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Seated Cable Row: Complete Guide

Seated Cable Row

If you’re looking to build strength in your back muscles then the seated cable row is a great choice. This move targets your back muscles along with your arms. The seated cable row is performed on a horizontal cable machine with a flat bench. This equipment is available in most fitness centers. The most commonly used attachment for this exercise is the V grip bar. The V grip attachment targets your middle back to a greater extent. You can also use a resistance band instead of a cable machine if it’s not accessible.

Doing the seated cable row targets the major upper body muscles which are important for doing daily actions like pushing and pulling. Building a strong back helps in improving your posture and reduces the risk of injuries.

Adding seated cable rows or any kind of rowing exercise to your workout routine along with some pressing exercises immensely boosts your muscle growth. Rowing exercises also counter muscle imbalance due as constant tension is applied to many muscles at once. Due to the higher range of motion of rowing movements‌, your muscles become more agile which improves athletic performance.


Here are the golden benefits of doing seated cable rows regularly.

1. Targets Multiple Muscle Groups

The seated cable rows work multiple muscle groups of your upper body. The primary muscles include your latissimus dorsi, trapezius, and rhomboids. Other muscle groups like your arms, shoulders, and core act as secondary muscles for stabilizing this movement. Training the major muscle groups of your upper body with one move burns a large number of calories and tones your muscles. A strong upper body will help you not only in the gym but also in your daily life.

2. Improves Your Posture

While doing the seated cable row, maintain a good position by keeping your back straight and core engaged. Maintaining a good form helps in improving your posture. The major back muscles worked during this exercise help in keeping a good posture. Working on your posture is important as a hunch back can cause injuries while lifting heavy weights. Lower back issues are also common among people with bad posture.

3. Reduces Risk Of Back Injuries

When compared to other compound movements like the dumbbell or barbell row, the seated cable row puts the least stress on your lower back. The position of this exercise puts most of the stress on your upper back muscles while keeping your lower back engaged to stabilize the movement. Strengthening your major back muscles helps in keeping your lower back strong and injury-free.

Step By Step Instructions

Below is a detailed step-by-step guide to performing the seated cable row with the correct form. Performing this move correctly gets the most out of it and also reduces the risk of injuries.

1. Start this exercise by getting on the flat bench with your knees bent and back straight. Lean forward and grab the V bar attachment with an overhand grip. Retract your shoulders and engage your core.

2. Pull the cable attachment towards your lower abdomen region in a controlled motion. Keep your back straight throughout the movement. Breathe in while pulling the V bar towards your core.

3. Pause the exercise and squeeze your back muscles. Now, slowly return the cable attachment to the starting position. Breathe out while moving the V bar back to the start. This is one repetition of the seated cable row exercise.

4. Repeat for 4 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions. Keep increasing the number of sets and repetitions as you master this exercise. If you’re new to this move then try doing it with light weights and high repetitions.

Common Mistakes

Here are some of the common errors that can occur while doing the seated cable row exercise. Identifying these mistakes is crucial to keep you away from injuries.

1. Moving Your Torso

Keep your torso fixed on the flat bench while performing the seated cable row. Move your arms while keeping your torso stable. Moving your torso can put a lot of stress on your spine causing back injuries.

2. Rounded Back

Keep your back straight throughout the exercise. A hunched back can cause negative effects on your lower back which causes bad posture and back pain.

3. Lower Range Of Motion

Too much weight can cause a reduced range of motion. If you’re unable to pull the cable attachment towards your lower abdomen then it means the weight is too heavy. Reduce the weight and perform the exercise with correct form and a full range of motion.


The seated row can be performed in different ways according to your goals. Here are some of the famous variations of this exercise.

1. Wide Grip Seated Row

Replace the standard V grip with a straight bar attachment to perform the wide grip seated row exercise. This variation targets the middle back muscles like the trapezius and rhomboids. The deltoid muscles of your shoulders are also involved while doing this exercise.

When compared to the standard seated cable row exercise, the wide grip seated row does not work on your latissimus dorsi muscles while incorporating your shoulders.

To perform this exercise hold the straight bar with your hands wider than the width of your shoulders. Now, perform the same procedure as the standard exercise.

2. Seated Row With A Resistance Band

You can use a resistance band for doing the seated rows if you don’t have access to a seated cable machine. This variation targets similar muscle groups as the standard exercise.

To perform the seated row with a resistance band, Sit on the ground with your legs joined in front of you. Keep a slight bend at your knees. Place the band beneath the soles of your feet and press the ends while your palms are facing towards you. Engage your core.

Breathe in and pull the resistance band till your hands are above your thighs while keeping your back straight and torso fixed.

Pause the movement and slowly extend your arms to move the band back to the starting position. Breathe out as you return the band to the start. This is one repetition of the seated row with a resistance band. Repeat for 3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions. Use a light band for the first time. Replace it with a heavy band once you master this move.

3. One Arm Cable Row

This variation uses only one arm to do the seated cable rows. Using only one arm increases the intensity of the exercise as your muscles need to work harder to keep a stable position. It’s also a core challenge as your abdominal muscles hold your torso fixed and back straight.

To do this exercise, grab the cable attachment with only one hand while keeping the other at your side. The rest of the procedure is similar to the standard exercise.

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