10 Best Cable Back Workouts & Exercises (With Pictures)

If you have serious physique goals, simply hitting the gym and lifting some weights won’t help you beyond a point. Then, you need to focus on training for individual parts of each muscle group.

Your back muscles are such a group where you should specifically train your individual muscles like trapezoid, rhomboids, lats, etc. And to help you target all these key muscles, there are some great cable back workouts. 

These exercises can help you develop a well defined, bigger, and broader back that contributes heavily to your Aesthetics. And through this article, we will introduce to you 10 best back exercises with cable. So, read along! 

10 Best Cable Back Workouts

Cable Back Workouts & Exercises

Given below are 10 excellent cable machine back workouts to target all your key back muscles. Go through them, and understand why these exercises are so important, and how to do it with the proper form.

Wide-Grip Lat Pulldowns 

Lat Pulldowns is one of the most popular back exercises with cables. It trains mostly your upper back muscles such as lats, delts, and rhomboids. 

Why is it important

This cable back workout targets most key parts of your back. As a result, it helps you reach that V shaped tampered look if you do it the right way!

How to do it

Here’s how to do the Wide-grip Lat pulldown:

  • First, sit and place your thighs firmly under the pad. Your feet should be touching the floor completely.
  • Grab the bar, with your hands apart at shoulder width or at a slightly wider position.
  • Take a breath inside. You should slowly exhale as you pull down the bar.
  • Pull the bar downwards, with your Lat engaged. Your shoulder blade or spatula should also engage. 
  • As you pull the bar downwards, bend slightly backward and pull it just above your upper chest.
  • Then, slowly release the bar while you bend back to your initial position.

That’s how you do it for one rep. After one repetition, repeat it all again for a certain number of reps. 

Close Grip Lat Pulldowns

Close Grip Lat pulldowns are a variation of the wide grip Lat pulldowns. But the difference is in how this exercise works.

Why is it important

Just like the wide grip pulldown, the close grip lat pulldown also targets your lower and middle back along with your upper back. 

How to do it

  • Take the seat, place your foot fully on the floor and thighs under the pad.
  • Grab the ‘V’ bar, and pull it downwards towards your upper chest.
  • While pulling, lean slightly backward so that the bar comes just above your upper chest.
  • Then, release the bar slowly towards the top to complete the rep.

Keep in mind that proper breathing is crucial in close grip pulldown, as in any other exercise. Slowly inhale as you relax, and exhale as you pull the bar downwards.

Straight Arm Pulldown

Straight arm pulldown is a cable exercise for back done using a straight bar at a standing position.

Why is it important

Straight Arm Pulldown targets mainly your lats, and it is also one of the best back workouts with cable to isolate your lats. In addition to training your lats, it also improves your core strength.

How to do it

  • First, stay upright, and grab the straight bar. Your hands should preferably be shoulder width apart.
  • You can also consider pushing your upper body a bit towards the front.
  • Then, pull the bar downwards towards your thighs
  • Loosen the bar slowly towards the original position, and go for the next rep.

Seated Cable Rows

Seated cable rows is also one of those back exercises on cable machine that most gym trainers would suggest you do for a bigger back.

Why is it important

Seated cable rows are great for a wider, thicker lat. It also works on your posture. In addition to the Lat, this exercise also targets mid back and Traps along with a slight impact on biceps and delts.

How to do it

As the name suggests, the seated cable row mimics the rowing action, but you won’t be leaning much towards your front. Here is how to do it:

  • First, sit on the bench, and place your foot firmly on the floor or the foot stand. 
  • Grab the bar (preferably V bar), Your posture is important. Keep your spines straight, and you can also go for a slight bend towards the front.
  • Pull the bar towards the middle of your lower chest and naval, you can bend slightly backwards. You should also push your chest.
  • Once it reaches there, try holding it there for around one second, and then slowly release it to the starting position. 

While releasing the bar, avoid bending too much forward.

Don’t miss:

Deadlift Back Pain and Soreness
15 T-Bar Row Alternatives
10 No-Equipment Lat Pulldown Alternatives
9 Reverse Pec Deck Alternatives

Face Pulls

Face pulls are not only an excellent cable exercise for back, but also for your shoulder, and posture improvement.

Why is it important

It targets your posterior delts, Traps, rotator cuff muscles, and rhomboids. It also works on your posture and if you have a bad posture, this is an excellent exercise to include in your workout routine.

How to do it

  • The very first step is to adjust the pulley to the level of your eyes.
  • Then, grab the cable rope and raise your arms to your shoulder level, with your elbows tucked in.
  • Pull the cable towards your head. Your elbows should come just behind your head. 
  • Once you have pulled it completely, slowly release it. One rep is completed! 

Also, keep in mind that you need to tighten your core while doing face pulls. 

Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown

Reverse Grip Lat Pulldowns are another variation of the Lat Pulldown, but with an entirely different working.

Why is it important

The reverse grip pulldown targets your lower lat, which is sometimes left behind in other major exercises. By doing this cable back workout, it’s a great way to train your lower lats along with your Biceps.

How to do it

  • Similar to other Lat pulldown variations, sit and place your thighs under the pad and foot firmly on the floor.
  • Grab the bar, but give a close grip. The grip should be towards your face, and that’s the essence of this exercise.
  • Pull the bar downwards towards your upper chest. Also, don’t forget to bend slightly backward.
  • Once the bar reaches a few inches above your chest, slowly release it and you come to your initial position.

Cable Upright Rows

Upright Rows is an excellent exercise that trains your back with no unnecessary strain on your shoulder. 

Why is it important

You can do Upright Rows even by using a barbell. But by opting for the cable, you can make the exercise even more effective, thanks to the direction of load action. It trains majorly your trapezius (traps), along with delts, back and biceps.

How to do it

  • Keep your posture, and stand in front of the machine, straight.
  • Grab the bar and pull it up towards your upper chest. 
  • While pulling the bar, lift your chest and upper back. Your elbow should come more or less at the height of your shoulders.
  • Slowly release the bar to its original position; a rep is done! 

Wide Grip Seated Cable Row

Wide grip pulldown is a variation of the popular V bar cable rows. The difference is, you will be using a wide bar here!  

Why is it important

Different from the usual seated cable row that focuses more on your lats, it also trains your trapezius, rhomboid, and exterior delt muscles. It helps you build a thicker upper back.

How to do it

  • Sit on the bench, with your feet firmly on the floor.
  • Grab the bar at a width slightly wider than your shoulder width.
  • Pull it towards your lower chest, with your elbows slightly behind your shoulders.
  • Release the bar slowly to the starting position.

Don’t miss:

10 Compound Leg Exercises
15 Dip Alternatives
9 Dumbbell Chest Fly Alternatives
9 Decline Bench Press Alternatives

Reverse Cable Fly

Reverse cable fly is another cable back exercise, mainly for your rhomboids and rear delts.

Why is it important

The reverse cable fly has a horizontal movement where you expand your back muscles. So, it has a high focus on your rhomboid muscles and rear delts.

How to do it

  • First of all, put the bars on your shoulder width. You will be using two different cables at the same time.
  • Then, stand in the middle, and grab the D handles; your right hand should grab the left side D handle, and grab the right hand D handle with your left hand. 
  • The starting position for the bars is in front of the sternum, but at an arm’s length.
  • Then, pull the cables outwards till your arms are in line with your shoulder, or slightly behind it. But take care to not bring it too far as it may cause unnecessary tension
  • Once completed, bring the cable to the starting position; one rep is done, and repeat the same for as many reps suitable for you.

Archer Row

Archer row is one of those unconventional back workouts with cable. It stimulates the action of an Archer, as you target one of your back sides at a time. You will be using cross D handles to do this exercise.

Why is it important

The cable Archer row targets your rhomboids along with your shoulders. In addition to these muscles, it’s also great for your shoulders.

How to do it

  • Grab the bar, and go for the half kneeling position. Use your arm on the side same as your knee on the ground. For instance, if your right knee is on the ground, grab the bar with your right hand.
  • Place the other arm in parallel to the cable.
  • Pull the cable backward, till the bar reaches your chest level and your elbow is behind the shoulders. You will be mimicking the action of an Archer positioned on the ground aiming for a target above.
  • Once it reaches there, hold for a bit, and then slowly release it to the starting position.

Once you complete a set for one side, go for the other side as well.

Cable Only Back Workout

Back muscles are one of the toughest muscle groups to train effectively. A slight variation from the proper form, and your biceps or shoulders might get the impact. 

But by going for cable only back workouts, you can get a better form as gravity won’t affect your exercise as it does in free weights.

Here is a list of back workouts on cable machines for a well-defined back;

Cable Only Back Workout

  • Wide Grip Lat Pulldowns: 4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 6 reps
  • Seated Cable Rows: 4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 6 reps
  • Close Grip Lat Pulldowns: 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Straight Arm Pulldown: 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown: 3 sets x 10 reps
  • Wide Grip Seated Cable Row: 3 sets x 10 reps

Wrapping Up

That was a list of 10 back exercises on cable machine. You can pick a combination among these exercises based on muscles they target, and do it for a suitable number of reps and sets.

Don’t miss:

10 Brachialis Exercises
10 Short Head Bicep Exercises
15 EZ Curl Bar Exercises
10 Long Head Bicep Exercises

Last but not least, in addition to maintaining a good posture, you should follow proper breathing techniques for maximum efficiency. Inhale while you pull the weight, and slowly exhale as you release it back to the starting position.