Seated Cable Row

The seated cable row is a pulling exercise that works the back muscles, particularly the rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, teres major, and middle trapezius. It also works the forearm muscles and the biceps. It is an excellent all round compound exercise for developing the back.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Sit on the platform and grasp the cable attachment. It often has a triangle handle, but it may be a bar. Position so the knees are slightly bent and grab the handle with outstretched arms yet without curling the lower back . Brace the abdominals then sit up straight. Pull the handle and weight back toward the lower abdomen while trying not to use the momentum of the row too much by moving the torso backward with the arms. Target the middle to upper back by keeping the back straight and squeezing the shoulder blades together.
Return the handle forward under tension to full stretch, remembering to keep the torso tall even though flexed at the hips. Repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions.

Muscles Trained 


  • Rhomboids
  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Teres Major
  • Middle Tarpezius
  • Biceps

The seated cable row strengthens the back and arms. More specifically the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids and the scapular retractors. It can also be used to work the elbow flexors like biceps brachii.

Common Errors

Avoid these errors to get the most from this exercise and prevent strain.

  • Rounded Back- The back should be straight at all times, not bent. Flex slightly at the hip (if required) to allow a full range of motion.
  • Moving Torso- Use the arms for the motion rather than moving the torso. Keep the torso still throughout the exercise.
  • Too Fast on Return- Return the weight under tension to the starting position. Avoid crashing the weights and pausing or bouncing at the bottom of the lift.
  • Reduced Range of Motion- If the weight is heavy, preventing full range of motion with good form, it is too heavy. Reduce the weight to achieve full range of motion for this exercise.

Check out these other resistance training exercises:

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