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The Best Cable Exercises with an Ankle Strap

Sep 01, 2018

Which of these best cable exercises with an ankle strap should be added to your workout routine?

You might have heard of the unique benefits cable exercises have over other forms of exercises.

Cables have become increasingly popular in recent years since they work efficiently for both beginners and advanced bodybuilders.

Many people are already using or thinking about adding cable machines to their workout routines.


Cables as a Finishing Exercise

Cable exercises also provide a very good stretch and a good pump.

The best time to incorporate cable exercises is near the end of your program.

This is when you can maximize the pump and simultaneously stretch the muscle.

Make the most of this opportunity when the muscle fascia is loosened and muscle growth can easily occur.

Many advanced and professional bodybuilders have reported that using cables on a regular basis has added greater details to their muscles.

Related: 11 Ankle Strap Exercises to Trim, Tone, and Tighten


Cable Exercises for a Great Butt

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With the help of ankle straps and a cable pulley machine, you can add strength, size, and definition to your legs and butt.

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Related: A Workout With the Ankle Strap Pulley


Strong Core Needed

Rather than bouncing from machine to machine at the gym you can work your entire lower body with the cable machine’s low pulley and an ankle strap attachment.

The majority of lower-body exercises on the cable machine are done standing or slightly bent at the hips.

Keeping the proper form, which means holding your head, back, and pelvis in alignment, requires a certain amount of core strength.

If you notice your back arching during these exercises or feel any back pain after exercise, you need to strengthen your core.

Try doing more crunches, crunch twists, and planks until you can maintain proper form when adding the cable to your routine.

Some of the Best Cable Exercises

Best Cable Exercises with an Ankle Strap: Leg Extensions for Quads

  • To work the front of your thighs, stand up straight with your feet about hip-width apart and your back to the pulley.
  • Bend your knee so that your foot is 1 to 2 inches off the floor.
  • Your knee can point straight down or your thigh can be forward to about 45 degrees.
  • Tighten your ab muscles to keep your torso stable.
  • When your knee is back, you should feel little or no tension in the cable.
  • Push your leg against the resistance until it is fully extended without locking the knee, try to do this without your back arching.
  • If you can’t, stop the extension at the point where your back begins to arch. You will still get a good workout.
  • If you have difficulty with this exercise, try holding onto the back of a chair for support


Best Cable Exercises with an Ankle Strap: Hamstring Curls

Depending on whether your gym’s cable machine has a low or high bar you have two options for working your hamstrings — standing straight up or bent over.

This exercise requires support and you will need something to hold on to.

Both options are done facing the cable.


For the Standing Curl:

  • Step back with one leg so that your arms are straight in front of you. Extend your other leg, but don’t lock your knee.
  • Your heel should be slightly off the floor with your foot in a neutral position.
  • Pull back on the cable by fully flexing your knee.


For the Bent Over Curl:

  • If your cable machine has a low support bar, flex forward at your hips and step back on one leg so that your arms are straight.
  • The foot of your other leg should be slightly lifted off the floor when your leg is extended.
  • Bend your knee back against the resistance while flexing at your hips to bring your thigh up in front of you.


Tightening Your Glutes:

The Best Cable Exercises with an Ankle Strap - Glute toning with cable

  • As you’re standing facing the pulley, tighten your glute muscles.
  • Place your hands on your hips or hold onto the bar for support if the machine has one.
  • Step back with one foot and keep your other foot in a neutral position with your leg straight.
  • Lift your straight leg behind you by squeezing your gluteus against the resistance.
  • Return to the starting position.


Working the Inner and Outer Thighs

  • Stand sideways to the pulley, about an arm’s distance from the machine.
  • Attach the cuff on the ankle farthest from the pulley and place that foot just in front of the other.
  • With your leg fully extended, lift the cuffed leg directly out to the side as far as you can while resisting the tension.
  • Return back to starting position.
  • To work the inner thigh, turn so that your cuffed leg is facing the pulley. Again, you should be about arms-length from the machine.

The Best Cable Exercises with an Ankle Strap - Cable exercise for inner thigh

  • Start with your straight leg directly out to your side, then pull against the resistance, stopping when your foot is just slightly in front of the other.
  • Return to the starting position.


Best Cable Exercises with an Ankle Strap: How Many Weight and Reps?

Aim for two sets of 8 to 12 repetitions of each exercise per leg.

Remember the cable machines use stacked weights.

So, start with a weight where you can do eight repetitions but one that makes the last one difficult.

Then, continue using the same weight until you can do 12 repetitions.

When 12 reps are easy, move to the next weight.

Lastly, plan on working all your major muscles two to three times per week without working the same muscles on consecutive days.


