squats or lunges, that your glutes don’t get as much action as the quads or calves. This is because when performing an all-inclusive lower body exercise, the larger muscle groups are more likely to overcompensate for the smaller muscles. Which makes sense, you would expect your stronger muscles to carry most of the load! However, cable glute kickbacks allow you the ability to isolate and target the glute muscles specifically.

Balance & Stability

When performing cable glute kickbacks, your leg moves behind you in a “kicking” motion. This causes other areas of the body to engage in order to stabilize your body, which improves the control of your body. Improving the control of the body leads to better balance and stability.

How to do Cable Glute Kickbacks

So, how do you perform a cable glute kickback? First, you’ll need a cable machine and an ankle cuff.  A majority of gyms have these available, so if you don’t quite know what you’re looking for, be sure to ask! Once you’ve got your cable machine and ankle cuff attachment, you will need to:

  1. Set the pulley system to the lowest possible setting and attach the ankle cuff to your ankle.
  2. Hinge from the waist and bend over so your back is almost parallel to the floor. If you need some additional stability, you can hold on to the cable machine.
  3. Keep a micro-bend in your planted leg, engage the abs and contract the glute muscles to lift your other leg back, slow and controlled, as far as possible.
  4. Squeeze the glutes at the top and slowly lower back down to the starting position.
  5. Repeat the exercise as many times as you desire on each side.
  6. If you are doing less weight, shoot for doing 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps. If you are using heavier weight, try doing 6-8 repetitions.for 3-4 sets.

What Not to Do

Be sure that when doing cable glute kickbacks, you avoid these common mistakes:

  • Standing up straight. While it’s great to have good posture, you definitely don’t need to be standing up straight while doing kickbacks! Standing straight will hinder your range of motion and make it difficult to isolate the glutes.
  • Swinging your leg back and using momentum to perform the motion. It’s important to use the glutes to lift the leg back, or you won’t get the booty gains!
  • Not completing a full repetition. How effective cable kickbacks are depends on getting a full range of motion. Be sure that you can feel the tension in your glutes before lowering your leg back down!

Cable Glute Kickback Variations

Here are some different kickback variations you can try.

Glute Machine

Cable Glute Kickback

This machine is like the cable kickbacks, except it’s done on a machine and no cables.  There are various styles of glute machines.  On some, you sit and push an arm down with your leg.  On others, you stand and the motion mimics a cable glute machine.

Cable Kickback With Abduction

A cable kickback with abduction puts the emphasis on your gluteus medius and minimus. The exercise is the same as a regular kickback, except when performing the kickback, turn your body 90 degrees to the cable machine and lift your leg to the outside.  Remember to squeeze at the top and slowly lower back down!

Resistance Band Glute Kickback

Core Prodigy Glute-Tastic - Ankle Kickback Strap with Resistance Bands for Butt & Hip Exercises
  • STRONG & COMFORTABLE - The Glute-Tastic's double D-ring ankle kickback straps are built to last and are super comfortable. The Glute-Tastic has wide velcro design, double stitching and reinforced...
  • HOME OR GYM - Comes with 3 resistance bands and a door anchor so you can use at home or bring to the gym to use on cable machines. Firm up and improve your calves, legs, hips and butt with our secure,...
  • FIRM BOOTY - Quickly achieve a hard, round butt with all in one Glute-Tastic kickback system. Comes with a nylon carrying bag for all of the pieces.
  • LIFETIME WARRANTY - Core Prodigy provides a full lifetime warranty on the Glute-Tastic. This covers the ankle straps, bands and door anchor. We will 100% take care of any concerns that you may have.
  • BY CORE PRODIGY - USA based fitness and rehab equipment leader that you can trust.

If you don’t have access to a gym that has a cable machine, you can still do glute kickbacks using a resistance band that can be purchased just about anywhere.  Connect between a door and a door frame and do your glute kickbacks!

Cable Kickback Alternatives

Not sure if you’re ready to take on cable kickbacks? Here are some alternatives that you can try.

Donkey Kicks

Start on all fours with your hands positioned under the shoulders. Engage the core and extend one leg backwards as far as you can go. Squeeze your glutes, then lower back down to the starting position.

Hip Bridges

Lay down on your back with your arms by your side, bend the knees and face the palms down. Contract the glutes to lift your hips off of the floor as high as you can lift them. Contract the muscles at the top, then slowly lower back down and repeat.

Leg Back Toe Down Pulses

Start on all fours with the hands directly underneath the shoulders. Extend one leg straight behind you, keeping the toes facing down. Squeeze the glutes to pulse the leg in an up and down motion. Continue the pulse for your desired number of repetitions and switch.

 

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