Creative Ways to Use the Ankle Strap for a Cable Machine

Lifter using ankle cuff on a cable machine

They’re called Ankle Cuffs, but don’t let the name limit them.  

Of course, you can loop these padded circles around your ankles and attach them to the cable machine for lower-body exercises. But they can do so much more, too.

Just about anything you can fit inside an ankle strap can benefit from this attachment.  

Here’s a closer look at some creative ways to get the most use out of an ankle strap. 

What is a Cable Ankle Strap? 

Ankle cuff on a cable

Ankle straps, also called ankle cuffs, attach to your functional trainer or cable machine via D rings to add more exercise options. REP’s cuffs are made from a nylon strap with high-quality Neoprene foam padding for comfort. They’re lightweight, small, and easy to store, attach, and use.  

How to Use an Ankle Strap with a Cable Machine?  

This attachment is incredibly versatile, depending on how you connect it to the cables and use it. As you’d expect from the name, Ankle Cuffs are most commonly used for lower-body training. Use the Ankle Cuff for standing hamstring curls, cable hip abductors/adductors, cable crunches, donkey kicks, and more.  

Glute kickbacks are one of the most popular exercises with a cuff. With the pulley on the lowest setting, face the machine and lift your leg backward, contracting your glutes.  

Or use a similar setup but raise the weighted leg so your heels touch your glutes for hamstring raises. You can also work your hamstrings lying facedown on a flat bench. 

Lifter using ankle cuff to work glutes and hamstrings

For leg raises, lie on your back on a flat bench, feet facing the cable machine. Hold onto the bench and raise your leg to a 90-degree angle, so your back and legs make an “L” shape. Keep your leg straight. Lower and repeat. This also works your core. In fact, most ankle strap exercises do double-duty on your core; it’s required to stabilize your body and keep you from falling over.  

Another muscle group to hit: hip abductors. With your side facing the cable machine and the pulley set to the lowest setting, raise your leg to the side, using your glutes. For the inner thigh muscles (adductors), you will flip around and lift your leg in the opposite direction – so the weighted leg crosses in front of the standing leg.   

Ankle Strap for Upper Body 

Slip your wrist in an ankle strap and use it just like a handle for many exercises -- eliminate the grip factor. In that, it works like a wrist strap, so you can focus on the muscle contractions and not be limited by your grip strength. You can also slide it up higher onto your forearm or even upper arm, depending on the exercise.  

Put it on your wrist to isolate your shoulders and remove your forearms from the load.  

Using an Ankle Cuff like this is helpful for people with wrist injuries, tendinitis, or hand injuries, too.  

With the cuff on your arm, use it for lateral raises, bicep curls, tricep pushdowns or extensions, single-arm lat pulldowns, and more. Attach two ankle straps to your ankles and connect to low cables or bands to add resistance to pull-ups. The versatility is really limited by your imagination -- well, that and physiology.