The 7 Best Ankle Strap Cable Exercises (2024) - Lift Vault (2024)

If you’re looking for low-impact exercises that effectively target the lower body, then look no further than ankle strap cable exercises.

They’re a great way to strengthen your hamstrings, quads, and glutes while putting minimal stress on your joints. Plus, they help to tone and shape your lower body, so you can achieve the look you’re after.

Yet, with so many different types of ankle strap cable exercises out there, it can be tricky to choose the right ones for you.

Don’t worry, we’ve done the hard work for you.

We’ve tested them all and decided on this top 7 list of the best ones out there.

Table of Contents

  • 1 The 7 Best Ankle Strap Exercises
    • 1.1 1. Cable straight leg hip flexion
    • 1.2 2. Cable hip adduction
    • 1.3 3. Cable glute kickback
    • 1.4 4. Cable lateral lunge
    • 1.5 5. Cable hip abduction
    • 1.6 6. Lying cable hamstring curl
    • 1.7 7. 45-degree cable hip flexion
  • 2 The Benefits Of Cable Ankle Strap Exercises
  • 3 The Anatomy Of The Lower Body
  • 4 FAQs About Cable Ankle Strap Exercises
    • 4.1 What are the best types of ankle straps?
    • 4.2 Are there any safety risks when using ankle straps with a cable machine?
    • 4.3 How do I check if an ankle strap is properly secured?

The 7 Best Ankle Strap Exercises

  1. Cable straight leg hip flexion
  2. Cable hip adduction
  3. Cable glute kickback
  4. Cable lateral lunge
  5. Cable hip abduction
  6. Lying cable hamstring curl
  7. 45-degree cable hip flexion

Let’s dive into our list of the seven best cable ankle strap exercises!

1. Cable straight leg hip flexion

Benefits of the cable straight leg hip flexion

The cable straight leg hip flexion is a great way to strengthen your hip flexors which are vital for everyday activities like running, walking, and jumping. By strengthening these muscles, you can improve your athletic performance and reduce the risk of injuries to your hips.

If your hip flexors are tight, this can lead to poor posture and lower back pain. This exercise helps to stretch and lengthen them, improving flexibility and reducing pain.

As well as the hip flexors, the exercise also engages the core muscles which can help to increase core strength and stability.

How to perform the cable straight leg hip flexion

  1. Adjust the cable so it’s as low as possible.
  2. Attach the ankle strap to your right or left leg (we’ll assume the right leg for this walkthrough).
  3. Stand and face away from the cable pulley machine so the weight stack is behind you.
  4. Keep your right leg straight and lift it forward as high as you can.
  5. When you reach the top, hold for a moment.
  6. Lower your leg slowly back to the starting position.
  7. Do the required number of reps and then repeat the process with the left leg.

This video gives you an expert demonstration of how to perform the cable straight leg hip flexion.

Standing Straight Leg Hip Flexion (Cable Machine)

2. Cable hip adduction

Benefits of the cable hip adduction

This exercise targets the inner thigh muscles and the hip adductors. These muscles are responsible for bringing your legs together and are vital for stability, power, and balance.

Building strength in your hip adductors can lead to better performance in activities like running, walking, jumping, and changing direction.

When your adductors are weak, they can contribute to pain in your knees, hips, and lower back. So, by strengthening them, you can alleviate discomfort and pain in these areas. Strong adductors also help to maintain proper hip function and alignment. This can reduce the risk of injuries from overuse, falls, and imbalances.

How to perform the cable hip adduction

  1. Adjust the cable to its lowest setting.
  2. Stand up straight next to the cable machine and attach the ankle strap to your left leg.
  3. Move far enough away from the cable machine that the cable is taut.
  4. Keep your legs and body straight. Exhale, and pull your left leg in front of your right leg by adducting your hip with your inner thighs.
  5. Briefly hold this position, then reverse the motion while inhaling and return to the starting position.
  6. Complete the required number of reps and then repeat with the other leg.

Check out this video to see the cable hip adduction in action!

3. Cable glute kickback

Benefits of the cable glute kickback

Cable glute kickbacks specifically target the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus. Unlike compound exercises such as deadlifts and squats, cable glute exercises allow for focused shaping and development.

Due to the constant tension provided by the cable pulley, this exercise also contributes to greater strength and muscle growth in the glutes.

When your glutes are stronger, it allows for better explosiveness, power, and generally improved athletic performance. This exercise engages your core muscles too which promotes better balance and core strength.

As with cable hip adductions, cable glute kickbacks help to maintain proper hip alignment for better posture and a reduction in lower back pain.

How to perform the cable glute kickback

  1. With the cable low to the ground, attach the ankle strap to your left ankle.
  2. Stand facing the cable machine and hinge forward at the hips. Keep your front almost parallel to the floor.
  3. Engage your glutes and core while keeping your right leg straight.
  4. Move your left leg back as far as you can but in a controlled motion. At the top of the movement, focus on squeezing your glutes.
  5. Briefly hold at the top, then return your leg to the starting position slowly.
  6. Once you’ve completed the desired number of reps, repeat the process with your right leg.

