Cable Back Workouts: The Ultimate Guide With 10 Essential Exercises for Optimum Size and Strength

Bulk Supplements Direct

By bulksupplementsdirect

cable back workouts cable behind neck pulldowns

Table of Contents

Cable Back Workouts? What! Why? Are they even good?


“I’ve always been told only to use free weights!” – sound familiar?


If these are the sorts of things you ponder and hear – you’ve come to the right place as you are about to be amazed at how much back growth you have been missing out on!


Your back is a complex canvas of muscles, and not every exercise can effectively engage them all. It’s like trying to paint the Sistine Chapel with a single paintbrush, not quite cutting it, right? Cue a major weapon in our back training arsenal, the cable back workouts!


You’ve been grinding at the gym, breaking a sweat over deadlifts, pull-ups, or rowing machines. And yet, the dream ‘V’ shape eludes you. It’s frustrating!


What do you need? Cable back workouts! How do you create them? With proven cable back exercises that target the entire back muscles. How do I get them? You are about to find out!


With a variety of exercises that target each nook and cranny of your back, these cable exercises can catapult you towards your goals. Whether it’s the lats longing for wings, traps eager for hills, or the rhomboids and erector spinae dreaming of rippling waves, cable back workouts have got them covered.


  • Greater muscle engagement


  • Enhanced range of motion


  • Improved strength and endurance


In this guide, we’ll journey towards a stronger, more defined back worthy of turning heads and hoisting heavy loads gracefully.


So, fasten your seatbelts, folks – it’s time to level up your cable back workouts and get the wide-lat-cobra-look!


Recommended Read: >>> Your Ultimate Muscle Building Guide <<<

Understanding The Anatomy Of The Back

Muscles Involved in Back Workouts

To truly master your cable back workouts, a good starting point is to gain a thorough understanding of the key muscles that form your back. Each of these muscle groups plays a unique role in movements, strength, and overall aesthetics.


By knowing which muscle is targeted by what exercise, you can work more effectively towards your fitness goals.


  1. Trapezius: The trapezius muscle is a major player in your upper back. Positioned at the top, it contributes significantly to the diamond shape of your back and assists in tasks like shrugging and pulling back your shoulders.

  2. Latissimus Dorsi (Lats): Your lats are the broadest muscles in your back and are crucial for the ‘V’ shape that’s desirable in bodybuilding. They respond well to many back cable workouts, making them a central part of your routine.

  3. Rhomboids: These muscles may be hidden beneath the trapezius and latissimus dorsi, but they’re vital for maintaining posture and stability in your shoulder blades. They’re especially engaged during cable rows.

  4. Erector Spinae: Running alongside your spine, these muscles are pivotal for maintaining good posture and aid in various back movements, including those involving cable machines.


How Cable Workouts Benefit Different Back Muscles

When you’re planning your back workouts, the cable machine might not be your first thought. However, it’s worth giving it the spotlight due to its unique benefits. Cable workouts offer a dynamic range of motion, steady tension, and can work wonders for all the major muscles in your back.


  • Specificity: Cable exercises offer the ability to target specific muscles with precision. You can adapt your cable machine workouts for the back to focus on lats, traps, or any muscle group requiring more attention.


  • Versatility: The cable machine offers an extensive array of exercises. From upper back cable workouts to lower back cable exercises, these machines support a holistic approach to back development.


  • Safety: Cable workouts provide a safer way to train due to their controlled range of movement. They ensure smooth and steady resistance, reducing the risk of sudden, harmful movements.


Equipped with this knowledge, we can now delve deeper into the details of various cable back workouts.


cable back workouts cable pulldowns

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Necessary Equipment For Cable Back Workouts

Embarking on your journey to achieve a stronger, more defined back with cable back workouts involves more than just showing up at the gym. Understanding the tools of the trade can make a significant difference in how effectively and safely you perform these exercises.


Standard Cable Machine


The star of the show, the standard cable machine, is your main tool for cable back workouts. Offering adjustable weights and heights, it caters to all body types and strength levels. It’s like a Swiss Army knife for your workout, with the capacity to target virtually every muscle in your back, from upper to lower. A good cable machine should have a sturdy build and smooth pulley system to ensure your cable back workouts are seamless and effective.


Different Types of Grips and Handles


Grips and handles aren’t just for holding onto for dear life during your workouts. They can make a significant difference in targeting specific muscle groups:


  • Straight Bar: This is your go-to for exercises like lat pulldowns and cable rows. A straight bar helps to engage your lats and rhomboids optimally.


