How to Do the Cable Row

How to Do the Seated Cable Row -- Positioning the Body

Medical Images

The seated cable row is performed on a weighted horizontal cable machine with a bench and foot plates as you can see in the demonstration photo. It is an excellent all-round compound exercise for developing mainly the middle back while offering useful arm work as well. The usual care applies, especially if you’ve suffered from lower back or shoulder problems.

Muscles worked: back muscles in general, particularly the latissimus dorsi; forearm muscles, upper arm muscles.

Body Position

  • Sit on the platform with knees bent and grasp the cable attachment. It's often a triangle handle but may be a bar.
  • Position yourself with knees slightly bent and so that you have to reach to grab the handle with outstretched arms yet without curling the lower back over. Apply the 'straight back' that you learned in the squat and deadlift exercises.
  • Brace the abdominals and you're ready to row.

How to Do the Seated Cable Row -- Body Movement & Check Points

Medical Images

Body Movement

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

  • Target the middle to upper back by keeping the back straight and squeezing the shoulder blades together as you row, chest out. Even though it's called a row, it is not the classic rowing action that you might use on the aerobic rowing machine.

  • Return the handle forward under tension to full stretch remembering to keep that back straight even though flexed at the hips. Repeat the exercise.

Check Points

  • Keep a straight back, but it can flex slightly at the hip to allow a full range of motion.

  • Squeeze the shoulder blades (scapula) together. This is important for most 'pull exercises' emphasizing the back.

  • Return the weight under tension to the starting position. Don't clash the weights.

  • Be cautious if you have an existing or past shoulder or lower back injury.

Row on down to the final exercise in the series, the lat pulldown.

If you need to, check out the

top ten list and the basic training and safety information


Continue Reading