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14 Best Cable Back Exercises

cable back exercises

You might not see back muscles every time in the mirror, but you indeed feel the difference when these muscles are pumped. Enhanced physique, athleticism, and power are all pleasant consequences of proper back workouts. Developing a wide range of workouts on cable machines is easy because they provide a smooth form and constant tension. We’ve completed a list of the best cable back exercises to promote your success.

  • Lat Pulldown
  • Seated Cable Row
  • Face Pull
  • Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown
  • Cable Single Arm Bent Over Row
  • V Bar Pulldown
  • Kneeling Single Arm Lat Pulldown
  • Straight Arm Cable Pulldown
  • Cable Pullover
  • Cable Y Raise
  • Cable Pull Through
  • Archer Row
  • Cable Deadlift

1. Lat Pulldown 

The exercise works the back muscles, primarily the latissimus dorsi, but also the traps, rhomboids, and biceps. A cable machine makes the technique easier and guarantees your muscles will be loaded through the whole range of motion. Regular practice enhances your pulling power, needed for many more challenging strength workouts.

How to do a lat pulldown:

  • Sit inside the gym machine with the pads on top of your quadriceps.
  • Maintain a 90-degree bend in your legs while holding the bar.
  • Bring the handles down to your shoulders or chest level.
  • Make sure you pull the weight down properly, placing your shoulders in a position where they are not compromised. Keep your elbows slightly in front of you to feel full engagement.
  • Come back to the starting position.

2. Seated Cable Row 

Seated cable rows build upper-body strength by using several muscular groups across the body, including back muscles such as the latissimus dorsi, the erector spinae, the rhomboids, and the lower trapezius.

How to do a seated cable row:

  • Sit inside the low pulley row machine, placing your feet on the front platform. Knees should be slightly bent but not locked.
  • Lean over and grab the V-bar with a neutral grip (palms face each other).
  • Pull back until your torso is at a 90-degree angle from your legs. Keep your chest up and your back naturally arched.
  • Pull the handles back to your torso, keeping your arms close to your body.
  • When the handles touch the abs area, go back to the start.

3. Face Pull 

It is an isolation workout that targets your traps mainly. The movement also stresses several shoulder muscles, including the posterior deltoid, the teres major, and the teres minor. Try this technique if your shoulders are rounded. Its posture-improving effect is among the most effective ones.

How to do a face pull:

  • Set your pulley to be approximately your chest level. You don’t want to be pulling too far up.
  • Take a few steps back from the machine with an overhand grasp on the rope. Check that your shoulders are relaxed. You should have your legs shoulder-width apart.
  • Bring the rope up to your face. Always keep your elbows higher than your wrists. Feel your back retraction and compress your shoulder blades.
  • Return to the starting position.

4. Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown 

This workout is ideal if you want to build up your back muscles. During this exercise, the lats are targeted and worked to their absolute limit. Regular practice improves your posture, prevents back pain, and prepares back muscles for new workout challenges.

How to do a reverse grip lat pulldown:

  • Attach a handle with a wide grip to the lat pulldown machine and assume a seated position.
  • Place your hands shoulder-width apart and grasp the bar in a supinated (reverse) grip.
  • Pull the bar to your chest while maintaining a straight head and spine. It is vital to maintain shoulder tension and compress the shoulder blades at this stage.
  • Avoid dragging the load behind your neck. Pull down till your chest is reached in front of you.
  • Come up with your elbows extended.

5. Cable Single Arm Bent Over Row 

The single-arm cable seated row is a cable row variation that develops the upper back muscles one side at a time. It works on various muscles, including the lats, traps, rhomboids, and rear deltoids. It also targets the biceps, but to a lesser extent.

How to do a cable single arm bent over row:

  • Grab the cable stirrup. Step back away from the pulley, with your foot on the same side as your exercising arm. Position it out to the side far behind your front foot.
  • For support, bend over and place a free hand above the knee. Maintain a straight back and slightly bowed knees.
  • Pull the cable attachment to the side of the body, drawing the shoulder back. 
  • Return until your arm is fully extended and your shoulder is stretched forward.

6. V Bar Pulldown 

The V bar pulldown mainly targets the latissimus dorsi. Good posture and enhanced stability are pleasant consequences of proper lats engagement. The exercise also involves the biceps, rhomboids, and rear delts, making a move beneficial for most muscles in your back.

How to do V bar pulldown:

  • Put the pulley in the highest possible position on the cable machine. Hold the bar with both hands (palms facing each other).
  • To strengthen your lats, even more, expand your chest and retract your shoulder blades. Keep your elbows tucked in as you bring the bar down to your chest.
  • Keep your abdominals tight as you lower the bar, so you don’t arch your back too far.
  • Take a break and put the weight back where it was.

7. Kneeling Single-Arm Lat Pulldown 

In this variant of the lat pulldown, you just use one arm and kneel halfway to the floor. Because of this distinction, some stimulation is sent to the abdominals and the legs. Kneeling single-arm lat pulldown is perfect if you’re seeking a lat pulldown alternative that works almost every muscle in your body.

How to do a kneeling single-arm lat pulldown:

  • The pulley should be positioned at the highest point of your cable machine.
  • Position your body so that one knee is touching the ground at a right angle. 
  • If you’re favoring your right knee, your left hand should grasp the grip and vice versa. Your rear foot ought to be flat on the floor. 
  • Keep your shoulder blades back and down. Lean forward just a little bit. 
  • Then, while maintaining your chest up, pull the handle down. You shouldn’t let your elbow get beyond your body.
  • Return to the start.