  • Rope: Perfect for face pulls and high rows, ropes offer a versatile and comfortable grip to target your upper back and traps.


  • Single Handle: Ideal for unilateral exercises, a single handle lets you focus on one side of your back at a time, ensuring balanced muscle development.


Safety Equipment


Safety should always be your number one priority when performing any exercise. Consider the following safety equipment:


  • Weightlifting Belt: This can provide additional support to your lower back during heavy cable workouts.


  • Gloves or Hand Grips: These can improve your grip strength and protect your hands during strenuous exercises.


Armed with the right equipment and knowledge, you’re all set to dive into the best cable back workouts that will sculpt and strengthen your back!


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How To Warm Up For Cable Back Workouts

Just like you wouldn’t sprint cold out the gate in a marathon, you shouldn’t dive straight into your back workouts without a proper warm-up. Let’s look at why it’s essential and a sample routine to get you started.


Importance of a Proper Warm-up


A warm-up is like a gentle wake-up call for your muscles before the main event. It increases your body temperature, enhances blood flow to your muscles, and preps your nervous system for the upcoming exertion, reducing the risk of injury. It’s particularly crucial for cable back workouts, where several large muscle groups are at play.


Sample Warm-up Routine


A good warm-up routine should be brief but effective, targeting the muscles you’ll be using during your workout. Here’s a simple routine to kick-start your cable back workouts:


  1. Cardio (5 minutes): Get your heart rate up with a quick session on the treadmill, stationary bike, or rowing machine.

  2. Shoulder Circles (10 reps each direction): Stand tall and rotate your shoulders forward and backward to loosen up the shoulder joints and muscles.

  3. Cat-Cow Stretches (10 reps): This yoga move is great for warming up your spine and core muscles.

  4. Arm Crosses (10 reps): Extend your arms at shoulder height and cross them in front of your chest, alternating which arm goes on top.

  5. Light Cable Rows (2 sets of 12 reps): With a light weight, mimic the movements you’ll be doing in your actual workout. This primes your muscles and helps you nail your form.


With your warm-up complete, you’re now ready to tackle the best cable back workouts for maximum gains! Remember, even the best laid plans fail without adequate preparation, so always make time for your warm-up.


Recommended Read: >>> Should You Take A Pre-workout Before Cardio? Pre Workout Cardio Tips <<<

The 10 Key Cable Back Exercises for Size and Strength

Below I have outlined 10 of the most effective cable back exercises that will pack size, strength and width to your back and lat muscles.

Exercise Name

Sets and Reps

Muscles Worked


Dumbbell Lateral Raises

2-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Side Delts

Improved shoulder stability, enhanced aesthetic appeal, increased shoulder strength

Seated Lateral Raises

2-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Side Delts

Enables focus on side delts, reduces use of momentum, increased shoulder strength

Upright Rows

2-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Side Delts, Trapezius

Improved shoulder and upper back strength, better posture

Cable Lateral Raises

2-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Side Delts

Consistent tension on the muscle, enhanced muscle definition

Machine Lateral Raises

2-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Side Delts

Controlled movement, good for beginners, easy to increase weight progressively

Leaning Dumbbell Lateral Raise

2-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Side Delts

Increased range of motion, added variety to workout

Arnold Presses

2-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Side Delts, Front Delts, Rear Delts

Full shoulder workout, improved overall shoulder strength and stability

Face Pulls

2-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Side Delts, Rear Delts, Trapezius

Improved shoulder health, counteracts pressing movements

Battle Ropes

3-4 sets, 30 sec – 1 min

Side Delts, Full Body

Improved cardio, full body workout, functional training

Band Lateral Raises

2-4 sets of 8-12 reps

Side Delts

Portable and convenient, easy to adjust difficulty, suitable for home workouts


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#1 Seated Cable Row

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Description of the Exercise


In the world of back workouts with cable machines, the Seated Cable Row is like the dependable friend who always has your back (pun intended!). This compound exercise is a classic, targeting your back muscles with laser precision.


Muscles Worked


The Seated Cable Row is quite the social butterfly. It reaches out to your latissimus dorsi, trapezius, rhomboids, and even flirts a bit with your biceps and forearms. No back cable workout is complete without it.


How To Perform The Exercise


Ready to row your way to a barn-door back? Here’s how:


  1. Sit at a low pulley cable station with a V-bar handle. Place your feet securely on the platform.

  2. Keep your knees slightly bent and grab the V-bar with an overhand grip.

  3. Pull the handle towards your waist while keeping your torso stationary. Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement.

