Cable Row Back Workout – 10 Useful Exercises For Bigger & Stronger Back

cable back workout

Cable row back workout or the inclusion of cables in your back workout regime will strengthen your back in a miraculous way. A stronger back (metaphorically and literally) translates to better life.  Cable back workout accelerate the process of gaining muscle mass in dorsal area of your body and in improving the back strength.  Cable back workout majorly works by engaging all the primary and secondary muscle groups that are involved in making your back stronger.

A huge upper body is a head turner and bigger back plays a key role in making your upper body look swoon worthy. A stronger back makes a stronger individual. Back strength plays a crucial role in lifting weights, overall mobility, function and posture. Back exercises focus a group of muscles that are interconnected making the workout process a little complicated than the usual workouts.

A proper back workout regime must focus every muscle group involved for the balanced and stronger back. The back muscles include – rhomboid major, rhomboid minor, levator scapulae, trapezius, latissimus dorsi. Therefore cables are suggested to enhance the effect of your workouts.

cable back workout

Benefits Of Using Cable Row Back Workout Regime

1. Versatility

The cable back machine is the most versatile fitness kit when it comes to performing the majority of workouts. It can work for any muscle group and can be worked at various angles and directions.

2. Engage more muscles at one time

 A cable back machine helps activate your core muscles better as compared to seated machines in the gym. More than one muscle group is engaged at one time, creating greater challenges and hence better results.

3 Better strength gains

Cable back exercises result in better strength gains because when you are using cables you are putting constant tension(something dumbbells can’t do) on your back muscles, simultaneously engaging your traps, rhomboids, deltoids and latissimus dorsi. Constant tension means your muscles are getting worked up faster and hence you are going to get better results.

cable back workout

Cable Row Back Workout :-

1. Seated Cable Row

This exercise works up your middle back and strengthens it,  while also offering useful arm work.

How To –
Sit upright and place your feet on floor.
Bend your knees.
Extend your arms and hold the cable.
Move your shoulders back and down.
Breathe out.
Bend your elbows to pull the cable, keeping elbows tucked in and back neutral.
 Pause for 1 second.
Breathe in. Extend your arms slowly.

That’s one set
12-15 reps

2. Cable Lat Pull down

Lat Pulldown is a great exercise as it puts constant tension on your muscles.

How To
 Grasp the bar with a wide grip.
 Look forward and keep back straight.
 Retract the shoulders and pull the bar down in front of your upper chest.
Squeeze your lats at the bottom.

One set
12-15 reps

Lat Pulldown has many variants.  The variants differ by the position of your hands on the bar. The different position of your hands on the bar/cable engages the different groups of muscles and hence all the variants play important role in overall back strength.

Muscles focussed by Lat Pulldown variants

Close Grip Lat Pulldown – Latissismus Dorsi muscles and upper back muscles
Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown – Lower lats, biceps
Wide Grip Lat Pulldown – Upper back and more lats
Single Arm Lat Pulldown – Upper body strength, lats

3. Archer Row

Also called single-arm row, this exercise is an excellent cable back workout technique to improve your trunk rotation.

How To

Set up to single side handle on the cable machine at shoulder height.
Stand side-on to handle with a wide stance.
Hold the cable with your working arm.
draw the handle towards your working armpit as you rotate your upper body away from the machine as if you are drawing back a bowstring.

2-3 sets
10-15 each side

4. Face Pulls

Face Pulls when included in your cable back workout regime helps in working up the posterior deltoids of the shoulder.

How To

Set up the cable pulley machine
Reach up and grasp the handle with both hands and your palm should face in.
Step back until your arms are fully extended, then engage your core and lean back slightly.
Pull the handle of the attachment straight towards your forehead.
Keep your palms facing in as your elbows flare outward towards the sides.
Pause. Slowly, reverse the movement and extend your arms back.
Maintain a good posture throughout.

ALSO READ: Chest Supported Row :10 Min Workout For Stronger Back

 5. Standing Cable Row Grab the left pulley with your right hand and right pulley with your left hand.

This exercise targets the upper back and shoulders. It also increases stability and strength in lower body and core.

How To
Stand in front of a cable machine with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
Grab a straight bar attachment with wide grip.
Pull the bar towards your torso.
Keep your chest forward and back straight.
Pause. Return to starting position.

