Cable Glute Kickbacks

Do you know the secret to killer glutes? Cable glute kickbacks - they are not for sissies or just the girls. This underutilized exercise is excellent for building glutes for an aesthetically pleasing body; flat butts with monster quads are not a great look. 

Primary Muscles Targeted and Secondary Areas

All three parts of the body's largest and strongest muscle groups are targeted in this exercise. The gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. Glute kickbacks build strength, stability, and power in the glutes as well as the core. 

The secondary muscles that this exercise targets are the core, hamstrings, calves, quads, and the lower back muscles. They are all engaged while and active. It is safe to say they will be toned and defined as well.

Cable Kickbacks for Killer Glutes

Force: Pull

Mechanics: Isolation of the glute

Aim: 3 sets of 12 Superset with banded walks for maximum results

For the best glutes on the block, here is how to get cable kickbacks right every time:

  1. 1
    Standing in front of a cable machine, attach an ankle cuff. Don't set the weight too heavy.
  2. 2
    Step back slightly until you feel a small amount of resistance. Lean forward and hold the machine for stability. 
  3. 3
    Slightly bend your knees and engage your core. Your abs should be tight. 
  4. 4
    Lift the leg with the cuff off the ground, and drive it back. Kick back into the movement.
  5. 5
    Once your hip is extended fully, you will feel your glute muscle contract. Squeeze your glutes and hold this position for a count of two full seconds.
  6. 6
    Slowly lower your leg back down to start. Don't just drop your leg back down. Slowly return to the starting position.
  7. 7
    Repeat for 12 - 15 reps. Switch sides.

The ultimate superset

fit woman using resistance band for walking squats

Grab a booty band and add a lateral band walk between sets of kickbacks. Squat walks with a band are also excellent for developing the glute muscles. 

Up the reps with this exercise, the more you do, the better you benefit. As the glutes are a powerhouse for muscle groups, you cannot go wrong with high reps for max gains.

The Benefits of Cable Glute Kickbacks

smiling woman measuring body with tape standing in front of mirror

Kickbacks are booty builders; whether you are a guy or a gal, everyone looks better with a nice butt. Aside from aesthetics, your glutes are quite an important muscle alongside the core. The core keeps your body stable and able to move; however, your glutes are needed for moving your legs and getting around. 

If you have ever bruised your glutes or pinched a nerve in the glute area, you will know exactly how important they are. You need strength in your glutes for a number of reasons.

You benefit from kickbacks by:

  • Building and toning your muscles - Kickbacks develop and tone the glutes and your hamstrings. It has the main target on your glutes; however, the secondary leg muscles and core benefit as well.
  • Strengthening your core - Your entire body engages as you squeeze and contract your glute muscles. This is the best way to improve your control over your body. 
  • Increased balance and stability - Kickbacks help you balance your glutes; as it is a single leg worked at a time, you are able to isolate and rehabilitate any weakness in each side. The isolation helps you improve your glutes alone if they are the only weak spot in your legs. 
  • Improved explosive leg power - This is perhaps one of the best benefits. This exercise creates strength and power in your glutes. You will find an improvement in your overall athletic performance andyou might just be able to ace those box jumps and up your deadlift game
  • Eases lower back pain - Lower back pain is an ambiguous ailment; it can be because of internal factors and external. More often than not, if your hips are not aligned or are not as strong, it can contribute to pain in this region. Cable kickbacks are excellent for releasing tension in your back. 
  • Improved posture - Realigning your hips can help your posture.

Common Mistakes

As with every exercise, people make a few common mistakes when performing the cable glute kickback. Here are the top reasons you might not be getting the best out of your kickbacks. 

Your standing posture

fit woman doing cable glute kickbacks

You will not get a full range of motion if you are standing up straight. Try standing up and driving your leg back while your back is straight. You will notice it only goes up a small amount. Leaning forward is the number one rule when it comes to kickbacks. Adjust your ankle strap so it sits perfectly on your ankle, lean forward, hold the machine for balance and slowly drive your leg up. Adjust until you find the right angle that will give you the best range of motion. 

Your routine

Starting with a kickback is not the best way to benefit from this exercise - warm-up and work a few compound exercises first before adding this towards the end of your workout.

Using the wrong weights

gym cable machine closeup

Drop sets are important the first few times you try this exercise. Adjust the amount of weight you use; going too heavy might cause the swinging movements you want to avoid. Starting with a heavyweight and adjusting until it is just the right amount of weight is vital.

Your glutes need to do the work

It is a cable glute kickback, not a leg swing back; the first indication that you have not gotten it right is when your leg swings back. Your glutes should be engaged and contracting. The power is in your glutes as they work to driving your leg back and up.

Feel the burn

Cable Glute Kickbacks

You need to feel the burn. Make sure you complete a full repetition by driving that glute back in its full range of motion. More tension is created the further you move your leg back, meaning bigger gains. Concentrate on your glutes.

Perfecting your form

Perfect form comes from practice. If you struggle to take the focus off of driving your foot, ankle attachment, and weights off of the ground, switch to using a resistance TRX band instead. There is no weight, and you can perfect the movements you need to fully drive your leg back and up for maximum glute activation. 

closeup view of suspension training trx at gym

These are easy to do at home as well as in the gym. Resistance band glute kickbacks are perfect for an at-home lower body workout. Once you have truly mastered the perfect form, move on to weighted versions with the cable machine. 

Alternatives and Variations

Try these alternatives or variations for days where cable glute kickbacks are just not possible.

Glute push down machine

The cable machine is full, now what? Some gyms have alternative machines that can help. The glute push-down machine is one of them. Adjust the machine, and off you go. 

Assisted pull-up machines are also an excellent piece of equipment for your glutes. Hold on to the rails, secure your foot on the platform and push down until your leg is fully extended and your glute has contracted. Squeeze your glutes for two seconds and slowly bring your leg back up.

Cable switches

This exercise is a lot like the traditional cable glute kickback; however, there is a slight difference. This exercise isolates the gluteus medius and minimus, the smallest of the muscle group. 

As you drive your glute back, add start rotating your foot 90-degrees to either the left or the right. Squeeze the glutes at the top of the repetition.

Add These

Cable glute kickbacks are not the only glute builders out there; try adding one or two of these in as supersets or just on their own for the ultimate power glute workout.

Glute thrusts

Adding glute thrusts to your routine alongside cable glute kickbacks is the ultimate leg day shredder. Many fitness fundis find that leg day targets the quads and hamstrings, but you don't feel the burn in your glutes as much. 

If you struggle to truly feel your muscles during your workouts, then these two will show you exactly where they are, be warned, they have no mercy. Glute thrusts are unique in that they work both the glutes and hamstrings. You will feel the strength building in your glutes as you perform each thrust.

Big Booty Gains

Kickbacks shape, strengthen, and improve not just your gluteus muscle group; they craft powerful legs and improve muscles throughout your body. Butt gains are not just for the ladies. If you want to up your leg gains and improve your mobility, then add cable glute kickbacks to your routine.

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