  4. Return to the starting position by extending your arms and letting your shoulder blades spread apart.


Recommended Sets and Reps


Start with 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps. As you gain strength, aim for 4-5 sets, adjusting the weight accordingly.


Tips To Help


  • Keep your spine neutral, resisting the urge to round or arch it.


  • Pull with your elbows, not your hands. Imagine your hands as hooks that hold the bar.


  • Avoid jerky movements. Your body isn’t a pop-lock dancer, so keep your movements smooth.


Benefits Of This Exercise


This is where the Seated Cable Row shines! It’s not just good for muscle growth; it also helps improve posture, strengthen your core, and enhance overall back strength and endurance.


Drawbacks Of This Exercise


There’s no such thing as a perfect exercise. For the Seated Cable Row, incorrect form can lead to back strain. Additionally, if you have pre-existing back issues, you might want to consider alternatives. Consult a fitness professional if you’re unsure.


So, there you have it. The Seated Cable Row – an exercise that’s more dependable than your favorite pair of gym shorts.

Now, who’s ready to row?



#2 Lat Pulldowns

Description of the Exercise


In the royal court of cable back workouts, the Lat Pulldowns rule as king. This exercise is the go-to for building a broad, V-shaped back, thus earning it a rightful place in your upper back cable workouts.


Muscles Worked


Lat Pulldowns are like a grand soiree for your back muscles. They primarily target the latissimus dorsi (hence the name) while also engaging the biceps, rhomboids, and infraspinatus.


How To Perform The Exercise


Ready to pull down some serious gains? Follow these steps:


  1. Sit at a lat pulldown station and grab the bar with a wide grip.

  2. Lean back slightly and pull the bar down to your chest, keeping your elbows pointed down.

  3. Slowly extend your arms back up to the starting position, feeling the stretch in your lats.


Recommended Sets and Reps


Begin with 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps. As your strength increases, challenge yourself with 4-5 sets, keeping in mind to adjust the weight as needed.


Tips To Help


  • Keep your chest up and shoulders down throughout the movement.


  • Think of your hands as hooks and imagine pulling the bar down with your elbows.


  • Don’t cheat by using momentum. Remember, it’s a gym, not a swing set!


Benefits Of This Exercise


Lat Pulldowns are the ultimate ticket to Latville. They help build a wide back, improve posture, and contribute to overall upper body strength. Plus, they prepare you for pull-ups – the holy grail of back exercises.


Drawbacks Of This Exercise


On the downside, improper form can lead to shoulder and back injuries. Also, people with pre-existing shoulder issues might want to proceed with caution or seek alternatives. As always, when in doubt, consult with a fitness professional.


All set to command respect in the gym with your killer Lat Pulldowns?


Your V-shaped back awaits!


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#3 Single Arm Cable Rows

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Description of the Exercise


Single Arm Cable Rows are like the hot singles in your area of cable back workouts. They’re all about focusing on one side at a time, ensuring both sides of your back get equal love and attention.


Muscles Worked


These single-handed dynamos work your latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and trapezius, while giving a friendly nod to your biceps and core.


How To Perform The Exercise


Ready to row solo? Here’s how:


  1. Stand at a low pulley cable station with your feet shoulder-width apart.

  2. Grab the handle with one hand, keeping your arm fully extended and your other hand on your hip.

  3. Pull the handle towards your waist, keeping your torso still and squeezing your shoulder blades together.

  4. Slowly return to the starting position, allowing your arm to fully extend.


Recommended Sets and Reps


Start with 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps on each arm. As your strength improves, feel free to up the ante to 4-5 sets, adjusting the weight as you see fit.


Tips To Help


  • Maintain a stable stance and keep your core tight throughout the movement.


  • Keep your elbow close to your body as you pull the handle.


  • Remember, it’s not a tug of war. No need to yank that cable like you’re starting an old lawnmower.


Benefits Of This Exercise


Single Arm Cable Rows are perfect for addressing muscular imbalances, allowing for focused work on each side of your back. They also recruit your core for stabilization, making them a sneaky good cable workout for your back and core.


Drawbacks Of This Exercise


The potential pitfalls? Overdoing the weight can lead to poor form and risk of injury. Also, folks with back problems should approach with caution or seek alternatives. As usual, when in doubt, seek professional advice.


So, are you ready to balance the scales with Single Arm Cable Rows? One side at a time, you’re about to make some serious gains!