8. Straight Arm Cable Pulldown 

The straight arm cable pulldown will benefit the triceps, upper-back muscles (trapezius, rhomboids), and the obliques. The strength of these muscles is crucial for maintaining correct posture and a steady shoulder joint.

How to do a straight arm cable pulldown:

  • Put your feet shoulder-width apart and stand in front of a high pulley cable machine. Get your palms broader than your shoulders and grab the handle.
  • You should stretch your arms straight before you while bending your body forward 30 degrees. This is where you’ll begin.
  • Exhale as you drag the bar down straight until it meets your thighs. Take a deep breath as you return to the starting position.

9. Cable Pullover 

This excellent standing cable exercise emphasizes the lats and other back and core stabilizing muscles. The move is often used to supplement strenuous back exercises like pull-ups and barbell bent-over rows. The fundamental aspect of the technique is the shoulder extension.

How to do a cable pullover:

  • Pick the right add-on and connect it to the cable machine’s upper frame. You might use either a straight bar or a V-bar.
  • Extend your arms completely, grab the bar, and step back. Ensure your feet are shoulder-width apart. 
  • The proper position for your upper body is a 45-degree forward bend. Bend your knees slightly and swing your hips back. To fully extend your lats, shrug your shoulders forward.
  • Squeeze your lats to initiate the action and pull the bar down and back toward your torso. Press the elbows into the body towards the hips.
  • The path of the bar should be somewhat curved. When you reach the bottom of the motion, your elbows will be fully bent.

10. Cable Y Raise 

Shoulder strength may be improved quickly and easily with the help of a cable Y raise. The “Y” shape formed by the athlete’s arms during the motion is a reason for the exercise’s title. All three heads of the deltoid muscle are predominantly worked on during the movement. Secondary muscle groups this exercise targets include the lower trapezius, rhomboids, and rotator cuff muscles responsible for supporting the shoulder.

How to do a cable Y raise:

  • To generate some resistance, seize the handles and walk a bit backwards. Keep your feet hip-width apart and your hands at shoulder height as you stand. 
  • Initiate the lifting motion while maintaining a rigid stance. Shoulders also need to be held still. Your body will form the letter “Y” at the peak of the motion.
  • As you lower the weight back to the beginning position, feel the strain on the targeted muscles. Make an effort to keep your chest, shoulders, and torso still. 

11. Cable Pull Through 

The cable pull-through is a hip-extension-based strength-training activity. It’s one of the most effective methods to load the glutes. Cable pull-throughs are also an excellent way to strengthen your whole posterior chain. The exercise is great for warming up muscles, increasing endurance, strengthening hip flexors, and addressing muscle imbalances.

How to do a cable pull-through:

  • Face the machine. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and knees bent.
  • Hold the rope with a neutral grip. Ensure you don’t round your back.
  • Take a few steps back, but not too far. Lean forward to stretch your hamstrings.
  • Pull the rope out, hardly squeezing the glutes. Let your hips initiate the movement.
  • Don’t overwork arms. Emphasize glutes and hamstrings.

12. Archer Row 

The rhomboids and shoulders both get a good workout during an archer row. This is true for both the straight arm isometric posture, where you are working your rotator cuff and rhomboids and the pulling phase, where you are loading the shoulders.

How to do Archer row:

  • Set the cable machine up so the pulley is at chest level. 
  • Stand in a split stance, putting the right leg behind and putting it on the toes. Keep your knees slightly bent.
  • Grab the handle in the right hand with a neutral grip. The left hand remains stretched out and straight in front of you.
  • Pull the cable towards your chest, imitating the “archer” move. Rotate a bit and open your chest at the top of the movement. Then, go back to the start.
  • Don’t shrug your shoulder; aim for a still posture throughout the range of motion.

13. Cable Deadlift 

The primary muscles used in a cable deadlift are the hamstrings and glutes. The lower back, rear shoulders, upper back, traps, and forearms also receive some load. Cables are superior to free weights because they allow you to keep the muscle taut as you work.

How to do a cable deadlift:

  • Start with the bar at the lowest setting on a cable machine.
  • Keep your feet hip-width apart and your heels under your lower back.
  • Engage your abs, expand your chest, and keep your back slightly arched.
  • Take a deep breath in, and gently lower the bar to the ground while bending at the hips. 
  • Begin a lifting motion after your hamstrings feel a little stretched. As you reach the peak, thrust your hips into the action to activate them.

14. Standing Cable Row

Standing cable rows strengthen the lower and core body parts while also improving the upper back and shoulders. It’s one of the finest workouts for anybody wishing to strengthen their upper body and enhance their posture.

How to do a standing cable row:

  • Put your feet shoulder-width apart in front of a cable machine and bend your knees slightly. 
  • Get a low-hanging straight bar attachment and a broad grip.
  • Maintain a forward chest position and a straight back while pulling the bar toward your body. 
  • Pause at a movement’s peak and go back.


A range of back exercises focusing on the lats, the upper midback, the lower back, and all the supporting muscles in between are necessary to achieve a well-balanced level of back strength. In this regard, cable workouts have a lot to offer. In addition to training your back, cable workouts save your spine the stress and provide a constant load on the targeted muscles. Just pick the exercise from the list above, try it, and see the effect yourself!

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