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Learn How To Do Cable Pull Throughs With Proper Form

There are exercises and movements that can be incorporated prior to main lifts, at the end of workouts, or as corrective movements throughout every training program to help maximize muscle hypertrophy, neurological patterning, and overall performance. Consider incorporating cable pull-throughs into your training program if you’re looking for a beginner-level glute exercise.

The cable pull-through is an excellent compound exercise for strengthening the powerful muscles of the posterior chain. It’s great for hip and hamstring development, gluteal hypertrophy and endurance, and reinforcing proper hip flexion and extension mechanics.

It is regarded as an excellent introductory variation to the deadlift, as well as one of the best exercises for learning glute activation.

Why Use A Cable Machine For This Movement?

Cable machines are a versatile piece of equipment. They have a plethora of exercises to choose from to round out your pull day routine. Because you can change the weight, you can easily track your progress and use it for a full-body workout by adjusting that little pin to the appropriate level of resistance for your exercise.

The cables aren’t only for the upper body. The cable pull-through is a lower-body classic that allows you to effectively target the muscles in your glutes and hamstrings while also engaging your core.

What Exactly Is A Cable Pull Through?

The cable pull-through, also known as the glute pull-through, is a compound exercise that targets muscle groups in your posterior chain, such as the gluteus Maximus, hamstrings, and lower-back muscles. Begin by standing with your back to a cable pulley machine. Hinge your hips, grab the rope attachment between your legs, and pull it forward in a smooth motion.

With proper form, cable pull-throughs can promote glute hypertrophy or muscle growth. They can also assist you in practicing a hip hinge movement, which is required for compound exercises such as the stiff legged deadlift, Romanian deadlift (RDL) and barbell hip thrust.

How To Do Cable Pull Throughs

  • Stand With your back against the cable machine
  • Attach a rope handle to a cable pulley in the lower position. Take a few steps forward with your back to the pulley and the cable between your thighs.
  • Allow the rope handle to move backwards between your thighs by bending forward and hinging in your hips.
  • Return to standing by extending your hips once more.

man demonstrating cable pull through exercise
Cable pull through start position
man demonstrating cable pull through exercise
Cable pull through end position

Primary muscles worked:

  • Glutes

Secondary muscles worked:

  • Lower Back
  • Hamstrings
  • Adductors

Cable Pull Through Benefits

1. Hypertrophy of the glutes and hamstrings

The cable pull through is an excellent exercise for increasing time under tension, eccentric muscle damage, and overall gluteal and hamstring activation. Because of the isolated nature of this movement (though it does provide sport-specific movement patterning), it can often be performed at higher volumes without causing additional neurological fatigue and/or stress to the lower back.

2. Reinforcing the Hip Hinge

The cable pull through can be used to teach and reinforce proper hip flexion and hinging patterning, which is required for more advanced movements like deadlifts and pulls. The added tension in the eccentric phase can provide neurological and motor patterning feedback, which can help a lifter understand what positions should feel like.

3. Boost Posterior Chain Muscle Activation

The cable pull through is an isolated glute exercise that can be used to increase glute activation by increasing time under tension and a lifter’s ability to actively engage the muscle under loading in a more controlled setting (less ballistic than swings, less lower back strength, and stability needed than deadlifts).

Difference Between A Cable Pull Through And Hip Thrust?

The cable machine is used to perform the pull-through exercise from a standing position. Hip thrusts are performed in a more horizontal position, with the back supported by a bench and the weight typically being a loaded barbell. Both require a hip hinging motion and are important for activating and strengthening the muscles of the posterior chain, but there are some differences.

Hip thrusts frequently allow the lifter to add more weight. Adding more weight plates makes the exercise heavier and more difficult than the cable machine allows.

Pull throughs, on the other hand, appear to be a little more straightforward. The setup is quick and simple, as there is no need to load a barbell, adjust a bench, or get into a balanced position as is required for hip thrusts.

The pull-through can also help with hamstring mobility. It all depends on how the knee moves, but you’re more likely to feel a hamstring stretch when doing pull-throughs, so if this is a problem area for you, this is an excellent exercise to help you work on it.

Take Away

Cable pull throughs isolate the glutes, which are the muscles that extend your hips. Because the resistance comes from behind you, you won’t get the same amount of rest in the top position that you would with free weights. This means that your glutes will be under constant tension, which may benefit muscle growth.


Rahul is a sports and performance consultant. Over the course of his 15-year career in the fitness sector, he has held positions as a strength and conditioning instructor, gym owner, and consultant. He is deeply committed to assisting people in finding happiness and feeling good about themselves. Rahul has a master's degree in exercise science and is a certified NSCA CSCS and CISSN.

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