6. Cable Shrug

The Cable row back workout targets the upper back muscles and shoulders. Cable back workout routine should use this exercise as a means of enhancing the functional capacity of trap muscles.

How To –

ttach a flat shoulder-width bar to a low cable pulley.
Stand in front of the machine.
Slightly bent your knees.
Grab the cable at waist height and then slowly shrug your shoulders towards your ear.
Pause. Get back to starting position.

7. Cable Reverse Flys

The Cable row back workout targets upper back and shoulders.

How To
Grab the left pulley with your right hand and the right pulley with your left hand.
Crossing the hands in front of you.
Move both your arms back and out of the sides.
Do not bend the hands.
Slowly return the handles to start position.

8. Cable Deadlifts

This is a great compound Cable row back workout exercise to build the lower back, glutes and legs.

How  To
Set up stir ups close to ground level in a dual cable machine.
Stand facing away from the cable machine.
Grab the stirrups with a firm grip.
Squat down holding the stirrups. This is your starting position.
Slowly stand up and once your hands reach knee level.
Stand straight back to starting position.
Rep -2-3

9. Cable Lying Pullover Extension

Arnold Schwarzenegger loved this Cable row back workout exercise and now you know the secret to his cobra back.

How To
Attach a rope to the cable and set it to a level near the ground.
Place a bench near the cable machine.
Lie down on your back with your head towards the cable machine.
Grab the rope with a neutral grip.
Stretch your arms behind your head with elbows slightly bent
Pull rope straight over your head till your arms are straight above your chest.
Relax. Get back to starting position.
Do the desired number of reps.

10. Cable Twisting Standing Row

This Cable row back workout works up to several muscles simultaneously. This is a unilateral workout and will let you engage your core actively throughout the exercise. It also benefits muscle groups involving glutes, hips and other lower body muscles.

How To
Attach the cable handle just below the chest.
Grab the handle with one hand.
Step back and slightly bend the knees.
Keep your arm straight and rotate the waist towards the cable.
Keeping elbow close to your body, slightly pull your waist backwards.
Hold this stance.
Get back to the starting position.
Do the desired reps.

Safety Tips While Performing Cable Back Workouts

The Cable row back workout machine is generally a very safe piece of exercise equipment with no immediate or far off safety threats. But a few steps can be taken to enhance your safety while using it.

Check the cable back machine before using it
Checking cables and attachments for damage,  before using them  will minimize the chances of getting injured.

Ask for assistance
If you will be using the cable machine for the first time, always take assistance from a certified trainer or assistant.  

Do not over exert yourself
Like every exercise, over doing the cable back workout might result in muscle strain, or injury. Listen to your body and take it slow. 

ALSO READ: Why Yo-Yo Diet Is Terrible? 3 Easy Ways To Repair Your Metabolism


Can you build muscles with cables?

Yes, cable machines have the potential of building your muscles efficiently. Though dumbbells and rods are more efficient tools for muscle growth than a cable pulley, but cables help in maintaining the good balance between muscle groups and helps in improving functional aspects of muscles too.

What is cable machine exercises good for?

Honestly, cable machine exercises are good for everything. You just have to plug in the right accessories  and cables are a one-stop solution to the full-body workout. They work on back muscles, glutes, chest, shoulders, legs and so on. Cable back workouts are popular add ons too.

Do you need cable machine?

If you are starting out and need a more flexible, safe  and balanced way of working out, then yes! Cables allow you to move through multiple planes of motion allowing you to gain strength and functional flexibility in muscles.

Is a cable machine more effective than free weights?

Cable machine makes you remain more in control with movements. Mobility with cable machine remains more fluid and balanced. Using a series of attachments means that you have less chance of getting injured because machine is taking the maximum tension and you don’t directly pull and push against gravity.


Cable row back workout provide an excellent choice for working up rhomboids, lats and traps. Cables allow free movement of your limbs and put constant tension on your muscles which cannot be achieved through dumbbells.  

By practising the right technique, you can build a bigger, stronger back. Since the Cable row back workout machine works by isolating muscle groups, it gives you an ample opportunity to work up your weaker muscle and relax your overworked muscles by using appropriate variants.

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