How to Use a Cable Row Machine: 7 Best Exercises You Can Do Using This Machine

Best exercises using the cable row machine (Image via Pexels/Photo by Cesar Galeão)
Best exercises using the cable row machine (Image via Pexels/Photo by Cesar Galeão)
Shuvangi Sen Chaudhury

A cable row machine is a useful piece of equipment that most gyms have to help you grow your lats. It focuses on activating the muscles and creating pressure on the bigger and smaller muscles around the lats.

Additionally, the cable row machine works as a compound movement that allows you to work on more than one muscle group at the same time. Usually, the exercises done on this machine help the lat muscles and the biceps too.

Best Cable Row Machine Exercises You Can Do

Even though the machine focuses on your lat muscles, you can do various exercises instead of sticking to the classic cable row. Here are seven exercises you can do using thus machine:

1) Classic Cable Row

This is the most common exercise done using the machine. Set up the machine using a v-bar or a straight bar. Select a weight that works best for you, and move backwards to add slight tension to the cable.


Sit straight on a stable footing, and pull the bar towards yourself while keeping your back straight. At the top of the motion, engage your shoulder blades and lat muscles.

Hold the position, and squeeze for a second before moving to the starting position. Continue that for at least ten to 12 reps to complete one set.

2) Single Arm Cable Row

This exercise focuses on one arm at a time. You should attach the D-bar during this exercise, but your position remains the same as in the classic cable row.

Hold the bar with one hand, and pull it towards yourself. Ensure you pull it all the way, and engage the lat muscles. Keep your core engaged for better stability and balance. Repeat the exercise for at least 10 reps with each arm. You can use this as a burnout exercise following a pull day or back day.

3) Wide Grip Cable Row

The cable row machine allows you to target every part of your back muscles based on the type of grip you use.

When you do a wide grip cable row, you’ll be able to target the upper back. Additionally, it works on the rear deltoids as well. It’s important to work on your upper back, as this exercise can make your back appear thick and strong.

4) Standing Cable Row

To do this exercise, raise the settings of the machine, and attach any grip of your choice. Ideally, you can do this with a v-bar. Stand straight with slightly bent knees, and do cable rows. The movement focuses on your back muscles, especially the outer lats.

5) Standing Single Arm Cable Row

This is the same exercise as the standing cable row, but you need to use the D-bar for this exercise. Keep your core engaged and your free hand across your core muscles to maintain stability.


As you’re using only one arm, you should make the weight lighter, but add intensity over volume.

6) Seated High Cable Row

Another great way to use the cable row machine is by setting the bar at a height and sitting on the ground to do the exercise.

You can add ropes or the v-bar to feel some tension on your biceps when doing this exercise. However, it’ll primarily work on your lat muscles. It’s better to use this exercise for intensity to promote strength and muscle endurance.

7) Standing Low Cable Row

You can use the cable row machine to do the standing low cable row. Fix the rope bar or the v-bar at the bottom, and stand straight in front of the machine.


Move a few steps backwards while holding the bar to add a slight tension to the cable.Bend forward but keep your back straight and knees slightly bent.

To do the exercise, pull the weight towards you, and squeeze your muscles at the top of the motion. When you return to the starting position, control the negative. The more you control the negative, the more it boosts your muscles to grow stronger to withstand the additional resistance during weight training.

Edited by Bhargav


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