How To Do A Cable Pull Through And Why You Should Do It
Recently, glute and hip training have been gaining a lot of attention and for good reason; your glutes and hips play a part in pretty much every athletic movement. Building a stronger posterior chain will make you a better athlete, a stronger lifter and can even help you achieve a more appealing physique. Cable Pull Through
However, there is one more exercise that I feel is extremely under-utilized and can provide a few different benefits from the exercises mentioned above. That exercise is the cable pull through.
I rarely see anybody performing a cable pull through in the gym and when they do, it is always done half-heartedly as an exercise tagged on to the end of a workout. By dismissing the cable pull through, you could be losing out on some big gains for your strength and physique.
This article will display to you some of the main advantages and benefits of the cable pull through. I will also give you the step by step guide on how to perform a cable pull through properly for maximum effectiveness.
Benefits Of The Cable Pull Through
You should never just throw an exercise into your training plan for the sake of it. You should also not just rely on somebody telling you “it’s a great exercise”.
With that in mind, before I get to how to do a cable pull through, I will run you through the main benefits of the exercise so you can make your own decision if it aligns with your individual goals and is worthy of a place in your training program.
Teaches An Effective Hip Hinge
I know this may not seem like the most exciting point, to begin with, but it is an extremely important one for most people and it is something that many individuals struggle with.
Learning to hinge forward at your hips and keep a neutral spine as you bend over is vital for performing other movements safely and effectively. Squats, good morning, kettlebell swings and deadlifts are just a few examples of some staple lifts that require you to learn how to hip hinge properly.
It isn’t only gym lifts that will benefit from learning a proper hinging pattern; movements you make in daily life and during sporting events will become safer and easier for you as you learn to engage the correct muscles.
Makes You A Better Athlete
A strong, powerful posterior chain is one of the top priorities for almost any athlete, especially those that perform in team sports like football or basketball.
All of the explosive movements that you perform place a high demand on your hamstrings, hips and glutes. Sprint speed, jump height and even punch power can all be improved by developing a strong posterior chain.
Removes The Load from Your Back
During a cable pull through, there is very little external load on your spine. This actually has a few different benefits.
Firstly, it allows you to really target and load up your hips and glutes by shifting more of the focus onto those muscles as opposed to your lower back.
A rather common problem with exercises like good mornings is using too much lower back to get the weight up instead of the hips. The angle of the movement and loading pattern with a cable pull through helps to eliminate this problem by making it much easier to control your hips separately from your back.
Taking the weight off of your spine and not compressing it is another big advantage of this cable loaded exercise. Heavier barbell exercises like good mornings or Romanian deadlift place higher compressive forces on your spine, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can be a problem when combined with a lot of other exercises that do the same.
Overusing movements that place large loads on your spine increases the risk of a back injury. Training smart and finding ways to effectively work your target muscles without increasing injury risk should be a priority and the cable pull through allows for this.
The constant tension effect is one of the main plusses of cable training with any exercises. When it comes to the cable pull through, the same applies.
By constantly pulling against you, the weight forces your entire body to remain tight and in a strong position throughout the complete movement. There is no point during the exercise where you can relax.
The extra time under tension is great for ingraining full body tightness, which will help you to maintain stronger positions for longer periods of time. On top of that, more time under tension can also lead to extra muscle breakdown and growth.
How To Perform A Cable Pull Through
The premise and execution of the cable pull through are relatively simple, which is another reason it is a great exercise. However, you must learn how to do it properly if you want to receive all of its’ benefits. Here is the step by step guide:
- Set up a cable machine with the rope attachment fixed at the very bottom position.
- Face away from the cable machine with the rope lying on the floor and between your legs.
- Bend down and grasp one end of the rope in each hand. Walk forward a few paces so that there is some tension on the cables.
- Place your feet just outside of shoulder width apart.
- Keeping your spine neutral and chest up, tip forwards by pushing your hips behind you. Your knees should remain “soft” with a slight bend.
- Once your hips are back as far as you can get them, you should feel a big stretch in your hamstrings. At this point, thrust your hips back through to the start position by activating and flexing your glutes hard.
- Make sure you return to a full standing position and squeeze your glutes at the end of each rep. Repeat the process for your next rep.
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There are two main errors that people encounter when executing the cable pull through.
The first is tipping forward too far and allowing the spine to round. To combat this, focus on keeping your shoulders back and down, which should allow you to keep your chest up.
With your chest up, push your hips back until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. This is the point at which you should reverse the movement; going much further will cause your back to be pulled into a rounded position.
The second mistake is using the quads in the movement. This is also quite common with a kettlebell swing and is caused by bending the knees too much during the eccentric part of the exercise.
To help with this problem, try bending your knees very slightly at the beginning of each rep and do not allow them to bend any further during the movement. The amount of knee bend should really just be enough to unlock your knees so that your legs aren’t completely straight. Make sure you are not committing those two common errors and you should be able to use the cable pull through to its’ full potential.
Final Thoughts On Cable Pull Throughs
I honestly think the cable pull through is an exercise that needs to be brought back into popularity. With the trend of kettlebells coming through over the past decade or so, the pull through has been somewhat replaced by the swing.
The kettlebell swing is also a great exercise but the cable pull through has many benefits that the swing does not so including both in your training may be sensible.
As I always encourage, the only way you can really know is to give the exercise a good run in your own training routine. Stick with it for at 4-6 weeks and then make a judgement on whether or not it has benefitted you enough to keep up with it.
Of course, be sure to let me know how it all goes in the comments section; it’s always great to hear your thoughts on different exercises and training methods!