Cable machine workout variations you should try

Cable machine workout variations you should try

One of the best favor you can be doing your back is working out using a rowing machine. Although there are a lot of other muscle groups, the back is your greatest target. The cable row machine is also a great tool for the shoulders, the thigh muscles and arm strength.

Well, what’s so special about this workout? If you are a work at home person or you sit at your office all day, back pain might be a very common issue to you. I could whine about it all day and it is one of the medical condition that is very painful and it sucks!

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Sadly, getting rid of back pain isn’t quite easy. If you are serious with working your back, the rowing exercise is the best option you should take.

Now that you are here, I know that you have decided to try rowing exercise. Through this article, I’ll guide you on a variety of workouts you can do on a rowing machine.

What muscles does a cable row machine target?

Which muscles are targeted by a cable row machine
Credit; Ibrakovic from Freepik

The cable row machine primarily targets the latissimus dorsi or the lat and teres major muscles. These two muscles are extremely important for rowing, as they help to counteract the forward and lateral movement of the torso on the rowing stroke.

The lat runs from your lower back down to your shoulder blades, while the teres is located on your outer shoulders and stabilize the shoulders and back.

Along with several smaller stabilizer muscles, these two muscle groups are mostly responsible for extension in the rowing stroke (moving your hands and arms back toward your hips).

Because this exercise is a compound movement, it also works the muscles that run along your neck and shoulders.

The lower trapezius muscle actually helps to draw your shoulder blades together during rowing, while the upper trapezius helps to support your scapula.

As a result, the upper trapezius is responsible for supporting your scapula during rowing and extension in general. Enough of the science already!

How can the cable row machine be used specifically for rowing?

When rowing, your torso is usually in an extended position, so a seated cable row machine can provide a good workout for this movement. Keep in mind that the variable resistance on the cable row machine may be different than you expect, so if you just start out, it may take some time to get used to everything.

The combination of a low weight and a high resistance makes this exercise very effective at working on the muscles between your shoulder blades and hips.

These muscles are quite important for preventing injuries in rowing, as they are responsible for many movements that take place in rowing.

If you are new to this workout, try starting with a light resistance since you don’t want to overload your muscles at the beginning. You can start with barbell rows or other lighter weights and perform fewer sets of about 10 reps.

You don’t have your own, rowing machine to start out, get one from here and start the grind.

Workouts to do with a cable row machine
Credit; artroomstudio from Freepik

The following are different variations of workouts to try in a cable row machine

1. Lat pull down.

This exercise targets the muscles of the back, as well as the biceps.

The starting position involves sitting on the row machine bench with your feet in line with the footrests.

To begin rowing, you need to push away from the footrests and pull forward on the handle bar. Ensure that while you do this you are not rounding your back or tucking your pelvis.

If done correctly, this exercise will feel like it is targeting a line from your shoulder blades through to your lower back.

Credit; Katemangostar from Frepik

2. Squat row.

This is similar to the previous exercise, but instead of pulling your arms straight forward, you bring them back behind your body. To do this variation, have your feet at the footrests and rest your hands on the footrests.

To begin rowing, push through the footrests and pull using the cable.

Bring your hands back behind you as far as possible before rowing back.

3. One arm row.

As the name suggests, this exercise involves rowing with one arm at a time.

One study suggests that using one arm is twice effective to improve strength that using two. This is great for building strength in the back muscles, and you will also need to use your shoulder stabilizers in order to maintain a good posture.

4. Cable crossover.

This exercise can be done standing with your one foot in front of the other while you bend at the hips (keep your back straight always) or kneeling on a weight bench.

It is done by bringing the handles of the cable machine close to each other and then rowing them apart using your back muscles.

Cable row machine workout variations
credit; Ibrakovic from Freepik

5. Bent over row.

This is one of the most challenging exercises of them all, as it requires a fantastic level of strength in your back muscles. The goal with this exercise is to keep your spine straight and your shoulder blades pulled back.

It can also be done while sitting or kneeling on a weight bench. Bend your torso by the hips while keeping your back straight.

Pull the handles towards you moving the handles apart so that the shoulder blades almost touch each other. Use your back muscles to do this exercise. Repeat for a few more times.

6. High row.

This exercise is similar to the squat row, but instead of rowing with your arms extended directly behind you, the handles are pulled upward. Easy, right?

Cable row workouts
credit; Ibrakovic from Freepik

7. Upright rows.

This exercise also targets the muscles in the upper back and shoulders; it is done by rowing backward rather than forward.

To do this exercise, bring your feet together and point them in front of you.

Extend your arms into the air and hold the cable handles at a 90 degree angle.  

Then pull back on the handles, drawing your shoulder blades together.

Biceps curl row.

If you want to target the biceps muscles, the rowing machine is good equipment for that. This exercise targets the elbow flexion, as well as the wrist flexion in order to make a bicep curl motion.

To begin, stand on the cable machine with your feet apart and knees slightly bent or if it is a sitting rowing machine, just sit straight and Keep your arms straight as you hold the machines’ handles.

This is to help keep you from a rounded posture in order to prevent back injury. Flex your elbows as you pull the cable, bringing the handles towards the shoulders.

Keep doing it for a few reps and do it for the other hand.

Credit;Ibrakovic from Freepik

Bottom line!

The cable row machine can be a fantastic tool to include your workouts, but it’s important to take it easy at first. For those new to rowing, the choice of exercises will depend on how close you are to a rowing machine and how much weight you want to use at the beginning.

If you still don’t have the machine, be sure to get it at a discounted price here, it will make it easier for your exercises. When you get comfortable with this tool, choose a combination of exercises that work different muscles in your upper back, shoulders, and arms.

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Hi, I am a radiation therapist who loves writing about health, beauty and fitness. I also like book reviewing and socializing with people. Hope to share ideas and experiences with you.

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