You are currently viewing 8 Best Cable Back Workouts (2024)

8 Best Cable Back Workouts (2024)

Cables can be a fantastic way to strengthen your back muscles, and I’d love to share some great cable back workouts with you. While I personally enjoy doing pull-ups and using barbells for my back workouts, there are times when cables can be really effective.

Cables are especially great for beginners or those recovering from injuries. They allow you to focus on specific muscle groups like the traps or rear delts, which often get neglected when using free weights. Plus, you can easily adjust the exercises by changing the cable machine position or trying different grips.

Curious to know the best cable back workouts? Here are eight that you should definitely try if you want to build a wide back:

8 Best Cable Back Workouts 

Seated Cable Row 

The Reason for Doing It: The seated cable row targets muscles like the rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, erector spinae, and lower trapezius. It also engages your triceps, biceps, and core. You can experiment with different attachments to target different upper body muscles.

How To:

1. Choose your attachment before sitting down, such as a straight bar or a wide bar.
2. Adjust the pulley to chest height.
3. Sit down, raise your chest, and slightly bend your knees.
4. Slant your body forward a bit and keep your arms straight as you grab the attachment.
5. Retract your shoulder blades and pull the attachment towards your lower chest.
6. Pause briefly, then carefully return the attachment to its initial position.
7. Repeat for your desired number of reps.

Single-Arm Cable Row

I’ve got a great exercise to share with you that can help fix any muscular imbalances you might have, and it’s also gentle on your rotator cuffs. It’s called the Single-Arm Cable Row, and it’s really effective.

To start off, you’ll need a handle attachment and a cable machine with a pulley. Set the pulley at chest height, then take a step back so that your arm is fully extended. Use your left hand to grab the handle attachment and make sure your feet are positioned hip-width apart with a slight bend in your knees. It’s important to keep your head in a neutral position throughout.

Now, let’s get into the movement. Pull your shoulder blades back and begin to bring the attachment towards your left side. While doing this, try to keep your left elbow as close to your body as possible. Take a brief pause once you’ve reached the furthest point, and then slowly bring the attachment back to the starting position. Repeat this movement for the desired number of repetitions, and then you can switch over to your right side.

This exercise is great because it allows you to focus on one side at a time, which really helps with targeting specific areas and evening out any imbalances. Remember to listen to your body and adjust the weight accordingly. Keep up the good work!

Lat Pulldowns

If you’re involved in bodybuilding, you’ll definitely want to try out wide-grip lat pulldowns. They are fantastic for developing your latissimus dorsi (the “lats”) and biceps brachii muscles. Whether you’re working on bodyweight exercises like pull-ups or doing barbell exercises like bent-over rows, incorporating lat pulldowns can be a real game-changer.

To perform this exercise, grab the attachment with an overhand grip, palms facing away from you, and keep your hands a bit wider than shoulder width apart. Sit down and ensure your head is in a neutral position.

Start by lowering the attachment down to your upper chest, focusing on engaging your lats rather than relying too much on your biceps. As the bar approaches your torso, you may need to lean back slightly. Once you’ve reached this point, carefully raise the attachment back up.

Keep repeating this motion for your desired number of repetitions. Remember to maintain good form and enjoy your lat pulldown session!

Cable Face Pull

Why You Should Do It: Cable face pulls are a great way to strengthen your rotator cuff, rhomboids, and rear delts. Having stronger deltoids makes everyday tasks, like putting things on shelves, much easier. Plus, face pulls can help increase your shoulder joints’ range of motion.

How to Do It:

  • Set the cable machine to the right height using the rope attachment. Most people start with shoulder height, but you can experiment with lower or higher positions too.
  • Grab the rope with a neutral grip, palms facing each other.
  • Take a few steps back until your arms are fully extended.
  • Squeeze your glutes, engage your core, and lift your chest. As you pull the rope towards your face, imagine making a pulling motion.
  • When the rope approaches your face, open your hands so the rope lands on either side without hitting you. Pause for a moment.
  • Repeat the movement.

Cable Shrugs

Why You Should Do It: Cable shrugs mainly target your trapezius muscles. The trapezius is responsible for moving and stabilizing the scapula, and having a well-developed trapezius can also enhance your appearance.

How to Do It:

  • Set the cable machine to the lowest setting and attach a rope or straight bar (personally, I find a rope works best, but either will do).
  • Step back a little from the machine after grabbing the attachment. If you’re using a rope, hold it with a neutral grip and palms facing each other. If you’re using a bar, use an overhand grip.
  • Keep your arms straight and stand with your feet slightly narrower than shoulder-width apart. Maintain a neutral head position while engaging your glutes and core.
  • Lift your shoulders towards your ears by shrugging the attachment. Squeeze the muscles.
  • Return the attachment to the starting position and fully extend your arms.
  • Carry on with more repetitions.

