Top 10 Best Cable Machine Exercises for Legs and Glutes

Best Cable Machine Exercises for Legs and Glutes: The cable machine is the only machine in the gym that offers endless opportunities to work for every muscle group in your body! You will often see that the cable machine is used to train the chest, triceps, and abs… but what about the legs and glutes?

Read on to make sure you don’t miss out on some great Cable Machine Exercises for Legs and Glutes using a cable machine.

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Top 10 Best Cable Machine Exercises for Legs and Glutes

10 Best Cable Machine Exercises for Legs and Glutes


Below, you can learn about 10 strength moves to work your legs and glutes from the top down (sorry for the pun). And all you need is a cable machine! The technique is important for maximizing the benefits of each exercise, so pay close attention to form notes and video demonstrations.

You’ll even find a small sample exercise below to get you to put some of these newly discovered exercises into practice!

1. Cable Squats

Muscles worked: Hips, quads, hamstrings

Instructions:

  • Attach a straight bar or narrow handle to the lower setting of the cable machine.
  • Hold the handle by the extended arms and walk the cable out a few steps.
  • Keeping your weight on your heels, push your hips back, and bend your knees into a squat position.
  • Stand with your thighs parallel to or just below the floor and hold in this position for a second.
  • Stand straight and squeeze your glutes hard at the top of the move before moving on to your next rep.

Recommended reps: 12 to 15

2. Cable Alternating Step Ups

Muscles worked: Hips, VMO, quads, calves

Instructions:

  • Place a box or bench in front of the cable machine. Ideally, you want it to be at a height where your thigh is parallel to the ground when you put your foot on it.
  • Attach one handle to each side of the lower setting cable machine and hold one in each hand.
  • With outstretched arms holding the cables, step onto the bench with the foot of your weaker leg first. Make sure to keep your spine neutral and your chest up.
  • Push through the middle of your foot until you’re resting on the bench. At this point, both feet should be on the bench.
  • Take a step back with the foot you took the first step on and start your next rep with the opposite foot.
  • Note, you can also do this exercise using one leg at a time, ie ‘X amount of reps on your left leg and then ‘X amount of reps on your right leg.

Suggested reps: 24 to 30 alternations (12 to 15 on each leg)

3. Cable Pull Throughs

Muscles worked: Hamstrings, glutes

Instructions:

  • Attach a rope handle to the bottom of the cable machine.
  • Hold one side of the rope handle in both hands and let it run over the cable between your legs. Your back should be towards the cable machine.
  • Take a few steps away from the cable machine to give you a workspace.
  • Start by standing straight with the rope handle on the arms extended.
  • Hinge at the hips with a slight bend in your knees and a neutral spine, push them back and let your hands/cable run through your legs behind you. You should feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
  • From here, engage your glutes and pull back into a standing position, providing a good squeeze at the top of the movement.
  • Don’t linger too long in the standing position before moving on to your next rep.

Recommended reps: 10 to 12

4. Cable Romanian Deadlifts

Muscles worked: Hamstrings, glutes

Instructions:

  • Attach a flat bar handle to the cable machine on the lower setting.
  • Hold the bar shoulder-width apart with an overhand grip.
  • Pull the cable out and stand with your feet no wider than hip-width apart.
  • Start by standing straight, holding the bar with arms extended and your weight on your heels.
  • With a slight bend in your knees and a neutral spine, create a stretch in your hamstrings by pushing your hips back as you lower your chest to the floor and the bar toward the cable machine.
  • Pull back to the starting position using your hamstrings and glutes.
  • Don’t forget to squeeze a big hip at the top before moving on to your next rep.

Recommended reps: 10 to 12

5. Cable Calf Raises

Muscles worked: Calves

Instructions:

  • Place a step or weight plate for you to stand in front of the cable machine.
  • Attach a flat bar handle to the cable machine on the lower setting.
  • While holding the bar with extended arms, stand with your feet facing the machine on the step or weight plate.
  • You can play with foot positioning – narrow, medium, or wide stance.
  • Lower your heels toward the floor, then push up on your toes until your calves are fully contracted.
  • Lower to starting position and push straight up. Avoid spending too long in the lower position. Aim for maximum tension in the calves.

