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How to build a stronger back? 6 best back exercises with cables for men

Not only do back exercises help produce a strong back but it provides other benefits as well (Photo via Unsplash/Amol Sonar)
Not only do back exercises help produce a strong back but it provides other benefits as well (Photo via Unsplash/Amol Sonar)
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Ruby khanna

A big, broad “V-taper” back makes men look powerful and appealing, and various back exercises contribute to a stronger and wider back. However, a strong back goes far beyond a flattering appearance - it helps develop overall muscle mass and also provides various other benefits.

Though there are different back exercises that you can perform, exercises with cables are more effective and give desired results. Workouts done with the use of cables allow for easy movement in your arms. They put pressure on your muscles but do not stress your spine like other weight workouts do.


Some of the best back exercises that you can do with cables

1. Lat pulldown

The lat pulldown is a very basic back exercise. If you are aiming to get the V-taper look, then this is the exercise you need to focus on.

How to perform the lat pulldown:

  • Sit in a straight position with your feet flat on the floor and knees at 90 degrees.
  • Grab the cable bar with your palms facing downward and have a slightly wide grip.
  • Lean back a little at your hips.
  • Now engage your lats, pull the shoulder blades down and back and take the bar to your collar bone.
  • Slowly pull the bar again and get back to the starting position.
  • Do atleast three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
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2. Straight-arm pulldown :

A straight-arm pulldown is also among a few great back exercises that help build better upper back strength. This exercise entirely focuses on your lats.

How to perform a straight-arm pulldown?

  • On the upper pulley handle of the cable machine, attach a straight bar.
  • Grab the bar at your shoulder width and step back slightly. Make sure your arms are stretched properly and your feet are hip-width apart.
  • Now lock your elbows and engage your lats.
  • Pull the bar down to your hips and hold this position for a few seconds.
  • Slowly take the handle back to the initial position and repeat.
  • Do this exercise for three sets of 10 to 12 reps. Start with a lighter weight and gradually increase it.
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3. Archer Row

This exercise is one of the most potent single-arm cable back exercises that works on your trunk rotation. When doing this workout, you must coordinate your upper body, legs, and core such that you rotate sturdily.

How to perform archer row?

  • Put a single side handle on the cable machine. Make sure the handle is at your shoulder height.
  • Step aside from the handle and hold the cable with your arm and shoulders towards the pulley of the machine.
  • Pull the handle towards your armpit, brace your lower body and rotate your upper body simultaneously away from the machine, just as you do in archery.
  • Repeat with the opposite side.
  • Do three sets of 10 to 12 reps on each side.
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4. Seated cable row

A seated cable row is one of the best back exercises for your mid-back that engages your rhomboids and middle traps and targets the scapular retraction. This exercise helps build your back musculature and also works on your overall posture.

How to perform the seated cable row?

  • Sit straight on the seated cable row machine with your knees slightly bent and feet on the floor.
  • Grab the handle and make sure your elbows are closer to your torso.
  • Lean back at the hips and pull the handle towards your breastbone or sternum.
  • Hold this position for a second and push the handle back, straightening your arms to the starting position.
  • Do at least 10 reps of this exercise in 3 to 4 sets.
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5. Cable upright row

The cable upright row is one of the safest and most effective back exercises for your shoulder joints. When doing a cable upright row, your feet should be shoulder-width apart, giving you the right balance for the workout.

How to perform a cable upright row?

  • Stand straight, use the cable rope attachment and pull the handle down towards to your armpits while simultaneously squeezing your upper back.
  • Lift your chest as you push the handle to the starting position.
  • To avoid straining your shoulders during this exercise, make sure your form is sturdy and you have a tight grip on the handle.
  • Start slowly with two sets of 8 to 10 reps.
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6. Face pull

The face pull is one of the most efficacious back exercises that works great on your rotator cuff muscles and helps straighten your posture. It also keeps your joints safe so you may perform other heavier exercises with ease.

How to perform a face pull?

  • Attach the handles of the rope to a high cable machine.
  • Stand straight facing the pulley. Be distant enough so you may easily stretch your arms.
  • Now pull your elbows back and out in a way that your hands are above your ears and on either side of your head.
  • Control your movement and get back to the starting position.
  • Do atleast three sets of 10 to 12 reps.
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All the back exercises discussed above are great for building a stronger back and covers almost all the muscle groups of your back. These back exercises target your rhomboids, external rotator cuff muscles, latissimus dorsi, spinal erectors, and rear deltoids.


Edited by Sandeep Banerjee
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