Cable row

Exercise details

  • Target muscles: The back in general
  • Synergists: Erector Spinae, Middle and Lower Trapezii, Rhomboids, Latissimus Dorsi, Teres Major, Posterior Deltoid, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, Brachialis, Brachioradialis, Pectoralis Major
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Pull

Starting position

  1. Sit facing the cable row machine and place your feet on the foot rests.
  2. Grasp the v-bar and slide your bottom backward until your knees are almost straight. You torso should be leaning forward and your arms should be fully extended.


  1. Exhale as you slowly lean backward, straighten your back, and pull the v-bar to your abdomen. Pull your shoulders back and stick out your chest at the top of the movement.
  2. Hold for a count of two.
  3. Inhale as you slowly lean forward and return the v-bar to the starting position, with your arms fully extended and your lower back bent forward.
  4. Repeat for the recommended number of repetitions.

Comments and tips

  • Do not excessively arch your back.
  • Avoid swinging your torso back and forth, as you can cause lower back injury.
  • Start light and add weight gradually to allow your lower back time to adapt.
  • Many people think that your biceps acts as a synergist in rowing exercises such as the cable row. In fact, it only acts as a dynamic stabilizer, along with the long head of your triceps brachii.
  • Most people will tell you to keep your back straight and your chest out throughout the cable row exercise. That’s known as the straight-back cable row. It’s a different exercise, which doesn’t dynamically work your erector spinae (spinal erectors). The exercise described above (the cable row) does dynamically work your spinal erectors.

Cable row video


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