Recommended reps: 15 to 20

6. Cable Single Leg Deadlifts

Muscles worked: Hamstrings, glutes, adductors

Instructions:

  • Attach a single handle to the bottom of the cable machine.
  • Hold the cable on an outstretched arm in your hand opposite the leg you are working on.
  • Begin standing with your feet close together and then hinge forward from the hips, keeping one leg on the ground and the other behind you while maintaining a neutral spine.
  • Keep your core engaged to help balance.
  • Think of your hips as a pivot – your chest only goes down as far as your leg goes up.
  • Aim to bring your back and floating leg parallel to the floor before crossing your working leg through the hip and pulling it back to the starting position.
  • Keep your reps slow and steady and do them all on one leg before switching sides.

Recommended reps: 10 to 12 on each leg

7. Cable Squat Walk-Outs

Muscles worked: Quads, glutes, hamstrings

Instructions:

  • Attach the rope handle or flat bar handle to the lower end of the cable machine (not necessarily all the way down).
  • Hold the cable attachment by the extended arms and step out a few steps.
  • Get into a squat position and then hold this position with a neutral spine and chest lifted, taking 6 steps back, then 6 steps forward.
  • Keep your weight on your heels as you take the steps to allow for the maximum hip joint and make sure your knees don’t go inward.
  • Each path back and forth is collectively counted as “1 repetition”.

Recommended reps: 3 to 5

8. Cable Reverse Lunge

Muscles worked: Hips, quads

Instructions:

  • Attach the rope handle to the bottom of the cable machine.
  • Stand with your back to the cable machine and rotate under the cable with the rope handle behind your head and your hands just above each shoulder.
  • Pull the cable out to give you enough room to lunge backward.
  • To start, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, then take a wide step back, perform a reverse lunge, bend both knees and lower yourself to the floor.
  • Make sure to keep your chest up and your weight on the heel of your forefoot during the lunge.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat on the same leg for the desired amount of reps.

Recommended reps: 10 to 12 on each leg

9. Cable Assisted Pistol Squat

Muscles worked: Hips, quads, calves

Instructions:

  • Attach the narrow handle to the top of the cable machine to perform an assisted cable machine gun squat.
  • Alternatively, if you want to do an unassisted cable machine gun squat, you can attach the narrow handle to the machine at waist level.
  • Stand a few feet away from the cable machine and pull the handle towards your chest.
  • Do a low one-leg squat and then come back from your heels to a standing position.
  • Perform all reps on one leg before starting the other side.

Recommended reps: 6 to 8 on each leg

10. Cable Front Squats

Muscles worked: Hips, quads, hamstrings

Instructions:

  • Attach the flat bar holder to the bottom of the cable machine.
  • For starters, stand facing the machine and grasp the handle under your hand.
  • Pull the handle towards your chest so that your hands are near your collarbones and the bar is across your chest.
  • Engage your core and push back and down into a squat position while holding the bar against your chest.
  • Hold the bottom for a second and then push your heels back into a standing position, squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement.

Recommended reps: 12 to 15

Example Cable Machine Exercises for Legs and Glutes


I took a selection of these exercises and put them together in a cable machine leg workout that will have you thanking me (or hating me) later! If you want to try some of these exercises as soon as possible, give this workout a shot!

How:

  • The workout is divided into 3 supersets.
  • Each superset must be done for a total of 3 rounds before moving on to the next superset.
  • Do exercise 1 and then exercise 2 with no rest in between.
  • Rest 60 seconds between each set and superset.

SUPERSET 1:

  1. Cable Step Ups
  2. Cable Front Squats

SUPERSET 2:

  1. Cable Single Leg Deadlifts
  2. Cable Calf Raises

SUPERSET 3:

  1. Cable Squat Walk Outs
  2. Cable Reverse Lunges

Last words


The cable machine is an underutilized leg and hip muscle training tool. As you can see, there are lots of great lower body exercises that can be done using a cable machine. Collectively, the exercises in this article will hit all your major leg muscles and make you feel the burn!

And if those exercises aren’t enough to keep you going, there’s more where that comes in!

Share your favorite Cable Machine Exercises for Legs and Glutes with us in the comments section below!

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