How to Do the Seated Cable Row

The seated row of cables develops the muscles of the back and forearms. It is an excellent general compound exercise to primarily develop the mid-back, while also providing useful work for the arms.

Seated rope rowing is performed on a weighted horizontal rope machine with a bench and footrest. It can be a standalone team or part of a multiple gym. It can be used as part of upper body strength training.

For example, in this series of exercises for new weight trainers, the lateral pull is performed after the seated cable row.


The seated cable row is a pulling exercise that works the muscles of the back in general, especially the latissimus dorsi, also known as the "lats." It also works the muscles of the forearm and upper arm, as the biceps and triceps are dynamic stabilizers for this exercise. Other stabilizing muscles that come into play are the hamstrings and gluteus maximus.

This exercise is designed to build strength and not as an aerobic rowing exercise. Although it is called rowing, it is not the classic rowing action that you can use on the aerobic rowing machine.

It is a functional exercise so many times during the day that it pushes elements towards your chest.

Learning to wrap your abdomen and use your legs while keeping your back straight can help prevent strain and injury. This straight back shape with the abs engaged is also used in squat and deadlift exercises.

Step by step instructions

Sit on the platform with your knees bent and hold the anchor cable. It usually has a triangular handle, but it can be a bar. Stand with your knees slightly bent so that you have to reach out to grasp the handle with your arms extended, but without bending your lower back. Prepare your abs and you will be ready to row.

Pull the handle and weight toward your lower abdomen while trying not to use too much momentum to row by moving your torso back with your arms.

Aim from the center toward your upper back, keeping your back straight and compressing your shoulder blades as you row, chest out.

Return the strap forward under tension to the full stretch, remembering to keep your back straight, even if it is bent at the hips. Repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions.

Common Mistakes

Avoid these mistakes to get the most out of this exercise and avoid straining.

Rounded back

Your back should be straight at all times, not bent. You can flex your hips slightly to allow a full range of motion.

Moving torso

Use your arms to move instead of moving your torso. Keep your torso still throughout the exercise.

Very fast return

Return the tensioned weight to the starting position. Don't hit the weights and don't stop or jump at the bottom of the lift.

Reduced range of motion

If the weight is so heavy that you cannot perform the full range of motion in good shape, it is too heavy. Reduce your weight and make sure you get the full range for this exercise.

Modifications and variations

This exercise can be done in a number of ways to suit your needs and goals.

Do you need a modification?

Start with light weights when beginning this exercise. As your body adjusts, you will be able to add more weight.

Ready for a challenge?

You can change the grip and grip of your hand to target different areas of your back and how much you are using your biceps.

It can also run a row of single arm cables. Keep your free hand by your side while the other pulls the strap toward your belly button.

This can be helpful if you have one side of your body that is much stronger than the other.

The one-arm exercise is also more of a core challenge, as the muscles work much harder to stabilize and prevent the torso from twisting.

Safety and precautions

Be careful if you have a previous or existing injury to your shoulder or lower back. You can talk to your doctor or physical therapist to see if it is advisable. Stop exercising if you feel sharp pain.

Enjoy Watching This Video About Strength

Source: ScottHermanFitness

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