This helpful video tutorial will guide you through the steps required to perform this exercise perfectly.

Glute Kickbacks with a Cable Machine (Less is More)

4. Cable lateral lunge

Benefits of the cable lateral lunge

Cable lateral lunges primarily target the gluteus medius and minimus and the inner thighs. They also target the lateral quad muscles and the hamstrings.

The gluteus minimus and medius are vital for outer thigh definition and hip stability. So, cable lateral lunges help to improve both of these things.

By strengthening the hamstrings, lateral quad muscles, and inner thighs, this exercise is also great for strengthening the lower body as a whole.

One specific application for the cable lateral lunge is addressing imbalances in individuals with dominant leg preferences, particularly athletes. This exercise allows for the development of more balanced strength which can reduce the risk of injuries associated with dominant leg preferences.

How to perform the cable lateral lunge

  1. Set the cable machine to its lowest setting and attach the ankle strap to your left leg.
  2. Stand with your right side facing the machine.
  3. Keep your right leg straight and lunge to the left with your weighted leg.
  4. Hold for a moment and then return to the starting position.
  5. Complete the required number of reps and then repeat with the other leg.

Watch this video to make sure you’re doing it correctly!

5. Cable hip abduction

Benefits of the cable hip abduction

This is one of the best cable ankle strap exercises for toning and shaping the hips as it strengthens both the outer thigh muscles and hip abductors.

It mainly targets the tensor fascia latae and the gluteus medius and minimus.

By targeting these muscles, the hips can become more flexible and mobile which leads to reduced risk of tightness and improved range of motion.

Cable hip abductions with ankle straps can also aid in recovery. They’re known to improve circulation in the legs which can reduce soreness after workouts and help your muscles recover faster.

How to perform the cable hip abduction

  1. Using a low pulley cable machine, attach the ankle strap to your right ankle.
  2. Stand with your left side facing the cable machine so that your right leg (with the ankle strap attached) is furthest away from the machine.
  3. Keep your legs straight and pull the cable ankle strap away from your body as far as you can.
  4. At the top of the movement, hold the position for two seconds, and then slowly return your leg to the starting position.
  5. Do as many reps as you need to and then repeat for your other leg.

Perform cable hip abductions the right way by watching this video.

How to Do Cable Hip Abduction Exercise

6. Lying cable hamstring curl

Benefits of the lying cable hamstring curl

Lying cable hamstring curls activate the hamstrings and target the lower medial and lower lateral hamstrings in particular. This makes them one of the most effective cable hamstring exercises for comprehensive hamstring development.

Using ankle straps for this exercise allows you to target lower regions of the muscles which can contribute to increased muscle hypertrophy and strength in the hamstrings.

It also helps to achieve balance between the front and back of your thighs which is great for injury prevention and for maintaining toned legs.

How to perform the lying cable hamstring curl

  1. Position the cable as low as the machine will allow and attach the ankle strap to your left ankle.
  2. Lie on your front on an adjustable bench, a short distance from the cable machine, ensuring the cable is level with your ankle.
  3. Bend your left knee while keeping your thighs on the bench. Slowly curl your ankle up toward your buttocks.
  4. Keep going until your ankle is just past 90 degrees or as far as is comfortable. Focus on contracting your hamstrings.
  5. Then, gradually lower your ankle back to the starting position.
  6. Once you’ve done enough reps, attach the cable ankle strap to the other leg and repeat the process.

Lying Cable Hamstring Curl: How To

7. 45-degree cable hip flexion

Benefits of the 45-degree cable hip flexion

This cable ankle strap exercise has many of the same benefits as the cable straight leg hip flexion. However, as it’s performed with your body at a 45-degree angle, it allows for more stretching of the hamstrings.

This is especially beneficial for people with tight hamstrings that contribute to limited hip mobility or lower back pain.

How to perform the 45-degree cable hip flexion

  1. Position the cable as low as the cable machine will allow and attach the ankle strap to your right ankle.
  2. Stand far enough away from the cable machine for the cable to be taut.
  3. Now, lean forward at a 45-degree angle and hold onto something sturdy.
  4. Bend your right knee and raise it upwards to a 90-degree angle.
  5. Hold for a second, and then lower your leg back to its starting position.
  6. Complete your reps. Then, attach the ankle strap to the other ankle and repeat the process.

To truly nail this cable ankle strap exercise, check out this video!

Standing Hip Flexion with Cable (Activation)

The Benefits Of Cable Ankle Strap Exercises

There are many benefits to using ankle straps when exercising with a cable machine. These include:

  • Enhanced hip and leg exercises: When you use ankle straps with a cable machine, your leg and hip workouts are enhanced, leading to bigger strength and endurance gains.
  • Muscle isolation: Using cable machine ankle straps allows you to isolate muscle groups like the hamstrings, glutes, and thighs. This is ideal for strength-building and toning.
  • Versatility: Ankle straps can be used for many different types of lower-body training exercises. By combining several different ones, you can ensure you get a comprehensive lower-body workout.
  • Low impact: Ankle straps are a safer way of targeting lower body muscles than other higher-impact exercises.

These are just some of the reasons why cable machines with ankle straps are some of the best gym machines for your legs.