Best Cable Exercises with an Ankle Strap: Cable Lateral Lunges

The Best Cable Exercises with an Ankle Strap - Woman doing cable lateral lungeCable lateral lunges are an incredible way to train your hamstrings, glutes, and calves.

  • Begin by attaching an ankle strap to your left leg and hooking up the cable pulley on the lowest possible height.
  • Once attached stand with your right shoulder (opposite the leg you have the ankle strap on) facing the cable machine.
  • Take a large side step with your left leg. Your knee should bend into a flexed, lunge position.
  • Hold this for one second.
  • Repeat for 25 repetitions on each leg.


Best Cable Exercises with an Ankle Strap: Cable Kickbacks

Cable kickbacks are a great way to really focus on your bottom.

  • Attach a strap to your ankles and keep the cable pulley on a low setting.
  • Face the machine and hold it. Your arms should help you balance.
  • Extend the weighted leg backward as far as you can.
  • Engage your core as you hold for one second at the top before slowly lowering the leg back to the starting position.
  • Complete 15 repetitions per leg.

Below: Watch How to Properly Do Cable Kickbacks


Best Cable Exercises with an Ankle Strap: Hip Flexion

Stand facing away from the machine with the ankle cuff around your right leg.

  • Contract your quads muscles on your right leg to keep your leg straight as you lift the leg up in front of you.
  • Slowly return to starting position.
  • Aim for 10 reps

The Best Cable Exercises with an Ankle Strap - Hip flexion with cable

Best Cable Exercises with an Ankle Strap: Cable Hamstring Curls

  • One of the best ways to get every muscle fiber in the hamstrings firing away is with cable curls. If you do this right this exercise will add toned muscle to your legs.
  • Keep the machine on the lowest setting and strap one ankle in.
  • Hold onto the machine as you face it.
  • As you balance on one leg, pull the weighted leg upwards. You want your heel to touch your buttocks.
  • Hold at the top for one second before slowly releasing.
  • Complete 20 reps on each leg.


Best Cable Exercises with an Ankle Strap: Cable Forward Leg Extensions

Cable forward leg extensions are a tough exercise, but the balance needed for this move means you’ll get a great toning workout.

  • Keep the cable pulley on the low setting and attach the strap to one leg.
  • Turn so that you are faced away from the pulley machine.
  • Lift the weighted leg slightly off the ground and bend your leg into a 90-degree angle.
  • Slowly extend the leg until it is perfectly straight. You should feel pressure in your quads and hip flexors.
  • Let the straight leg slowly release down to the 90-degree angle starting position.
  • While staying on balance, try to get 10 reps. Then switch legs.


Weighted Leg Raises

Ankle strap exercises aren’t just for legs. You can train your core, too. Weight legs raises are one of the best core exercises.

  • Grab a flat bench. Attach the cable to both your ankles at one time and keep them together.
  • Lie down on the bench with your weighted ankles toward the pulley machine.
  • Grab the bench or another machine nearby for balance.
  • Slowly lift both weight ankles straight into the air.
  • Once your body makes an “L” shape, you can slowly lower the legs back down.
  • You should really feel this move in the abdominal area.
  • Try for 20 reps.


Weighted Crunches

The Best Cable Exercises with an Ankle Strap - Weighted crunches with cableAnother great ankle strap exercise for toning the abs are weighted crunches.

  • Attach the cable to both ankles at the same time and keep your feet together. The pulley should be in the lowest position.
  • Lie flat on the floor. While your back is on the floor, slide your fingers under your head and lift your legs off the ground. You are now in a standard crunch position.
  • Begin doing crunches, but over-exaggerate the leg movement. By stretching the leg movement out, the weight of the cable pulley makes the exercise much more difficult.
  • Repeat for 25 reps.


Cable Lunges

You already know how important lunges are for developing the butt. Cable lunges make them that much better!

  • These cable lunges are basically backward lunges.
  • Attach the ankle strap to one leg and keep the pulley on the lowest setting.
  • Face away from the machine and walk out until you feel enough pressure from the pulley.
  • Pull the weighted knee to the chest while placing your hands on your hips. Balance.
  • Slowly drop back into a backward lunge.
  • At the bottom hold for one second in the lunge position, then swiftly come up into the knee to chest position.
  • That’s one rep.
  • Repeat for 15 on each leg

Related: What Muscles Do Lunges Work?


Final thoughts on The Best Cable Exercises with an Ankle Strap

The Best Cable Exercises with an Ankle Strap - Dark Iron Fitness Ankle StrapsCables used with an ankle strap are a unique isolation tool.

These exercises are a great option as a finishing exercise, so try to incorporate cable exercises near the end of your training session.

You’ll see desired results in no time!

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Related: What Is The Best Cable Workout?