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8 Best Cable Back Workouts (2024)

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  • Post last modified:21 February 2024

Cables are a great way to work out your back.

Actually, you don’t need to check the prescription on your glasses. I love doing pull-ups with just my body and working out my back with bars or barbells. There are, however, times when these are appropriate and times when a good cable back workout is required.

The safer cables are great for people who are just starting out or who have hurt themselves. You can focus on specific muscle groups better with wires, like the traps or the rear delts, which can be missed when you use free weights. Of course, there are a lot of different exercises that can be quickly changed by moving the cable machine or using a different grip.

Are you buying? I want to think so. There are eight great cable back workouts that you should do right now if you want to build a wide back.

8 Best Cable Back Workouts 

Seated Cable Row 

The Reason for Doing It: The rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, erector spinae, and lower trapezius are among the upper back muscles that are worked by the seated cable row machine. During this exercise, your triceps, biceps, and core will all be worked. I enjoy that you can experiment with different attachments to target different upper body muscles.

How To:

  1. Choose your attachment before you sit down. I like to do seated rows with a straight bar or a wide bar, although the V-grip is the most popular.
  2. Make sure the pulley is at chest height before getting on the seat or the floor.
  3. Raise your chest and reposition yourself such that your knees are slightly bent.
  4. To grab the attachment, slant your body forward a little bit (keep your arms straight).
  5. Draw the attachment toward your lower chest area after retracting your shoulder blades.
  6. After a little pause, carefully move the attachment back to its initial position.
  7. Continue till the desired number of times.

Single-Arm Cable Row

The Reason for Doing It: This exercise, which involves rowing one side at a time, has the potential to correct muscular imbalances. You cannot obtain this by practicing with dumbbells or performing the barbell row. In addition, compared to other workouts, it is much easier on the rotator cuffs.

How To:

  1. For this workout, you should utilize a handle attachment to raise the cable machine’s pulley to chest height.
  2. Step back from the machine until your arm is straight, then grab the attachment with your left hand.
  3. Step your feet hip-width apart and flex your knees slightly. Maintain a neutral head position.
  4. Pull back your shoulder blades now. Next, move the attachment in the direction of your left side. As much as possible, keep your left elbow close to your body.
  5. After a brief pause, carefully reverse the motion to return to your starting position.
  6. Repeat for the remaining reps, then switch to the right side.

Lat Pulldowns

The Reason for Doing It In the bodybuilding community, wide-grip lat pulldowns are an essential since they are great for developing the latissimus dorsi and biceps brachii. Both bodyweight lat movements, like pull-ups, and barbell exercises, like bent-over rows, may benefit from their help.

How To:

  1. Pick up the attachment with an overhand hold. Keep your palms facing away from you and your hands somewhat wider than shoulder width apart.
  2. Your head should be in a neutral position as you sit down.
  3. Lower the attachment to your upper chest, keeping your lats engaged rather than your biceps. As the bar approaches your torso, you will need to slant back slightly.
  4. Carefully raise the attachment once more.
  5. For repetitions, keep going.

Cable Face Pull

The Reason for Doing It: You can train your rotator cuff, rhomboids, and rear delts using a cable face pull. Life is easier when your deltoids are stronger, particularly when it comes to overhead tasks like putting things on shelves. Your shoulder joints’ range of motion may be enhanced with face pulls.

How To:

  1. Using the rope attachment, raise the cable machine to the necessary height. The most popular starting position is shoulder height, but I also enjoy doing face pulls from lower or higher positions.
  2. Using a neutral grip, hold onto the rope with your hands facing each other.
  3. Retrace a few steps until your arms reach your maximum length.
  4. Squeeze your glutes, contract your core, and raise your chest. The term comes from pulling the rope in the direction of your face.
  5. Open the rope when it approaches your face so that it lands on either side of your face rather than hitting you. Here, pause.
  6. Repeat.

Cable Shrugs

The Reason for Doing It: The trapezius muscles are the main target of cable shrugs. The scapula is moved and stabilized by the upper, middle, and lower groups of fibers that make up the trapezius2. Furthermore, larger traps also look nice!

How To:

  1. Set the cable machine to the lowest setting and fasten it with a rope or straight bar (a rope works best for me personally, but either would do).
  2. Step back from the machine a little bit after grabbing the attachment. If you’re using a rope, you should use a neutral hold with your palms facing each other; if you’re using a bar, you should use an overhand grip.
  3. Keep your arms straight and your feet slightly narrower than shoulder-width apart. Maintain a neutral head while engaging your glutes and core.
  4. In order to raise your shoulders toward your ears, shrug the attachment. Tighten.
  5. Return the attachment to its original position and extend your arms.
  6. Go on for more reps.

Incline Cable Pullover

The Reason for Doing It: An excellent addition to any training program, the incline cable pullover is a variation on the dumbbell pullover that targets your upper body, specifically your lats, pecs, and core. It’s a basic but efficient approach to add strength and muscle (or hypertrophy).

How To:

  1. A cable machine should be placed next to an inclined bench with the bench at a 45-degree angle.
  2. Adjust the pulley’s height so that it approaches the top. Fasten a rope, straight bar, or bar with a small curvature.
  3. Your back should be facing away from the cable crossover machine as you lie down on the bench. To get the bench in the right position, you might need to make a small adjustment.
  4. Using an overhand grip, grab the attachment (your hands should be toward the ceiling when you start).
  5. When the bar can go no farther, slowly lower it. Your palms should now be facing the floor and you should be in close proximity to your quadriceps at the finish.
  6. Go back to the beginning in a controlled manner.
  7. Continue performing the repetitions.

