Are Glute Pushdowns On The Assisted Pull Up Machine Any Good?

glute pushdown
March 29, 2023 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “are glute pushdowns on the assisted pull up machine any good?”. Glute pushdowns have become a lot more popular in recent years thanks to Instagram influencers.

Now it is a quite common occurrence to see women in the gym doing this exercise on the assisted pull up machine. It does look awkward though and will typically elicit many unwanted stares from others.

Is this exercise actually any good or is it just a silly fad? This article will explore this topic and provide very interesting insights.

Are Glute Pushdowns On The Assisted Pull Up Machine Any Good?

Glute pushdowns are a strange looking exercise. They are done one leg at at time and allow you to work the glutes, quads and hamstrings.

They do provide some good work for these areas and will hit the glutes well. The problem is that you are counter balancing the weight with your own bodyweight and thus can’t overload the targeted muscles to the highest degree.

There are other exercises that are superior for glute activation such as the bulgarian split squat, RDL and hip thrust. Glute pushdowns can be a good exercise for getting blood flow into the glutes as a finishing movement.

They are not a recommended exercise for going super heavy as a mass builder. There are also some safety concerns when performing this exercise. 
glute pushdown

Good For Conditioning The Lower Body

The glute pushdown is good for providing a general conditioning workout for the lower body. It will work the glutes, hamstrings and quads.

As you are using one leg at a time you can isolate the muscles well. Overall, it is better suited for higher rep work and chasing the pump. Going too heavy on this exercise will increase the risk too much and is not really feasible. 

With this exercise you can get into full hip extension, that can help to really emphasise the glutes. This explains why it has become a popular exercise in the gym nowadays for women.

You will very rarely see men performing this exercise. But the reasons for this are varied. Men don’t tend to target their glutes to the same degree that women do. 

Men also rely more heavily on compound exercises such as the squat and deadlift for posterior chain work. 

Are Glute Pushdowns Better Than Assisted Pull Ups?

Now onto an interesting question – are glute pushdowns better than assisted pull ups? We all know that the assisted pull up machine is designed for people who are not strong enough to do regular pull ups.

The weight stack is designed to take weight off your body weight and allow you to do pull ups if you are not able to do so. Personally, I am not a big fan of using this machine for this purpose.

You are better off doing heavy lat pulldowns and assisted pull ups on a pull up bar by using bands. This will allow you to progress with the pull up more effectively.

So it could be argued that using this machine for glutes is a better idea than actually using it for it’s intended purpose. Just be wary of the fact that you should use the glute pushdown for higher rep volume work.

It is best served as a finishing movement for the glutes in my view.

Doesn’t Stress Your Lower Back

One good thing about the glute pushdown is that it doesn’t place too much stress on your lower back.

This allows you to concentrate on the glutes and hamstrings and focus on getting good quality muscle contractions.

Other exercises such as staggered leg romanian deadlifts with dumbbells can put stress on the lower back when the weight gets very heavy. This is particularly true if you already have a lower back issue or complaint.

Some people perform donkey kicks behind them on the smith machine to emphasise the glutes. This exercise can actually put some stress on the lower back. 

Many people would find the glute pushdown to be less painful and more comfortable.

Interesting Views Of Leah Valoroso

Leah Valoroso is a personal trainer who has some interesting views about glute pushdowns. In short, she believes that they are an ineffective exercise that only became popular because of Instagram influencers.

She echoes my views in the sense that she also recognises that this exercise can’t really be overloaded to the same degree as exercises like the bulgarian split squat or unilateral leg press.

She believes that hip thrusts are the best exercise for building glute size and strength. In the video she presents staggered stance hip thrusts as a far better alternative to glute pushdowns.

Final Thoughts

Are glute pushdowns on the assisted pull up machine any good? They are useful as a finishing movement and can help to provide a good pump in the glutes and hamstrings.

In terms of building glute size and strength. The loading potential is significantly higher with the hip thrust, bulgarian split squat and romanian deadlift. The leg press can also be performed unilaterally with a very high loading potential.

Therefore, there are far better alternatives to this exercise when it comes to training the glutes. This movement was made popular due to Instagram culture and influencers.

If you have any comments on the glute pushdown please leave them below. As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!

>> Can You Do RDLs And Hip Thrusts Together?

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