Incline Cable Pullover

If you’re looking to spice up your training program, the incline cable pullover is an excellent choice. It’s a variation of the dumbbell pullover that specifically targets your upper body, including your lats, pecs, and core. Not only is it a simple and efficient exercise, but it can also help you build strength and muscle (or hypertrophy).

So, here’s how to do it:

  • Position a cable machine next to an inclined bench set at a 45-degree angle.
  • Adjust the pulley’s height to approach the top and choose a rope, straight bar, or slightly curved bar as your attachment.
  • Lie down on the bench with your back facing away from the cable crossover machine. You might need to make some small adjustments to get the bench in the right position.
  • Start by grabbing the attachment with an overhand grip, palms facing the ceiling.
  • Slowly lower the bar until it can’t go any farther, making sure your palms are facing the floor and you’re close to your quadriceps.
  • Return to the starting position in a controlled manner.
  • Repeat this for the desired number of repetitions.

Straight Arm Pulldown

Here’s another great exercise to strengthen your back: the straight arm pulldown. Performing this exercise correctly will primarily work your lats, which happen to be the largest muscle in your back. Use it as an isolation exercise to build serious muscle or as a warm-up for your back muscles. The choice is yours!

To get it right, follow these steps:

  • Grab a straight or slightly curved bar from a cable machine and adjust the weight to your desired amount.
  • Use an overhand grip (palms facing the floor) and position the cable at the highest point. While a close grip is an option, the wide grip is more commonly used.
  • Take a few steps back from the machine, creating some space.
  • Extend your arms straight in front of you and press the bar down. Remember, this movement targets your lats, not your biceps.
  • Slowly raise the bar back to its initial position.
  • Repeat this motion for the desired number of repetitions.

Reverse Cable Fly

The reverse cable fly is just as good for you as the standard cable chest fly, which is probably why you do it. This exercise primarily works your rear deltoids. It can also help improve your posture and be beneficial for other exercises like deadlifts and overhead presses at the gym.

Here’s how to do it:

  • The cable machine can be adjusted to shoulder or chest height – choose whichever is comfortable for you. The handles should be on both sides.
  • Grasp the handle closest to your left shoulder with your right hand, and then extend your left hand to grab the opposite handle.
  • Keep your posture upright and your head neutral.
  • Make sure your arms are straight ahead of you in this starting position. Your arms will cover the area of your wrists and forearms.
  • Once your arms are fully extended to the sides of your body, simultaneously pull both handles while slightly bending your elbows. Pause for a moment.
  • Slowly return both handles to their initial positions.
  • Repeat for as many repetitions as you want.
Cable Back Workouts

Benefits of Cable Back Exercises:

I have shared my favorite cable back workouts with you. I bet you can’t wait to give them a try. But before we dive into it, let’s take a moment to understand why including these exercises in your workout routine can benefit you.

First off, working your back with cables allows for a better range of motion compared to using free weights. It’s pretty cool because not only can you move in different directions, targeting different muscle groups, but it also puts more emphasis on your back muscles.

Another great thing about cable back workouts is the ability to isolate specific muscle groups. While exercises like dumbbell rows and pull-ups are fantastic for strengthening your back, they tend to engage other muscles too. But with cable routines, you can really zero in on certain areas and even tackle those muscles that might get overlooked when using dumbbells or barbells. That way, you can address any muscle imbalances you might have.

What I love about cable back exercises is their versatility. If you’re an experienced lifter, you can easily incorporate cables at the beginning or end of your workouts to target your entire back. Even if you have an injury that limits your range of motion, don’t worry! Cables are super adjustable, so you can tailor them to fit your specific needs. You can switch up your grip or adjust the position of the cables to modify the exercises and make them work for you.

Isn’t that awesome? Now you’re all set to give these cable back workouts a shot and enjoy their benefits. Get ready to rock your back muscles and have a blast!

How to Train Back Muscles with Cables:

Now that you have an understanding of the back muscles and the benefits of using cables for training, here are my suggestions to make the most out of your cable back exercises:

Experiment with different grips to find what works best for you.
Aim to train your back at least once a week to promote muscle growth and strength.

Cable Back Workouts: Final Thoughts

Cable back workouts provide a wider range of motion compared to free weights. They also allow you to target specific areas of your back by utilizing cables. If your goal is to build muscle mass and strength, try different grips until you find the one that suits you. Remember to include back training in your routine at least once a week. So go ahead and give cable back exercises a try!

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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