7 Best Cable Back Exercises To Build a Massive Back

Shayla Whitter

Absolutely, everyone at the gym might be obsessed with showcasing their biceps and abs, but let’s not overlook the importance of your lats!

It’s high time to give some attention to your back!

Including a specific workout for your back can make achieving your fitness goals easier and pain-free. Strengthening your core muscles not only enhances your posture but also reduces discomfort, making it the key to living a healthy and fit life!

With the right training, your back muscles can become the star of any gym you enter. The most effective way to train your back is through isolation exercises using cable machines.

Given the multitude of options available, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to begin. Don’t worry, though – we’ve got you covered. Check out our top 7 best cable back exercises that will undoubtedly make your back as strong as an ox!

Best Cable Back Exercises

Don’t be intimidated by those complicated-looking cable machines in the gym – they may look daunting, but trust me when I say that exercises with cables are a great and easy way to get your back looking how you want it!

Following are the best cable exercises that will help you get a ripped back in no time.

  1. Lat Pull Down

Lat pull-downs are a fantastic starting point if you’re searching for a simple cable machine exercise to incorporate into your back workout programme.

Many personal trainers incorporate this cable back workout into their routines to help their clients develop thicker, more muscular lats. By avoiding the triceps and biceps, this isolating exercise can strengthen the back muscles alone.

Muscles Worked

Rear deltoid, Trapezius, and Rhomboids

How to do It:

  • Start by sitting on the machine and taking an overhand grip, hands somewhat further apart than shoulder-width. Brace your legs under the supports.
  • While keeping your upper back upright, pull down the bar and bring it close to your chest. While pulling down, pinch your shoulder blades together to tighten your back muscles.
  • Use your upper back for this exercise, and consider your arms nothing more than a lever between the bar and your lats.
  • Now, release the bar slowly and extend your lats as much as possible.
  1. Seated Cable Row

The muscles in your lower back get a good workout together with your middle back when you do the Seated Cable Rows cable exercise. The best part about this workout is its versatility.

A simple change in hand grips can switch the muscles being targeted in your back, allowing you to train the surrounding back muscles as well.

Muscles Worked

Trapezius, Rhomboids and Rear Deltoid.

How to do It:

  • Put your feet on the crossbar of a seated cable pulley rowing machine and rest your knees slightly bent.
  • Extend your arms out and grab the handles; stretch your back too.
  • To get the handles as close to your lower chest/abdomen as possible, pull the handle upwards.
  • Bring the handle back to its original position gradually. Keep your chin up and chest out while you pull.
  1. Cable Twisting Standing Row

Numerous muscles are worked during the cable back workout, requiring a small waist rotation. Since this is a one-sided cable exercise, keeping your core engaged is essential. This exercise can be modified to strengthen the upper or lower back with a change in hand position.

This motion targets the hips, glutes, and other lower body muscles and is an excellent cable back workout.

Muscles Worked

Lats, Rear deltoid, Lower Trapezius, Rhomboids, Obliques, and Biceps

How to do It:

  • Put a cable pulley at about elbow height and attach a single grip handle on the machine.
  • Take a step back and bend your knees to form a staggered posture. You should have a straight arm out and twist your waist towards the cable.
  • While rotating your waist in the same direction, draw your elbow back towards your body until it is near your waist.
  • Hold at the peak for a second, then bring yourself back down.
  • Repeat.
  1. Cable Shrug

The cable shrug is a derivative of the shoulder shrug. It is considered to be one of the most effective exercises for building the strength of the trapezius muscle, which is located in the upper back.

It is one of the most effective cable exercises for isolating traps, and it offers a variety of variations to help further boost growth.

Muscles Worked

Upper Traps, Lateral deltoid and Anterior deltoid.

How to Do It

  • Get a hold of the cable bar attached to a low pulley. Position your hands about shoulder distance apart or as far apart as you feel comfortable. Keep your palms facing down.
  • Position yourself so that your standing close to the pulley and your arms are fully extended, holding the bar.
  • Raise the bar as high as you can while lifting your shoulders (as if you’re shrugging). As you do this exercise, let out a deep breath. Keep the posture for a second at the top.
  • Get the bar back to its starting position by lowering it slowly.
  • Repeat.
  1. Laying Cable Pullovers

The barbell pullover and the dumbbell pullover both have their place, but a laying cable pullover is a fantastic option.

It is the most effective exercise for developing a robust rib cage as well as the serratus anterior muscle, which together contributes to the development of a full chest and back.

The back is strengthened through the direct action of the pullover on the serratus anterior muscle.

Muscles Worked

Chest, Lats, Shoulders and Triceps.