Straight Arm Pulldown

The Reason for Doing It: If doing these exercises correctly, you will continuously work your lats, which are the greatest muscle in your back. Pulldowns with a straight arm (sometimes called cable pulldowns) are an isolation exercise that can be used to build serious muscle or to warm up your back muscles. You have the option.

How To:

  1. Using a cable machine, grab a straight or slightly curved bar and adjust the weight to the desired amount.
  2. You should use an overhand grip (palms facing the floor) and the cable should be in the highest position. Although a close grip is also an option, the most popular grip is wide.
  3. Move a few steps away from the device.
  4. Press the bar down in front of you with straight arms. This pulling workout works your lats, not your biceps.
  5. Raise the bar to its highest point gradually.
  6. Repeat.

Reverse Cable Fly

The reverse cable fly is just as beneficial as the standard cable chest fly, which is probably why you do it. With this exercise, you’ll engage your rear deltoids. You may also be able to enhance your posture in addition to using this for other exercises in the gym, such as deadlifts and overhead presses.

How To:

  1. The cable machine may be raised to a shoulder- or chest-height (both function!). This can be done by placing handles on either side.
  2. Grasp the attachment nearest to your left shoulder with your right hand, then extend your left hand to grasp the opposite handle.
  3. Maintain an upright posture and a neutral head.
  4. Ensure that your arms are straight ahead of you in this position. You’re going to start with this. The area of your wrists and forearms will be covered by your arms.
  5. Once your arms are fully stretched to the side of your body, pull both handles simultaneously while bending your elbows slightly. Pause.
  6. Place both attachments back in their initial positions slowly.
  7. For as many repetitions as desired, keep going.
Cable Back Workouts

Benefits Of Cable Back Exercises 

Now that you know my favorite cable back workouts, you’re undoubtedly eager to attempt them right now. Oh, wait. Not yet. First, you’ll need to grasp the benefits of incorporating them into your workout regimen.

Better Range Of Motion

When working out your back with cables, you can achieve a greater range of motion than with loose weights. Additionally, you have the option to move in numerous planes of motion. For instance, you can target different muscle groups by raising or lowering the cables. Furthermore, using wires for exercise tends to put greater strain on your back muscles.

Isolates Muscle Groups

I love activities like dumbbell rows and pull-ups. The drawback is that while they strengthen your back, they also target a variety of other muscle groups. This implies that they are typically far more difficult to complete, particularly after a long day. You can target specific muscle areas (some of which are overlooked when training with dumbbells or barbells) with cable back routines. Muscle imbalances can occasionally be corrected by isolating specific muscle groups.

Versatility 

The uses for cable back exercises are many. For those who are more experienced lifters, cables can be used at the beginning or conclusion of a workout to work the entire back. You can still get a great workout even if you have a range-limiting injury of any kind since wires adjust to fit your specific range of motion. You can easily modify any of the numerous exercises by adjusting the grip or the location of the cables.

How To Train Back Muscles With Cables 

You receive both the anatomical knowledge of the back muscles and the benefits of training the back with cables. My suggestions to get the most out of your cable back exercises are shown below:

  1. Sets and Repetitions. Aim for six to twelve reps per set to maximize the benefits of hypertrophy. Depending on how many exercises you perform overall, I’d suggest completing three to five sets of each exercise. Less sets are okay if you perform more.
  2. Different grips. The great thing about cables is that you can easily switch up an exercise by adjusting the grip or the cable machine’s location. Try various attachments and low, medium, and high positions to find what works and what doesn’t.
  3. Frequency of training. Building strength and muscular growth in your back requires at least one weekly training session. Either complete a cable back workout or incorporate a few of these movements into your free weight routine. You have the last say.

Cable Back Workouts: Final Thoughts 

When compared to free weights, cable back workouts offer a wider range of motion. In addition to this, you can target particular back muscle areas by employing cables. If your goal is to gain more muscular mass and strength, try out several grips until you discover one that works for you. Try training your back at least once a week.

Cable Back Workouts: FAQ

Q1: Are Cable Pulls Good For The Back?

Yes, Cable Back Workouts like cable pulls are excellent for targeting various muscles in the back, including the lats, traps, and rhomboids, providing effective resistance throughout the range of motion for muscle growth and strength.

Q2: What Cable Exercises Work Lower Back?

While cable exercises primarily target the upper back, incorporating moves like cable rows and straight-arm cable pulldowns can engage and strengthen the lower back muscles effectively.

Q3: How Do You Train Lats With Cables?

To train lats with cables, perform exercises like wide-grip cable pulldowns, single-arm cable rows, and cable face pulls, focusing on pulling movements that engage the lats fully.

Q4: How Do You Do Cable Pulls For The Upper Back?

To target the upper back with cable pulls, utilize exercises like wide-grip cable pulldowns, straight-arm cable pulldowns, and cable face pulls, focusing on squeezing the shoulder blades together for maximum engagement.

Brian Shaw

Brian Shaw

Brian Shaw is a renowned fitness guru, accomplished author, and elite-level personal trainer devoted to guiding others toward optimal health and vitality. With a wealth of experience spanning decades in the fitness realm, Brian has mentored numerous individuals in realizing their fitness aspirations through tailored exercise regimes and nutritional guidance. His literary works embody a comprehensive approach to wellness, emphasizing the significance of harmony, sustainability, and mental fortitude in attaining enduring results. Brian's writings offer actionable insights, evidence-backed methodologies, and unwavering motivation to inspire readers on their journey to wellness. Brian is steadfast in his mission to democratize fitness, ensuring it is both accessible and enriching for all.

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