By adding in the cable row (or pulley) to your training you will tone and improve your upper body strength, which will also enhance your posture and protect the shoulders from injuries.

The main muscles used in the cable row are latissimus dorsi, more commonly known as lats, the largest muscles in the back, rhomboids, located between the shoulder blades, trapezius muscle and biceps.

How to:

  • To perform a standard cable row you would normally use the pyramid grip, the v-shaped attachment.
  • Select the correct weight (if it’s too heavy then you won’t be able to achieve full range of movement).
  • Position your feet on the plates so that your knees are slightly bent.
  • Take hold of the grip with a nice straight back and engage your core muscles, keeping your elbows close into the side of your body, shoulders down and pull the elbows back so that you are squeezing between the shoulders at the back.
  • Return by extending arms out in front of you to a full stretch whilst the rest of the upper body is still and keeping tension.
  • Repeat for desired reps.

Common mistakes

Too heavy weight: As mentioned above, if the weight is too heavy you will not be able to perform the exercise correctly with good form.

Moving the torso: just use the arms, the rest of the upper body should be still.

Rounded back: back should be kept straight throughout the exercise

Returning to quickly: keep tension on return not allowing weights to clang together and keeping the movement smooth.

Modifications and variations

You can change the attachment and perform single arm rows. This is particularly useful if you have one side of the body that is much weaker than the other and will also work your core much harder as it will need to stabilize the torso.

If you would like to add in this exercise but are not feeling confident using weight, a good starting point is using a resistance band. Depending on length of resistance band that you are using it can either be placed round your feet or a stable pillar and the exercise can be performed in the same way allowing you to become familiar with the movement and build confidence to progress.