Straight-back seated cable row exercise
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Straight-back seated cable row

Exercise details

Main muscles activated

Muscles activated by Straight-back seated cable row


Starting position

  1. Sit on the cable row machine and place your feet on the foot rests.
  2. Grasp the double-row bar and slide your buttocks backward until your knees are almost straight.
  3. Lean backward until your torso is vertical. Your back should be straight, the cable should be pulled taut, and your arms and shoulders should be stretching forward.


  1. Keeping your torso vertical, back straight, and elbows close to your body, exhale as you slowly pull the double-row bar to your abdomen.
  2. Hold for a count of two, stick out your chest, and squeeze your back muscles.
  3. Inhale as you slowly return the double-row bar to the starting position, with your arms and shoulders stretching forward.
  4. Repeat.

Comments and tips

  • Keep your torso vertical, your back straight, and your elbows close to your body.
  • Pull with your elbows, not with your biceps.
  • As their names imply, the seated cable row is essentially the same exercise as the straight-back seated cable row except that with the seated cable row you lean backward during the concentric phase of the repetition and lean forward during the eccentric phase. The back and forth movement of your lower back dynamically works your erector spinae (spinal erectors), which act as synergists for that exercise. Since there is no back and forth movement of your lower back during the straight-back seated cable row, your spinal erectors act as important stabilizers. Keeping your back straight also allows you to use much more weight.
  • The straight-back seated cable row is a major compound pulling exercise with which you can build serious upper-body strength and muscle mass. As with all bilateral (two-sided) exercises, you should occasionally perform it unilaterally (one side at a time) so as to develop unilateral upper-body strength and get more stabilizer muscles involved.
  • See also the straight-back seated cable row with straight bar, the straight-back seated underhand cable row, seated twisting cable row, and the bent-over dumbbell row.

Straight-back seated cable row video


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