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#4 Cable Face Pulls

Description of the Exercise


Don’t let the name fool you. Cable Face Pulls aren’t about making funny faces at the cable machine. They are a high reward upper back cable workout that’s got your shoulders’ back, quite literally.


Muscles Worked


This superstar exercise targets your posterior deltoids, trapezius, rhomboids, and rotator cuff muscles, all while whispering sweet nothings to your biceps.


How To Perform The Exercise


Ready to face the music? Here’s how:

  1. Stand at a cable station set at upper chest height, and grab the rope with palms facing each other.

  2. Step back to create tension on the cable, bracing your core and setting your feet hip-width apart.

  3. Pull the rope towards your face, aiming to split your face in half (figuratively, of course).

  4. Return to the starting position, letting your arms fully extend.


Recommended Sets and Reps


Start your journey with 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps. When you’ve grown more formidable, crank it up to 4-5 sets. Remember to adjust the weight according to your strength.


Tips To Help


  • Keep your elbows higher than your wrists throughout the movement.


  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the peak contraction.


  • Don’t use your body momentum to pull the weight. This isn’t a dance-off with the cable machine!


Benefits Of This Exercise


Cable Face Pulls are like your back and shoulder’s best mate. They improve shoulder mobility and stability, promote better posture, and help to counteract the effects of too much sitting and hunching over screens.


Drawbacks Of This Exercise


If performed incorrectly, they can strain your shoulder joints. It’s also vital to ensure the weight is manageable to prevent potential injuries. As always, proper form and professional advice go a long way.


So, are you ready to pull a new face in your back workouts cable routine with Cable Face Pulls? Your posture and shoulders are sure to thank you!


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#5 Straight Arm Cable Pulldowns

Description of the Exercise


Straight Arm Cable Pulldowns are your golden ticket to “Lat City.” They’re all about keeping your arms straight, focusing on the lats, and leaving no back muscle unturned.


Muscles Worked


This exercise, my friends, is a love letter to your latissimus dorsi, while also tipping its hat to your triceps and core muscles.


How To Perform The Exercise


Time to pull down the moon! Here’s how:


  1. Stand in front of a high pulley machine with a straight or slightly angled bar attached.

  2. Grab the bar with both hands, keeping your arms fully extended.

  3. Pull the bar down to your thighs, squeezing your lats at the bottom of the movement.

  4. Return to the starting position in a controlled manner, allowing your arms to fully extend.


Recommended Sets and Reps


Start with 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps. As you get stronger, feel free to up the volume to 4-5 sets, adjusting the weight as necessary.


Tips To Help


  • Keep your chest up and back straight throughout the movement.


  • Don’t rush it. Control the weight on the way up and down.


  • Your arms should remain straight but avoid locking your elbows.


Benefits Of This Exercise


Straight Arm Cable Pulldowns are great for targeting the lats, improving upper body strength, and they also offer a sweet bonus of core engagement.


Drawbacks Of This Exercise


The potential downside? If done incorrectly, there’s a risk of back strain. And folks with shoulder issues should proceed with caution or consider alternatives. Remember, professional guidance is always a smart move.


So, ready to make your lats the main attraction with Straight Arm Cable Pulldowns? Your ticket to “Lat City” is just a few reps away!


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#6 Cable Pull Through

Description of the Exercise


Cable Pull Through is a ‘behind the scenes’ exercise that might look peculiar, but it’s all about power and posterior. It’s like playing tug of war with the cable machine.


Muscles Worked


This exercise gives a grand stage to your glutes and hamstrings, while your lower back and core muscles humbly support in the background.


How To Perform The Exercise


Now let’s get you pulling through! Here’s how:


  1. Face away from a low pulley cable machine with a rope attached.

  2. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, reach through your legs to grab the rope.

  3. Straighten up by extending your hips, pulling the rope forward.

  4. Return to the starting position, letting the cable pull the rope back between your legs.


Recommended Sets and Reps


How about starting with 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps? As you become a cable-pulling powerhouse, increase to 4-5 sets, and tweak the weight as needed.


Tips To Help


  • Keep your back straight and chest up throughout the movement.


  • Push your hips back, and squeeze your glutes when you stand up straight.


  • Remember, it’s a hip hinge movement, not a squat!


Benefits Of This Exercise


Cable Pull Through is your backstage pass to strong glutes and hamstrings. It aids in posterior chain strength and helps to improve hip hinge mechanics.


