Cable Pull through:Benefits, Alternatives and how to do it, guide

Throughout every training program, there are some exercises and movements that can be integrated at the end of workouts and before the main lifts, or maybe as corrective movements to help overall performance, maximize muscle hypertrophy and even neurological patterning. The cable pull through exercise is a common work-out which incorporates all the above-mentioned factors and is practised for the hip and hamstring development, increased gluteal hypertrophy and endurance as well as to recapitulate proper hip flexion and extension mechanism.

Cable Pull Through effectively and efficiently targets the hamstring, gluteus muscles and the lower back of the body. Cable Pull Through is best performed with a combination of light weights and high reps which in turn develops strength in the lower back and hamstrings. And that also explains the reason as to the usage of the cable, that creates constant tension on your hamstrings and lower back throughout the exercise. Regular practice of Cable Pull Through also helps to improve balance and flexibility, which might surprise you when practising some dance steps!

How to do a Cable pull through?

Below is a step-by-step guide as to how to do a Caple Pull Through properly:

  1. First thing first, position the rope pulley of the cable machine station at its lowest setting.
  2. Now grab the handles of the rope pulley between your legs and face away from the cable machine.
  3. Now try to walk forward a few steps to create tension on the cable. The more you walk the more tension will be created.
  4. Bend your hips forward while assuming a shoulder-width position with your knees slightly bent. Try to maintain a flat back position throughout the exercise for better results.
  5. Tighten your glutes and your core and slowly take a deep breath while pushing your hips forward. Now slowly straighten out your legs.
  6. Your arms must be slightly below shoulder level at the top position. Try to maintain a slight bend in your knees while straightening your legs.
  7. Now bring the rope pulley back to its original position by bending forward at the hip and maintaining a flat back. When returned to the original position, you will feel a comfortable stretch in your hamstrings and lower back. Say it the sweet fruit of the efforts, if you want!
  8. Repeat the exercise for 4-5 reps or till you have achieved the desired number of reps.

Now a word of Caution: try to remember that in Cable Pull Through the arms aren’t of much work. On the contrary, it’s your hips, lower back, glutes and hamstrings that are doing most of the work. Because your arms are just to hold the rope pulley in place and nothing else. So do not round your back and use momentum to lift the weight, instead try to maintain a flat back position throughout the exercise for better results. Or bear the brunt of back injury!

Call Pull Through Benefits:

  • Boon for Strength and Power Athletes

Cable pull through can be proved quite beneficial for strength and Power Athletes to increase their glute activation, muscle hypertrophy, maintaining proper hip flexion and hamstring flexibility by performing this exercise within the fullest ranges of motion. Since weightlifters, powerlifters, and strongman athletes have to rely on their hamstring and glute strength during deadlifting/pulling performance that includes deadlifts, cleans, snatches, low bar squats, stones, etc., and hip flexion mechanism Call Pull Through, sure is a great accessory exercise to increase and facilitate such outcomes.

  • Facilitates functional Fitness and Bodybuilding capacity

Adding to further benefits of the cable pull through that can reaped by practising it, is that it can be also be proved to be a good exercise to add for additional glute training volume for more muscle hypertrophy, endurance, and to improve muscle activation as well. As to why glute activation is necessary, well that because the glutes are active in functioning of nearly every functional fitness movement and exercise such as running, squatting, pulling, jumping, etc., to name a few. Regular practice of Cable Pull Through also helps to improve balance and flexibility, which might surprise you when practising some dance steps. Who needs red shoes, then?

  • A great trick for your general Health and Fitness

Apart from the benefits of glute strength and hypertrophy that can be availed by practising this movement, Cable Pull Through can also be used as regression and fundamental strengthening exercise for facilitating more advanced movements like deadlifts, pulling variations, and even squatting. Can you believe it? Even the most fundamental bodily functions! Not only that but this exercise allows novice trainees to maintain proper positions and helps the coaches to exercise the ability to isolate ranges of motion in the hip hinge patterning that might cause weakness and handicap-ability to the athletes in more advanced deadlifting and hip flexion/extension progressions.

Caple Pull through Alternatives

  • Banded Pull Through

Fred not. If you love the cable pull through however are lacking proper equipment, say like the cables! Simple elastic bands will do the trick. What? Yes, many gyms and garages can be equipped with these inexpensive and versatile pieces of rubber, making them a great substitute option for lifters on the go or a budget. This no-frills alternative can be set up the same way as the cable that is, set to low height, face away and with the band running through legs. Identically perform the reps as you did the cable variation, and reap all the same benefits. Substituting the cables with the bands won’t tax you with any kind of loss except for a fraction of the costs of cables. Calling Banded Pull through twin brother of cable pull through won’t be an exaggeration, to speak.

Also please note, that loading can be difficult at higher levels since band tension does have an upper limit, unlike the cables. The bands work just fine however, as lifter gets closer to the lockout, the brunt of loading increases thereby forcing them to stay active and find peak contraction. A tip though, you can try to take one step further by adding Band Pull through into supersets with squats, deadlifts, and other glute exercises for added hypertrophy!

  • Weighted or Banded Hip Thrusts

The hip thrust can be used with bands, weight, or both. Or maybe with any other load to maximize glute and hip strength and hypertrophy. If done correctly and properly, Weighted/Banded hip thrusts would target the same muscle groups as Cable pull through or maybe slightly fewer hamstrings, however, the net glute effect is what matters. Performing slower, primarily focusing on the pace of the repetitions, Hip thrusts can be the best exercise for muscle hypertrophy. However, performing it for more strength in an explosive reps mannerism can be proved as effective and efficient as that in advanced training programs. Call it challenging, if you want! But believe it or not, the biggest way to have the best carry over to other lifts is to master Banded/Weighted Hip thrusts with complete control over the tension and solely focusing upon on the glutes performance rather than the spinal extension or incomplete lockout of the hips.

  • Dimel Deadlifts
  • dimel deadlifts

The Dimel deadlift, named after the Westside lifter, Matt Dimel. This deadlift variation is practised largely for the increased lockout strength and speed at the top of the deadlift. However, there’s a twist. What? Yes! Because the Dimel Deadlift can also be performed like cable pull through to target the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. While this deadlift variation is more suitable for explosive contractions, slight modifications can be always be done to decrease the eccentric speed and forceful contraction of the glutes at the top of the movement before descending onto the next repetition. However, it is important to note that this exercise will increase spinal loading more than the cable pull through. Well, the reason is because the loading angles tend to be different and if performed properly most lifters will only reap benefit from adding it into their training. Although do make sure to lock the back and spine while moving only through the hips and use your glutes and hamstrings to forcefully control and contract during each repetition. If not, then be ready to bore the burden of painfully injuries!


That’s all about Cable Pull through and its twin brothers. But do remember that Glute training doesn’t need to be overly complicated and neither too simple. There should be a strong emphasis on the contractions and loading for all movements. These exercises should be performed with moderate loading to allow for best control and contractions rather than the rush for towards heavier loading and explosive reps. However, do note that the muscle hypertrophy doesn’t often occur maximally with a low rep or with explosive training either, so in case if that’s the goal, try to stick to the good old fashioned controlled, contracted high volume training. After all, as they say, old is gold and the same holds true in this case as well. Also, remember that there are no medals to be given for the strongest hip thrust and use this as a supplemental exercise for your deadlift and squat training.