Seated Cable Rows Exercise to build middle back muscles

Why is seated cable rows such an effective exercise?

Seated Cable Rows is an Excellent exercise to build middle back muscles. It can be done with wide and narrow grips.

It can be done seated or standing, with wide or narrow grips and one arm or two arms.

Check the execution technique and blast your back muscles.

Purpose - To Build the Upper/Middle Back Muscles.

This works on Lower lats as well.


This exercise is done on a Cable rowing machine with separate handles.


1. Sit on a Seated Cable Pulley rowing machine with legs slightly bent and feet supported against the crossbar.

2. Take hold of the handles with your arms extended and back stretched.


3. Pull the handles so that they come as close to the lower chest/abdomen as possible.

4. Thrust your chest out while pulling with your body in upright position.

Common and Uncommon Variations

I am going to give you 6 cool variations for this exercise

1. Cable Rows with a Bar handle or rope-handle instead of a Pulley/V-grip

2. Wide grip cable rows

3. Narrow Grip Cable Rows - They are also called close grip seated rows

4. Underhand Grip cable rows - Seated

5. One arm cable rows

6. Standing Cable Rows - One arm and two arm

Common Mistakes

  • Working with straight knees - Keep your knees slightly bent to avoid lower back pressure.
  • Working with a rounded back - Remember a rounded back is a wrong back. Keep it straight at all times. An easier way is to contract your abdominal and lower back muscles.
  • Moving upper back back and forth - Since your aim is to work your upper back area, isolation becomes efficient when you keep your upper back stationary.

Any Injury Concerns?


1. Avoid bending the back excessively {hyper-flexion of the back}. Many trainers do that at the start of every repetition. This is proven to cause injuries.

Although leaning forward will help you in getting a killer back stretch, it may also cause injury to lumbar spine as seen in many retired bodybuilders. The start picture in this exercise as described is perfect for optimal results without injury.

2. Maintain Neutral Back: At the end of the repetition once the pulley is closer to your abdomen, you need to maintain a neutral back and avoid bending too much backwards {hyper-extension} as it causes lumbar spine injury. The finish picture as shown is the optimal position for this exercise.

Points to Remember

  • Exhale while you exert and Keep motion under control.
  • Use back muscles to do most of the work and use hands just as a link between the handles and back muscles.
  • Pause briefly when the handles are close to chest and squeeze your upper back muscles by trying to bring shoulder blades closer thereby bringing the scapulae closer.

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