Drawbacks Of This Exercise


Beware, improper form can lead to lower back strain. Also, those with pre-existing back issues should consider if this exercise is suitable for them. As ever, don’t shy away from seeking professional advice.


Are you ready to pull through to the other side of your cable back workout? With Cable Pull Throughs, you’ll be feeling the burn where it counts!


#7 Cable Deadlifts

Description of the Exercise


Cable Deadlifts – the exciting plot twist in your cable back workouts. Think of it as a traditional deadlift’s tech-savvy cousin, where the resistance is more consistent throughout the movement.


Muscles Worked


This power move puts the spotlight on your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings, while your core and upper back provide a strong supporting act.


How To Perform The Exercise


Now, let’s lift that cable like there’s no tomorrow. Here’s how:


  1. Stand in front of a low pulley cable machine with a bar attachment.

  2. With feet hip-width apart, squat down and grab the bar.

  3. Stand up by extending your hips and knees, pulling the bar along with you.

  4. Return to the starting position by pushing your hips back and bending your knees.


Recommended Sets and Reps


Start with 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps. Once you’ve got the hang of it, increase to 4-5 sets, adjusting the weight to maintain challenge and effectiveness.


Tips To Help


  • Keep your back flat and chest up throughout the exercise.


  • Drive the movement from your hips and keep the bar close to your body.


  • Make sure to control the descent, don’t let the cable pull you down.


Benefits Of This Exercise


Cable Deadlifts offer the opportunity to develop lower body and back strength, and they’re great for learning the proper hip hinge pattern. They also keep the tension constant, providing a well-rounded strength curve.


Drawbacks Of This Exercise


Be mindful, as with traditional deadlifts, incorrect form could lead to back injuries. Also, those with existing back or knee issues should think twice or seek professional advice.


So, are you ready to dial up the intensity with Cable Deadlifts? They’re the modern twist in your back workouts with cable machines that your posterior chain will thank you for!


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#8 Standing Cable Row

Description of the Exercise


Standing Cable Row is that one friend who’s always got your back, literally! This upright version of a cable row lets you target those back muscles in a standing position. It’s like rowing a boat but, spoiler alert, there’s no water.


Muscles Worked


A formidable player in upper back cable workouts, this exercise calls on your latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and trapezius. It’s like a group meeting for your back muscles!


How To Perform The Exercise


No boat or oars needed, just follow these steps:


  1. Stand in front of a cable machine, grab the handle with both hands.

  2. Step back, maintaining a slight bend in your knees.

  3. Pull the handle towards your belly, squeezing your shoulder blades.

  4. Return to starting position, maintaining control.


Recommended Sets and Reps


For this back workout with cable, try 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps. As you improve, feel free to add more sets or increase the weight.


Tips To Help


  • Maintain a neutral spine, no hunching or overarching.


  • Remember, your hands are just hooks, the pulling action should come from your back.


  • Squeeze those shoulder blades together during the rowing motion.


Benefits Of This Exercise


The Standing Cable Row is a multitasker; it strengthens your back while improving posture. It also engages your core, and being a standing exercise, mimics functional movements.


Drawbacks Of This Exercise


As with any exercise, incorrect form may lead to injury. Also, if you’re prone to lower back issues, ensure you maintain good form and perhaps consider seated alternatives.


So, are you ready to row, row, row your cable, gently through your workout? Trust me, your back muscles will be singing your praises!


#9 Reverse Grip Lat Pulldowns

Description of the Exercise


Welcome to the upside-down world of lat pulldowns, where everything is the same but the grip is reversed! With palms facing you, this variation ensures your biceps and forearms get some love, too.


Muscles Worked


Being one of the best cable workouts for back, it targets the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and biceps. It’s like a surprise birthday party for your upper body muscles!


How To Perform The Exercise


Don’t worry, no need to wear your shirt backward. Here’s how to do it:


  1. Sit at a lat pulldown machine, adjust the knee pad.

  2. Grab the bar with an underhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart.

  3. Pull the bar down to your chest while squeezing your shoulder blades.

  4. Slowly raise the bar back to the starting position.


Recommended Sets and Reps


Ready for a dose of reverse grip action? Aim for 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps.


Tips To Help


  • Keep your back straight, chest up, and look forward.


  • Pull with your elbows, not your hands. Remember, hands are just for holding.


  • Control the movement, especially when returning the bar up.


