It is perhaps the most forgotten butt exercise: the cable pull-through. That while the exercise is extremely effective, and also easier and safer to perform than the kettlebell swing, which is similar in movement. In addition, the cable pull-through can help you perform the deadlift better.
The advantage of cable pull througs is the movement from back to front, rather than down-to-top as with the squat and deadlift. This gives your glutes a unique stimulus. But the hamstrings also get a lot of work to do. Besides that, your lower back participates, but you should try to limit that role as much as possible.
Cable pull-throughs are performed in a pulley station with the pulley in the third lowest position possible (not the lowest – see video) and with the same rope you use for triceps pushdowns.
Stand with your back to the pulley station and grab both ends of the rope between your legs. Take a few steps forward to put tension on the cable. Place your feet a little further apart than you would with a squat (just beyond shoulder width), bend your knees slightly and bring your back almost parallel to the floor.
Now stand up straight by extending your hips and knees. Keep your arms straight all the time and keep your back straight. Return to the starting position by bending your torso forward and pressing your butt back. Don’t make it a reverse squat!
You really don’t have to use the entire weight stack to benefit from the pull-through. Rather use a relatively light weight and aim for 8-15 reps.
While a relatively simple exercise, there are a few things that can go wrong when performing pull-throughs:
- Legs that are too narrow: as mentioned, place the legs a little further than shoulder-width apart. Your knees should point outward during the movement;
- Move up and down: move your buttocks/hips back as you move to the starting position. So don’t bend your knees, which would cause a more or less up-and-down movement;
- Not going back far enough: to really pull the cable forward between your legs, you need to have it back far enough. Move back until your hands are past your knees. Your back is almost parallel to the floor at that point;
- Wrong back posture: maintain a natural curve in the back, without forcibly arching your lower back and without arching/bulging your upper back;
- Wrong head position: let your head follow the movement. So don’t force yourself to look straight ahead;
- Forgetting to squeeze the buttocks together: at the top of the movement squeeze your buttocks together and hold it for a while, with your legs stretched out.