What is cable rowing? An easy-to-understand explanation of the exercises and points to note to effectively train your back


Cable rowing is a training exercise that specifically targets the back muscles, and is effective in strengthening muscles and improving overall physique. Even if you are interested in cable rowing, you may have questions or concerns such as:

  • What are the benefits of cable rowing?
  • What is the correct way to use cable rowing?
  • Can cable rowing help strengthen your back muscles?

In this article, we will clearly explain how to effectively train your back muscles using cable rowing, as well as points to note and the types of attachments you can use. Train your back with cable rowing and aim for your ideal body.

What is cable rowing?

What is cable rowing?

Cable rowing is an effective way to train your back muscles. It mainly targets the latissimus dorsi and trapezius muscles, helping you build a strong back and improving your posture.

Using a cable machine allows you to achieve stable movements and provide even load to your muscles. There are a wide variety of grip attachments available, so choose one that suits your purpose.

When performing cable rowing, it is important to pay attention to proper usage and form.

What is a cable machine?

What is a cable machine?

A cable machine is a fitness equipment that allows you to do various types of training by pulling a cable and directly loading the muscles. Compared to traditional fixed training machines, cable machines offer a high degree of freedom of movement.

The movement of the cable allows you to train muscles from all angles and directions, so you can effectively train various parts of your body, from the upper body to the lower body. You can effectively train with natural movements similar to those of free weights such as dumbbells and barbells.

Benefits of Cable Rowing

Benefits of Cable Rowing

When using a cable machine for training, the trajectory is not fixed, so you can continue to apply a constant load. Here are six benefits of cable rowing:

  1. Pinpoint training for your back
  2. Maintains a constant load on muscles
  3. High degree of freedom, so many events can be handled
  4. Easy to adjust the weight
  5. Good for improving posture
  6. You can change the attachments to increase the variety.

We will explain the advantages of each in detail.

Benefit 1: Pinpoint training for your back

Compared to a typical rowing machine, cable rowing allows you to pinpoint specific muscles in your back. The back is made up of multiple muscles, such as the latissimus dorsi, trapezius, and teres major, and appropriate training is required depending on the muscles you want to train. The latissimus dorsi is particularly large and extends from the waist to the shoulders, so your training will change depending on whether you target the lower or upper part of the latissimus dorsi.

With cable rowing, you can pull from different angles using a non-fixed trajectory, allowing you to target a wide range of muscles in your back, even down to the small muscle groups. By changing the attachments, you can train different areas.

Benefit 2: Keeps muscles under constant stress

Using a cable machine allows you to keep the load on your muscles constant. With free weights such as dumbbells and barbells, there are positions within the range of motion where the load is temporarily released. On the other hand, with a cable machine, the tension of the cable is always maintained, so the load is continuously applied to the muscles. By keeping the load constant, you can stimulate your muscles efficiently and expect to build up strength more effectively.

Advantage 3: High degree of freedom means many events can be handled

Cable machines have a high degree of freedom in trajectory and a wide range of motion, making them suitable for a variety of training exercises. Even with cable rowing, you can choose the muscle you want to train by changing the type of attachment and the way you hold the grip.

By pulling the cables from various angles and heights, you can efficiently train even the smallest muscle groups. It is possible to customize it to suit each individual's body type and training goals, and achieve effective exercises that meet the needs of each individual.

Advantage #4: Easily adjust the weight

Cable machines have the advantage of being easy to adjust the weight. Dumbbells and barbells require equipment of different weights, but cable machines allow you to instantly change the load by simply replacing the pins. You can smoothly adjust the weight during training and perform efficient and continuous exercises. The quality of training is improved because you can easily adjust the weight depending on your training progress and the type of exercise.

Benefit 5: It’s good for improving your posture

Cable rowing is a training method that is particularly suitable for improving posture. This is because the back muscles are an important part of maintaining good posture. Even when it comes to improving posture, there are individual differences such as hunched back, arched back, and rounded shoulders, so the approach method and the parts to be trained will also differ. Cable rowing trains the back muscles in small segments. It is a good idea to choose a training method that suits your purpose and effectively train the targeted muscles with the correct form.

Benefit 6: You can change the attachments to increase variety.

In cable rowing, changing the attachments can increase the variety of your training. Even when training your back, you can use different attachments to fine-tune which back muscles you want to train.

You can also prepare your own attachments at home or at the gym. You can achieve the right training for your personal goals. However, if you want to change the attachments at the gym, you may need the gym's permission, so it's a good idea to check depending on the situation.

By attaching the Lat Pulldown & Low Row attachment to a power rack, you can perform a variety of cable exercises. Since you can perform a variety of training with one machine, you can use the space efficiently. For more information, please check the link below.

>>Plate Road Rat & Low Low | Uchino Gym

>>Selectorized Rat & Low Row | Uchino Gym

Points to note about cable rowing

Points to note about cable rowing

To maximize the effectiveness of cable rowing, keep the following four points in mind:

  1. Do it at the right frequency
  2. Use appropriate load, number of repetitions, and number of sets
  3. Do it with the correct form
  4. Provide the necessary nutrients

We will explain each point in detail.

Tip #1: Do it at the right frequency

It is important to train with a cable machine at an appropriate frequency. In general, if you want to increase your muscle strength, training two to three times a week is effective. The principle known as "supercompensation" allows the microscopic damage caused by training to be repaired and the muscles to be strengthened. The appropriate recovery time generally requires 48 to 72 hours, so training two to three times a week is considered ideal.

If you want to train more frequently and get results faster, it's a good idea to rotate training different parts of your body and take advantage of super-compensation to train effectively.