Benefits Of This Exercise


Reverse Grip Lat Pulldowns are a great tool for upper body sculpting. It targets multiple muscles and enhances your grip strength. Plus, it’s like giving your regular lat pulldowns a fun twist!


Drawbacks Of This Exercise


Beware of “cheat reps”! Using momentum or too much weight can lead to poor form and injury. Also, if you have wrist or elbow problems, this might not be your best option.


So there you go, a fun spin on your regular cable back workouts. Ready to flip your grip?


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#10 Cable Shrugs

Description of the Exercise


If you’ve ever responded to a tough question with a casual shrug, you’re halfway there. Just replace that slight sense of indifference with some heavy cable and you’ve got yourself a Cable Shrug.


Muscles Worked


Cable Shrugs show their magic on your trapezius muscles, those fancy slopes connecting your neck and shoulders.


How To Perform The Exercise


Here’s how you master the art of “I don’t know”:

  1. Stand in front of the cable machine with your feet shoulder-width apart.

  2. Grab the cable bar with an overhand grip.

  3. Shrug your shoulders up towards your ears as high as possible.

  4. Lower them back down after a brief pause.


Recommended Sets and Reps


Time for some serious shrugging! Aim for 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps.


Tips To Help


  • Keep your arms straight throughout.


  • Slow and controlled is the name of the game.


  • Resist the urge to use your biceps. Let your traps do the talking!


Benefits Of This Exercise


Cable Shrugs are the fast track to giving your upper back the perfect definition. Not just that, they also improve your posture and strengthen your neck muscles.


Drawbacks Of This Exercise


On the flip side, poor form or excess weight can strain your neck. Plus, this isn’t a lower back workout, so if that’s what you’re after, you might want to look elsewhere.


So, ready to incorporate Cable Shrugs into your back workouts on cable machines? Go ahead and shrug your way to fitness!


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Constructing a Cable Back Workout Routine

Guidelines for Structuring Your Workout


  1. Start with a warm-up: Don’t be the person who skips the warm-up. Do you want a strained muscle? Because that’s how you get a strained muscle.

  2. Sequence your exercises: Start with compound movements like seated cable rows or cable deadlifts, then proceed to isolated ones such as straight-arm cable pulldowns.

  3. Don’t neglect rest: For optimum size and strength, give your muscles time to recover. No one’s handing out medals for overworking your muscles.


Example of Beginner Routine


A newbie, are we? Perfect, let’s get that back in shape:


  1. Seated Cable Row: 2 sets x 12 reps

  2. Lat Pulldowns: 2 sets x 12 reps

  3. Single Arm Cable Rows: 2 sets x 12 reps (each side)


Example of Intermediate Routine


Feeling a little adventurous, intermediate folks?

  1. Standing Cable Row: 3 sets x 10 reps

  2. Cable Pull Through: 3 sets x 10 reps

  3. Reverse Grip Lat Pulldowns: 3 sets x 10 reps

  4. Cable Shrugs: 3 sets x 15 reps


Example of Advanced Routine


Welcome, gym veterans. Here’s your beast mode plan:

  1. Cable Deadlifts: 4 sets x 8 reps

  2. Cable Face Pulls: 4 sets x 10 reps

  3. Straight Arm Cable Pulldowns: 4 sets x 10 reps

  4. Single Arm Cable Rows: 4 sets x 8 reps (each side)

  5. Cable Shrugs: 4 sets x 15 reps


And there you have it, folks. Your ticket to stellar cable back workouts for any level of fitness. Go forth and conquer those cable machines!


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Nutrition for Optimal Size and Strength

Alright, let’s shift gears a bit and dive into another crucial factor in your journey to back-muscle greatnessnutrition. It’s not just about the weights, you know!


Importance of Nutrition in Muscle Building


Picture this: You’re an artist. Your body is the canvas, your cable back workouts are the brush, but what’s the paint? That’s right, it’s your diet! You can do all the cable exercises in the world, but without proper nutrition, you’re painting with water. Not going to get that masterpiece, are you?


Ideal Diet for Back Muscle Development


  1. Protein: It’s your muscle’s best friend. Think lean meats, eggs, fish, and if you’re vegetarian, legumes and tofu will do the trick.

  2. Carbs: Don’t be scared of them! They’re your energy source for those intense back workouts on the cable machine.

  3. Healthy Fats: Avocados, nuts, and olive oil are examples. They are essential for hormone production and can help with muscle recovery.


Pre and Post Workout Meals


For the pre-workout meal, consider complex carbs and lean protein. A classic chicken, brown rice, and broccoli combo, perhaps? Or if you’re short on time, a protein shake with a banana.