How to Do It:

  • Place the bench in front of a low pulley cable machine and ensure that there is a distance of at least two to three feet separating the bench and the machine.
  • Place yourself on the bench with your head propped up near the end of the bench that is closest to the cable machine. Take hold of a rope with both of your hands.
  • Maintaining a straight arm position, slowly pull your hands up and across the top of your head. This position should feel comfortable.
  • After pausing, slowly return the weight to where it was initially.
  • Repeat.
  1. Face Pull

The Face Pull is an exercise performed on a cable machine that focuses largely on the posterior deltoid and, to a lesser extent, also works the biceps, triceps, and traps.

Any muscular imbalances can be avoided and fixed by using this exercise, which also helps strengthen the shoulder and scapula overall.

Muscles Worked

Rear deltoid, Lateral delt, Traps, Rhomboids, Teres Minor and Teres Major.

How to do It:

  • Take hold of the two ends of the rope attachment while maintaining a neutral grip (palms facing each other) and lean back just a little bit.
  • Pull the rope toward your face while spreading the ends out so that they end up on the sides of your ears, just above your shoulders.
  • Hold this form for a second as you push your shoulder blades together and contract your middle and rear deltoids as firmly as possible.
  • After that, bring the rope back to its starting position in a controlled manner.
  • Repeat.
  1. Cable Deadlift

The finest alternative to the traditional barbell deadlift is the cable deadlift. This is an excellent lower back cable exercise.

Using a cable for deadlifts has many advantages, including a smooth, controlled motion that allows for a longer duration under stress and a greater muscle pump, both of which benefit muscular development.

Muscles Worked

Erector Spinae, Gluteals, Hamstrings, Trapezius, Latissimus dorsi Quadriceps, and Forearms.

How to do It:

  • On a cable machine, fasten two pulleys together using the lowest tension setting. Check that the attachment points for the cable pulleys are not too far apart from one another.
  • You are going to lower yourself to the ground while retaining a firm grip on the cable with both hands. Just a friendly reminder to keep your back as straight as you can. Pull your hamstrings and your back into your body.
  • Raise the cable by contracting both your hamstrings and your glutes. You should keep your back upright, your head gazing up, and your legs slightly bent at the knees.
  • Raise the cables so that your body is standing upright as a result. When the weight migrates to the lumbar spine, be careful not to hyperextend your body.
  • The next step is to carefully lower the cable by first bending at the hips and then at the knees. This should be done at a steady, gradual pace.

Related Article: 10 Best Effective Cable Crossover Alternatives – You Need to Know

Is Cable Exercises Good For Back Training?

The cable machine is a common and versatile piece of equipment found in most gyms. People of all fitness levels, from beginners to experienced athletes, can use it easily.

Using the cable machine for back exercises is great for making your back muscles stronger and bigger. The machine allows you to do various exercises with different weights, attachments, body positions, and angles, making your movements smooth.

Cable machines are excellent for strengthening your back because they keep a constant tension on your muscles. This makes them effective in a different way compared to free weights, as they work your muscles throughout the entire exercise, not just during specific phases like lifting and lowering weights.

12-Week Back Workout Plan

“Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail”–   Alan Lakein

Even if you know which exercises are for which specific muscle group, not having a proper workout plan can be detrimental. So we have brought you a fail-proof, easy-to-do workout plan for your back that can be done with just a cable machine.

Workout Description

Main GoalMuscle Building
Workout TypeStrength Training
Training LevelIntermediate
Program Duration12 Weeks
Days Per Week1 Day
Time Per Workout45 to 60 Minutes
Equipment RequiredCable Machine

Week 1 – 4

Seated Cable Row3 sets of 10-12 reps
Lat Pulldown5 sets till failure
Face Pull3 sets of 20 reps
Bent Over Cable Row5 sets of 5 reps

Week 5 – 8

Cable Pullover2 sets of 15-20 reps
Seated Cable Row2 sets of 15-20 reps
Cable Deadlift2 sets of 15-20 reps
Cable Shrug2 sets of 15-20 reps

Week 9 – 12

Cable Pullover4 sets of 30,25,20,15 reps
Seated Cable Row4 sets of 30,25,20,15 reps
Cable Deadlift4 sets of 30,25,20,15 reps
Cable Twisting Standing Row5 sets of 5 reps

Follow this routine and within 12 weeks you will see some promising results. I haven’t mentioned any weight limits because the amount of weight you lift will depend on your current physique. Just make sure that you neither lift too much nor too little.

Final Thoughts

The muscles in our back are really important because they connect our head, shoulders, and hips to our chest and ribs. These muscles help us move around and do everyday things like lifting, moving, and twisting. So, it’s crucial to exercise and train our back muscles regularly.

Having strong back muscles not only lets us lift heavier weights at the gym without hurting ourselves but also helps us keep a good posture. This, in turn, prevents issues in our lower back. 

If you want a well-shaped back, check out the workouts I’ve mentioned in this article. Pay attention to your muscles and work on developing them quickly.

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