Point 2: Use the appropriate load, number of repetitions, and number of sets

When using a cable machine, it is important to set it up properly. For training, it is effective to choose the weight, number of repetitions, and number of sets according to your purpose and goal, such as muscle hypertrophy, regular training, toning, or dieting.

Generally speaking, the following weights are recommended depending on your goals:

  • If you are aiming for muscle hypertrophy, use a weight that you can only lift about 10 times.
  • If you are aiming to maintain or improve your normal physical fitness, you should lift a weight that you reach your limit with around 15 repetitions.
  • If you are trying to lose weight or tone your body, you should aim for a weight that you can only lift about 20 times.

If your goal is to build muscle, we recommend 3-5 sets of 10 repetitions. Once you can do 3 sets of 10 repetitions stably, you can move on to the next weight. It's important to work your muscles properly even if you don't do the required number of repetitions, and it's not necessary to worry about the number of repetitions.

Tip 3: Use the correct form

Training with the correct form is important to maximize the effect of muscle training and reduce the risk of injury. When using a cable machine, accuracy of posture and movement is especially important. By observing the proper form, you can firmly load the target area and expect more efficient muscle growth and strengthening.

When doing cable rowing, it is important to keep your back straight and your shoulder blades together. By being aware of the muscles you are working during the exercise, you can further improve the quality of your training.

Tip #4: Get the nutrients you need

Supplementing your nutrition during muscle training is essential for effective training and muscle recovery. Protein in particular is a basic nutrient for muscle growth, so it is important to ensure sufficient amounts in order to maximize the effects of training. If it is difficult to get enough protein through diet alone, you can easily replenish your protein by using protein shakes, etc.

In addition to protein, carbohydrates are also important as an energy source and affect maintaining performance during training. Optimal nutritional intake determines the results of training and also influences long-term health maintenance, so it is an important point to keep in mind when planning your daily meals.

Cable rowing basics

Cable rowing basics

When doing cable rowing, you can get the most out of your training by maintaining proper form.

The basic technique for cable rowing is as follows:

  1. Sit on the seat and place your feet in position
  2. Extend your arms and grab the grip
  3. Straighten your back and pull the grip towards your stomach
  4. Slowly return your grip to the original position while engaging your back muscles.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4.
  6. Release the grip

Also, when doing cable rowing, be sure to keep the following points in mind:

  • Hold the grip firmly, not just hook it onto your fingertips
  • Be careful not to arch your back too much, and always maintain a slightly forward leaning posture.
  • Keep your shoulders from rising too high and consciously move your shoulder blades to enhance the effect on your back.
  • Be aware of keeping the weight on your back even when you release your grip
  • Exhale as you pull it in and inhale as you return it

Attachment Type

Attachment Type

Cable rowing allows you to pinpoint and train the muscles you want depending on the type of attachment you use. There are four types of attachments:

  1. Straight Bar
  2. Open Row
  3. Triangle Row
  4. rope

We will explain each one in detail.

Type 1: Straight bar

Straight bar cable rowing can effectively target different muscle groups depending on the grip width and grip style. There are three main grip styles: narrow, wide, and reverse, each of which targets specific muscles.

Narrow Grip

With the back of your hands facing the ceiling, grip the handles slightly narrower than shoulder width. This exercise applies a lot of strain mainly to the trapezius muscles. The key is to keep your back straight as you pull the cable up to your stomach and slowly release it.

Wide Grip

With the backs of your hands facing the ceiling, grip the bar wider than shoulder width. This will work the lateral latissimus dorsi more effectively. By bringing your shoulder blades together, you can increase the effect on your upper back, including your teres major and posterior deltoids.

Reverse grip

By narrowing your grip and holding the bar with your palm facing up, you can focus the load on the lower part of your latissimus dorsi. The key is to grip the bar firmly, rather than hooking it with your fingertips.

>>20" Straight Bar | Uchino Gym

Type 2: Open Row

The Open Row is an attachment that effectively trains the posterior upper body muscles, focusing on the latissimus dorsi. It approaches the back muscles from multiple angles, promoting strength and muscle growth. It is effective for the latissimus dorsi as well as other back muscle groups such as the trapezius and rhomboids, and it is important to perform it with the correct form.

The REP Fitness Open Row is made from high-quality, durable hard chrome with shallow knurling that is gentle on the hands. It weighs just 3.4kg, making it easy to carry and store. Check out the following link for more information.

>>Open Row | Uchino Gym

Type 3: Triangle Row

Compared to other grips, the triangle row puts the optimal load on the latissimus dorsi. The narrow grip directly stimulates the latissimus dorsi, allowing you to expect focused training for the latissimus dorsi.

The REP Fitness Triangle Row is an ergonomic grip design that provides comfort and safety. The lightweight, portable 2.1kg attachment has shallow knurling for a comfortable feel. For more information, please check the following link.

>>Triangle Row | Uchino Gym

Type 4: Rope

The rope attachment is a useful tool for training the entire back muscle. By holding the rope with your thumb pointing down and emphasizing your pinky finger, you can activate the shoulder blades and target more muscle groups.

The REP Fitness Tricep Rope has plastic end caps to provide a stable grip while you train. It is made of glossy black nylon for durability. It is ultra-lightweight, weighing just under 1kg and measuring 86cm in length. Check out the following link for more information:

>>Tricep rope | Uchino Gym

Cable rowing is an effective way to train your back

Cable rowing focuses on strengthening the back muscles, improving appearance and performance. By using the correct form and appropriate attachments, you can effectively target the muscles. In this article, we have explained in detail the benefits of cable rowing, effective training methods, and types of attachments. Let's train your back efficiently with cable rowing and aim for the ideal back.

Uchino Gym offers a wide variety of home gym equipment. If you want to set up a training environment at home and do effective training, try searching for the equipment you are interested in using the link below.

>>Uchinogym Official Website

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