Post-workout, it’s all about recovery. Aim for a ratio of 3:1 carbs to protein. Your muscles are screaming for nutrients, don’t let them down. A protein shake with some oats or a tuna sandwich on whole grain bread would do nicely.


So, while cable back workouts will build that muscular back, remember, your diet is just as crucial in this quest for size and strength. Time to chow down, folks!


Overcoming Plateaus in Cable Back Workouts

Alright, next on the agenda is a tough but necessary conversation: plateaus. As you tackle your cable back workouts, you’re bound to hit some roadblocks, but don’t worry, we’ve got your back (pun intended).


Understanding Plateaus


Imagine you’re on a hike, doing well, then suddenly you hit a flat area where the scenery doesn’t change. This, my friend, is a plateau. In terms of your workouts, it’s when progress seems to halt despite your efforts. Annoying, right?


Tips to Break Through a Plateau


No mountain plateau lasts forever, and the same goes for your workouts. Here are a few tips:


  1. Mix it up: If you’re consistently doing the same cable machine workouts for back, your body adapts. Try new exercises or alter your reps and sets.

  2. Rest: Believe it or not, sometimes your body just needs a break. A well-rested body can often lead to better gains.

  3. Check your diet: Remember that food is fuel. If your energy levels are lacking, it might be time to revisit your meal plan.


When to Change Your Workout Routine


If you’ve been stuck on the plateau for a month or more despite changes, it’s time for a switch-up. Perhaps consider increasing the intensity of your cable back workouts or even exploring other forms of resistance training. Remember, variety is the spice of life and the key to a well-rounded physique.


Don’t let the plateau get you down. It’s a natural part of the journey to that ultimate back strength and size. Keep pushing, keep trying new things, and you’ll break through. Plateaus are temporary, but those gains? They can be forever.


Recommended Read: >>> Your Ultimate Guide To Back Training <<<

Frequently Asked Questions About Cable Back Workouts

What are some of the best cable back exercises for the upper back muscles and shoulder health?

Single arm cable row and cable reverse fly are great exercises for targeting your upper back muscles, promoting shoulder health, and correcting muscle imbalances. They target primary and secondary muscles, giving an attention-grabbing upper body and muscle mass.

Can you perform cable machine exercises using different attachments like the straight bar and rope attachment?

Absolutely! A straight bar attachment is excellent for wide grip lat pulldown and close grip lat pulldown exercises. The rope attachment is perfect for straight arm pulldowns, keeping your arms extended overhead for constant tension on the entire upper body.

How can free weights complement back workouts with cables?

Free weights are versatile gym equipment that can be used in tandem with cables to target specific muscle groups. For instance, barbell bent over row and bent over rows are staples in any workout regimen, targeting primary muscles like rear delts, offering indirect core training stimulus.

How does grip change the effectiveness of cable exercises?

The grip you use – wide, neutral, or close – can alter which muscles are worked during your workout. For example, a wide grip lat pulldown or wide grip cable row engages different muscles than a close grip lat pulldown or single arm cable row. Keep your elbows tight and core engaged for the best results.

Are there any staple exercises for building muscle with a cable machine?

Absolutely, the cable pullover is a great exercise for building muscle. It engages your entire upper body, keeping your shoulder joint safe while giving an indirect core training stimulus. Remember, to lean forward slightly with upper arms stationary to get the most from this exercise.

What role does the shoulder blade play in cable back exercises?

The shoulder blade plays a significant role in cable back exercises. When performing exercises like the straight arm pulldown or the wide grip lat pulldown, retracting your shoulder blades ensures correct form and maximum muscle engagement.

How Often Should You Do Cable Back Workouts?

Like any workout, balance is key. A typical recommendation for targeting specific muscle groups, including the back, is 2-3 times per week. This allows ample time for muscle recovery, which is when the real growth happens. But remember, every body responds differently, so listen to yours!

How to Incorporate Cable Back Workouts in a Split Routine?

In a split routine, you can include cable back workouts on your ‘back day’ or ‘pull day’ (if you’re following a push/pull/legs split). This way, you’re focusing on the pull-oriented muscles like lats, rhomboids, and trapezius. It also ensures balanced training and avoids overworking any single muscle group.

Can I Build Back Muscles Exclusively with Cable Workouts?

