Cable Row

  • Alternative Names: Seated cable row, low cable row, close grip cable row
  • Type: Strength
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Equipment: Cable machine, V-handle
  • Muscles Targeted: Middle and upper back, biceps, shoulders, lats
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Average Number of Sets: 2-3 with 8-10 reps each
  • Variations: Single arm, standing, wide grip, high, bent over, and reverse grip cable rows
  • Alternative: Bent over dumbbell row, bent over long bar row, lying T-bar row

The cable row is a back- and shoulder-strengthening exercise performed with a cable machine. The machine has certain advantages over free-weights because it allows you to work against the same amount of resistance while engaging the muscles evenly. If you find it challenging to work with free weights, you can do this workout to keep your lats, erector spinae, delts, forearms, and biceps under a constant level of tension all through the movement.


  • Doing cable rows improves your posture and back strength, helping you to prevent muscle imbalances while performing bench presses or other pressing movements.
  • By creating a constant level of tension, it gives your muscles a greater amount of stretch without using heavier weights.

How to do Cable Rows

Sit down on a low pulley cable row machine and position your feet on the crossbar or front platform provided, keeping your knees bent slightly. Lean over backward and hold the V-bar handles using a neutral grip, while maintaining the natural alignment of your back. Extend your arms and pull back until the torso is perpendicular with your legs so that the lats are stretched as you grab the V-bar in front of you. Keep your torso stationary in this starting position. While breathing out, pull the V-handles towards your body until your arms touch the abs. Squeeze your back hard and hold the contraction for one second. As you inhale, slowly move the V-handle back to the initial position.

Seated Cable Row Tips

  • Do not swing your upper body back and forth to prevent lower back injury.
  • Keep your shoulders from slouching over while extending your arms.
  • Avoid using momentum to pull the V-handles back.


  1. Single Arm Cable Row: Is similar to the basic cable row except that you do it with one arm at a time.
  2. Standing Cable Row: Done by standing in front of a cable row machine with your knees slightly bent.
  3. Wide Grip Cable Row: Involves holding a straight bar attachment with a wider-than-shoulder-width grip.
  4. High Cable Row: Is similar to the standing cable row except that the cable pulley is placed above your head height.
  5. Bent Over Cable Row: Performed by bending forward at the waist and then pulling the rope attachment toward your torso.
  6. Reverse Grip Cable Row: Is similar to the basic seated cable row except that you do it by grabbing a straight bar attachment with an underhand grip.

Alternative Exercises

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