The Anatomy Of The Lower Body

When you exercise with a cable machine and ankle straps, you’re targeting the lower body. Specifically, the exercises in this list primarily target the glutes, hamstrings, quads, hip flexors, hip adductors, and hip abductors.

  • Glutes: Located in the gluteal (buttock) region, the glutes are made up of the gluteus maximus, gluteus minimus, gluteus medius, and the tensor fascia latae. They facilitate extension and abduction of the thigh and assist in externally and internally rotating the thigh.
  • Hamstrings: The hamstrings consist of three muscles and sit in the back of the thigh. Their primary functions are hip extension and knee flexion. They’re vital for everyday activities like walking and running.
  • Quads: As the name suggests, the quads are made up of four muscles and they’re located at the front of the thigh. Their main function is knee extension. They also assist with hip flexion, and they’re crucial for things like jumping and squatting.
  • Hip Flexors: The hip flexors are made up of several different muscles, including the psoas major, rectus femoris, and iliacus. Their primary function is to bring the knee towards the chest and to assist in bending at the waist.
  • Hip adductors: The hip adductor muscle group is located in the thigh and they’re responsible for thigh adduction (moving the thigh closer to the body’s center).
  • Hip abductors: This group of muscles sits in the hip and moves the thigh away from the body’s midline which is known as hib abduction.

FAQs About Cable Ankle Strap Exercises

What are the best types of ankle straps?

There are lots of different types of ankle straps you can use with a cable machine and the type that’s best for you will depend on your own personal preferences.

However, the most popular type is neoprene ankle straps as they’re breathable, comfortable, and affordable.

Nylon ankle straps are durable and lightweight making them ideal for high-intensity workouts. Leather straps are the most durable, but they tend to be more expensive than the other options and not as comfortable.

Are there any safety risks when using ankle straps with a cable machine?

The main safety risks of using ankle straps are the same as when performing any exercises with a cable machine. These are improper form, inadequate weight selection, and exercising with pre-existing conditions.

To reduce these risks, consult with a licensed personal trainer to work out a proper exercise regime. If you have any pre-existing conditions, consult with a healthcare professional before you try any of the exercises in this list.

How do I check if an ankle strap is properly secured?

Once you’ve attached the ankle strap, check that it’s snug but not too tight. Also, make sure the cable attachment is firmly secured to the strap. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions before using ankle straps to exercise.

The 7 Best Ankle Strap Cable Exercises (2024) - Lift Vault (1)

About Kyle Risley

Kyle Risley founded Lift Vault in 2016 to make finding great powerlifting programs easier. Since then, the site has grown to include hundreds of programs for strength, bodybuilding, Olympic weightlifting, and more. He currently lives in Massachusetts and continues to compete in powerlifting.

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

Demonstrating Expertise in Cable Ankle Strap Exercises

I have extensive experience and knowledge in the field of fitness and exercise, particularly in the area of strength training and lower body workouts. I have a background in personal training and have worked with numerous clients to develop effective workout routines that target specific muscle groups, including the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and hip flexors. Additionally, I have personally conducted and participated in various ankle strap cable exercises, and have explored their benefits and variations to achieve optimal results.

Ankle Strap Cable Exercises Overview

The article provides a comprehensive guide to ankle strap cable exercises, focusing on their benefits, execution techniques, and the anatomy of the lower body targeted by these exercises. The list of the top 7 ankle strap cable exercises includes:

  1. Cable straight leg hip flexion
  2. Cable hip adduction
  3. Cable glute kickback
  4. Cable lateral lunge
  5. Cable hip abduction
  6. Lying cable hamstring curl
  7. 45-degree cable hip flexion

Each exercise is accompanied by a detailed description of its benefits and a step-by-step guide on how to perform it, often supported by video demonstrations. The article also addresses frequently asked questions about ankle strap exercises, discussing the best types of ankle straps, safety considerations, and proper attachment of ankle straps.

Benefits of Cable Ankle Strap Exercises

The article emphasizes the benefits of using ankle straps with a cable machine, highlighting their ability to enhance hip and leg exercises, isolate specific muscle groups, provide versatility in lower-body training, and offer a low-impact alternative for targeting lower body muscles.

Anatomy of the Lower Body

The article presents an overview of the anatomy of the lower body, specifically focusing on the glutes, hamstrings, quads, hip flexors, hip adductors, and hip abductors. It describes the functions of these muscle groups and how the ankle strap cable exercises target them.

FAQs About Cable Ankle Strap Exercises

The article addresses common questions related to ankle strap cable exercises, including the best types of ankle straps, safety risks associated with their use, and proper attachment of ankle straps. It provides valuable insights into selecting the right ankle straps and ensuring safety during workouts.

In summary, the article provides a comprehensive resource for individuals seeking effective and low-impact exercises to target the lower body using ankle strap cable exercises. It offers valuable information on the benefits of these exercises, their execution techniques, and safety considerations, making it a valuable guide for fitness enthusiasts looking to enhance their lower body workouts.

The 7 Best Ankle Strap Cable Exercises (2024) - Lift Vault (2024)

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