Absolutely! Cable workouts can provide a full range of motion and constant tension, making them incredibly effective for muscle building. However, it’s always a good idea to mix it up and incorporate other types of exercises. This will challenge your muscles in different ways and promote more well-rounded strength and development.

What Are the Alternatives If I Don’t Have Access to a Cable Machine?

No cable machine? No problem! There are numerous exercises you can perform with free weights, resistance bands, or even bodyweight that target your back muscles. For example, dumbbell rows, resistance band pull-aparts, and pull-ups are all solid choices. Remember, it’s not the equipment that makes the workout, but how you use it!

What are some iconic exercises in Arnold's back workout?

The Arnold back workout is renowned for its intensity and variety. It incorporates exercises like deadlifts, pull-ups, and bent-over rows to name a few. Learn more about the Arnold back workout.

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How can compound back exercises benefit my muscle development?

Compound back exercises engage multiple muscle groups at the same time, making them incredibly beneficial for overall strength, muscle mass, and endurance. Find out more about compound back exercises.

Can a wide back workout improve my posture and overall strength?

Absolutely! A wide back workout targets the latissimus dorsi, the largest muscles in your back, and can significantly improve your posture, contribute to your overall strength, and enhance your V-shape aesthetic. Discover the benefits of a wide back workout.

How should I perform Lat Pushdowns for optimal results?

Lat Pushdowns are an effective exercise for targeting the latissimus dorsi. To perform them correctly, you’ll want to stand facing the cable machine with your arms extended and hold the bar with an overhand grip.

What benefits can I expect from the bent-over cable row exercise?

The bent-over cable row is a versatile exercise that targets several muscles, including your lats, rhomboids, and traps. It’s a superb choice for anyone looking to improve their back strength and muscular development.

Can you tell me more about the v-bar lat pulldown exercise?

Sure! The v-bar lat pulldown is a variant of the standard lat pulldown that allows for a unique range of motion and muscle engagement. This exercise is particularly effective at building the lats and enhancing upper body strength.

What are some good alternatives to rack pulls?

If you’re looking for a solid rack pulls alternative, exercises such as block pulls, trap bar deadlifts, and hyperextensions can be a great option. Each offers unique benefits and can be a great way to mix up your workout routine.

How does a smith machine deadlift differ from a traditional deadlift?

A smith machine deadlift is performed using a smith machine, providing more stability and control compared to a traditional deadlift. It’s a great exercise to target your posterior chain and can be particularly beneficial for those new to lifting or dealing with certain injuries.

Recommended Read: >>> How to Get Bigger Forearms Fast <<<

Conclusion: The Journey to a More Defined and Stronger Back

Time to bring this muscle-packed journey to a close, folks. So, let’s recap and put the cherry on top of this “Cable Back Workouts” sundae.


Summary of Cable Back Workouts


Over the course of this guide, we’ve delved deep into the anatomy of the back, highlighting the major muscles you’ll be targeting like the latissimus dorsi and trapezius. We’ve covered necessary equipment for your cable back workouts, from the standard cable machine to the various types of grips and handles, and let’s not forget about safety equipment, the unsung hero of the gym.


We journeyed through the importance of a proper warm-up and gave you a sample routine to get you started. Then, we presented a stellar lineup of 11 essential exercises – from the seated cable row to the cable shrugs, each one dissected in terms of description, muscles worked, performance guide, recommended sets and reps, helpful tips, and benefits and drawbacks.


Building your own workout routine? We provided guidelines and example routines based on experience level. And when it comes to nutrition, we emphasized its role in muscle development and suggested pre and post-workout meals. Lastly, we talked about overcoming plateaus – because every journey has its flat spots.


Final Thoughts and Encouragement


As you set forth on this journey towards a more defined and stronger back, remember this: progress, not perfection, is the goal. Even the best cable workouts for back won’t transform you overnight, but consistency will. Give it time, keep changing things up, stay fueled with the right food, and listen to your body.


Whether you’re a beginner starting with back workouts on a cable machine or an advanced gym-goer seeking the best cable workouts for back strength, this guide’s got something for everyone. You’re equipped with everything you need to conquer those cable back workouts and emerge on the other side with a back that screams power and strength.


And so, it’s not a goodbye, but a “see you at the cable machine.” Keep lifting, keep growing, and remember, the journey is just as important as the destination.


Here’s to your ultimate back strength and size!


(oh, and do keep in touch and check in with us regularly for more fantastic content. For a complete list of our previous blog posts, please go here)


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Recommended Read: >>> Your Ultimate Guide To Chest Training <<<

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