In order to perform the cable pull-through exercise (sometimes referred to as the glute pull-through), you will need a cable pulley machine that has an adjustable height. This is an excellent compound movement that hits the powerful muscles of the posterior chain which includes the hamstrings, the glutes, and the low back. Cable pull-through exercise will also help you practice a hip hinge movement that is essential for other compound exercises like the Romanian deadlift (RDL) and barbell hip thrust. Unfortunately, it’s hard to see someone doing it in the gym, although it is very beneficial.
Step-by-step exercise instructions
STARTING POSITION (SETUP)
Secure a rope pulley attachment a few notches above the lowest setting on the machine. Stand facing away from the pulley machine. Hold either side of the rope in your hands between your legs. Your palms should be facing up. Take three big steps forward and lean forward. This is your starting position to execute the movement.
Push the hips back while maintaining a soft bend in the knees, making sure to keep the chest up and back flat. When you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, reverse the motion and push the hips through, squeezing the glutes at lockout.
Performance tips for cable pull-through exercise
- At the bottom of the movement, the weight you’re lifting off the cable pulley machine should not clank down against the weight stack. If this happens, you’re too close to the machine, which will interfere with your ability to perform the movement with a full range of motion.
- To target more of the glutes and less of the low back, round the upper back and bend the knees more throughout the entire range of motion. Keeping your chin tucked may help as well.
- Maintain a forward lean for all repetitions to prevent the weight of the cable pulley machine from pulling you backward.
- Don’t go so light that you aren’t challenging your muscles; don’t go so heavy that you don’t feel it in your glutes or you’re so off-balanced that you have to focus on not falling over.
- Keep your back flat and your arms straight throughout the movement.
- Pull the weight up by pushing through your heels and pushing your hips forward, straightening your legs as you stand up. Don’t use your shoulders or bend your arms.
Muscles engaged in cable pull-through
- Primary muscles: gluteals, hamstrings
- Secondary muscles: erectors
It also engages muscles in your lower back, core, and upper back too.
Here are the videos from which you can learn the correct form.
Band pull-through. Perform the pull-through using a long resistance band looped around the bottom of a pole or squat rack. If you also have no opportunity to use resistance band, then the best cable pull through alternative is the kettlebell swing. It is maybe more difficult to perform since that is a free weight. You can learn the proper form here.
- Weighted or banded hip thrusts
- Romanian deadlift
Closing thoughts: Why cable pull-through?
Glute pull-through is a safe, easy to perform, functional and a great alternative exercise for the deadlift or kettlebell swing. Do not care about that nobody does it in the gym, try it and you will feel how powerful it is. If you’re looking to master the king of compound exercises, the deadlift, then cable pull throughs are a great way to practice the motion and build up to it.