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Bent Over Cable Row – How To Do Them Properly!

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back bent over rows

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Everyone wants a barn-door width back right? The v-taper that looks good in any shirt also amplifies the physique! But how do you get slabs of muscle and width onto the back and lats?

 

Adding bent over cable rows to your workout routine can set you on your path to back dominance and pack on the size and thickness that you need!

 

Read on to understand how this underrated exercise can be the key to unlocking new found growth in your back muscles!

 

What are the Primary Muscles Worked in Bent Over Cable Row?

Bent Over Cable Rows are an effective exercise for targeting the middle back and posterior chain muscles.

 

The primary muscles used are the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, teres major, rear deltoids, and erector spinae.

 

Other secondary muscle groups such as the biceps and trapezius may also be used to a lesser extent.

 

Bottom line : this is an exercise for building muscle!

 

Back Muscle Anatomy

How to Perform the Bent Over Cable Row ?

  • Step 1: Grab a curved or straight bar that’s attached to a low cable pulley using an overhand grip

  • Step 2: Take a shoulder-width stance with your knees slightly bent in a quarter squat position, maintain a natural arch in your lower back, and push your shoulders back and down

  • Step 3: Allow arms to hang out down in front of you with palms facing the ceiling. You are now in the starting position.

  • Step 4: Begin the exercise by flexing your core and pulling your elbows back so that your hands end up just under the chest

  • Step 5: Slowly lower the weight back down to the starting position. That’s one rep done! Now repeat for up to 10 reps.

bent over row

Variations of the Bent Over Cable Row

The bent-over row can be varied depending on what equipment you have available.

 

The fundamental movement will always target the back, but slight variations will change how much muscle activation occurs.

 

The four main types of bent-over rows are

 

  1. Barbell Bent Over Row

  2. Dumbell Bent Over Row

  3. T-Bar Bent Over Row

  4. Yates Row

3 Benefits of Bent Over Cable Row

  1. New Growth: Cable’s add a variation to muscle training whereby the stress and contraction on the muscles remain constant throughout the movement. This added stress forces the muscles to adapt and grow bigger!

  2. Core Stability and Strength: Bent over cable rows force your core to be used as part of the exercise and so trains the central and supporting muscles as you execute the movement

  3. Trains Many Muscles: Bent Over Cable Rows force the entire upper back, rear shoulders and arms to be trained and so are a very effective exercise. The entire movement from start to finish will stress multiple muscles thereby adding to strength and tissue gains in the upper body. 

2 Things To Avoid When Doing Bent Over Cable Row

  1. Form: Make sure you maintain a curve in your lower back, keep your core tight and push back your shoulder blades. Ensure your knees slightly bent and perform the reps in a controlled manner from the starting position. You may use a curved, straight bar or cable row attachment.
  2. Weight: Only select a weight which allows you to do 10 controlled reps. If you are being pulled forward during the movement then the weight is too much; reduce it.
bent over rows exercise

Training Plan with Bent Over Cable Row

Add bent over cable rows to your existing back training routine by selecting one of the following

 

  1. (Preferred) Cable Bent Over Cable Rows : 4 sets of 10 reps, and once you hit 10 reps add weight

  2. Barbell Bent Over Rows – 4 sets of 10 reps, and once you hit 10 reps add weight

  3. Dumbell Bent Over Rows – 4 sets of 10 reps, and once you hit 10 reps add weight

  4. T-Bar Bent Over Rows – 4 sets of 10 reps, and once you hit 10 reps add weight

  5. Yates Rows – 4 sets of 10 reps, and once you hit 10 reps add weight

Conclusion

Perform the bent over cable row with strict form, optimal weight and strive to hit 10 reps per set.

Continue this till you get the 10 reps and then add weight. Feel free to add high-intensity sets whereby you lower the weight and continue the exercise; repeating this 3 times or to failure

If you follow the principles outlined in this post then you will be on a path to building muscle and creating that v-taper back you’ve always wanted!

 

bent over row variation

Bent Over Cable Row : Frequently Asked Questions

How many times a week should I use the bent over row?

The back muscle should be trained a maximum of 2 times per week with no more then a total of 12 sets per session. So using the bend over row for a total of 8 sets a week will provide a good stimulus for the back. 

Which bent over row variation is the best?

The muscle is very adaptable and so changing up the bent over row variant every 6 weeks is recommended to keep building muscle.

Are all the back muscles worked?

Yes. Bent over rows force majority of the back muscles to contract during the movement so ensuring the right form is used is important.

Is it good to use a cable machine for back training?

Yes. Cable and Pulley machines force the muscles to work in a different way when compared to free weights and so provide numerous benefits. The constant tension from the pulley forces the muscles to be under constant tension. 

Should I use an overhand grip or underhand grip?

You can use either depending on how it feels. It is recommended to alternate between workouts if possible. The overhand grip relies less on the bicep; whereas the underhand grip force the bicep and upper arm to be employed in the movement.  

Should I keep my back straight to develop and improve the muscle?

Always ensure that the legs are slightly bent and you have an arch in the back. 

Should I keep my feet shoulder width apart in the starting position

Yes, always keep the feet shoulder width apart when using the cable machine for rows. 

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