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Cable kickbacks are one of the best glute exercises you can do. However, as effective as they are, they’re also quite easy to do incorrectly. Doing so can transfer the emphasis to the hamstring, lower back, hip flexor, or even groin. If you want to use cable kickbacks to build a tight bum, then read below for tips and information on making sure you get the most out of this exercise.
Unlike many other posterior chain movements, lifting heavy is not the name of the game with cable kickbacks. However, volume isn’t necessarily your goal, either. Instead, your chief aim needs to be quality reps and maximizing the mind-muscle connection. If you don’t, you’re going to unintentionally recruit other muscles and miss out on the glute development you’re looking for.
Because rep quality is your main priority, keep the reps in the 8-10 range. 3-5 sets should be enough. However, if you find your rep quality decreasing as your set goes on, feel free to alter it to 4-6 sets of 6-8 reps. Maintain a controlled eccentric while exploding through the concentric. Hold the contracted position for a second or two and err on the side of going too light instead of too heavy.
The biggest problem most trainees have with cable kickbacks is the execution of the movement itself. This is why focusing on maximum rep quality is so important. Done correctly, your working leg should travel through an arc that’s in a perfectly straight line parallel with a forward facing torso.
The arc your leg moves in should be no problem as long as you get into proper starting position as demonstrated in the video above, then pivot and hinge only at the hip. Where people run into problems is the actual direction this arc points.
If you’re not careful, the arc can begin to point to the left or right. Done properly, your leg will rotate directly backward, ending up in line with where your foot started on the ground. However, if you’re not cognizant of where your leg is going, your foot can end up swinging inward or outward. This would actually see your foot ending up behind your other leg or lined up outside your torso. In the contracted position, your foot should be in line with your glute.
One last thing to keep in mind is that you want to keep your torso stationary. It can be tempting to want to lean back to try and maximize the contraction even further. However, doing so will often just end up contracting and/or shifting emphasis to the lower back, instead. Keeping the glute the prime mover is what’s going to lead to the best development, and that’s what going to actually build the tight bum you’re looking for.
Cable kickbacks are one of the absolute best exercises you can to do maximize glute development and contraction, as well as build a tight bum. You just need to take care that you execute it in the proper movement pattern. Failing to do so generally won’t leave you open to injury, but it can waste your time.