Back Workout with Cables: Top 8 Exercises to Build Muscular Strength

You can achieve excellent results using a cable machine to build a thicker and stronger back. Back Workout with Cables are great for back exercises. They can also improve your larger compound lifts, such as deadlifts and overhead presses.

The cable machine targets all of the muscles in your back by using different angles, weights and attachments.

You can move your arms quickly with cable exercises for your back, reducing the stress that could be placed on your joints. They also provide constant tension to your muscles, which dumbbells cannot do.

Here are the 8 best Back Workout with Cables you can do on a cable machine to get a back to be proud of. There’s also a back workout that uses only cable machines… We have your back covered!

What Is a Cable Machine?

Jack LaLanne invented the cable machine in 1939; she is considered one of the greatest names in fitness. Harold Zinkin improved the machine in the 1950s, creating the Universal Gym Equipment. This home exercise machine featured a cable or pulley mechanism.

Cable machines, or pulley machines as they are sometimes called, consist of a steel framework with weight plates attached to a cable. Cable machines are available in single stacks, such as a Lat Pulldown Machine or double stacks.

The cable can attach different pieces, such as pull-up bars, V bars, ropes or straps. Cables can be adjusted to different heights.

Select the weight in 5-10 pound increments, select the attachment and adjust the height. Both advanced lifters, as well as complete beginners can benefit from cable machines.

Consider purchasing one of these fantastic pieces of equipment if you own a home gym. We analyzed the best cable machines available today and selected them.

Do Cable Machines Work Well For Back-Strengthening Exercises

Cable exercises are a great way to build strength and muscle in the back. Back Workout with Cables can be performed with various angles, weights and attachments.

You will find that both big guys and girls, as well as those new to weightlifting, use the cable machine in the gym. Cable back exercises are extremely versatile and offer something for everyone.

Cable back exercises are great because they offer continuous tension, similar to Resistance Bands. Time under tension is a critical component of muscle building. Cable machines apply tension to your muscles during the exercise’s eccentric and concentric parts.

Exercises with Cable Backs Have Many Benefits

Bodybuilders typically use dumbbells and barbells for back exercises. You can also use the cable to perform a few pulldowns or rows before you call it a night. Use cables in your back exercises.

Back Workout with Cables have many benefits:

  • Do dozens of back exercises using one piece of equipment.
  • Constant tension across the range of motion.
  • Both arms can be worked at once or separately.
  • Return to the train in less time.
  • No need for dumbbells or weight plates.
  • Supersets or drop sets are easy to make.
  • A safer alternative to free weights

Top 8 Back Workout with Cables

Back Workout with Cables

1. Close Grip Lat pulldown

Close grip lat pulldowns use a v-shaped attachment that has two parallel handles. This is also known as a V-bar pulldown. This handle lets you keep your palms facing each other and rotate your arms internally as you exercise.

The close grip pulldown is a great way to target the lats and biceps. It can also be used for the chest, but only in a limited manner.

The internal arm rotation also causes less activation in the upper back muscles and rear delts than other grips.

Wide Grip Lat pulldown vs Wide Grip

Hook a v-bar attachment onto the cable end to perform this exercise. Grab the handles, palms facing you. Sit on the seat and extend your arms straight above your head.

Pull your hands towards your chest from this position until they are roughly at chin height. Control the weight by extending back to the top.

2. One Arm Lat Pull Down

The lat pulldown with one arm is a unilateral movement that targets the latissimus dorsi (lats).

Perform the exercise unilaterally to determine and correct any muscular imbalances on the left or right side of the back.

It promotes equality and overall strength and stability.

How to Do

  • Attach a grip or handle to the pulley.
  • Keep your knees firmly pressed against the pads.
  • Grab the handle with one hand and extend your arm above you.
  • The handle should be pushed down and towards your side.
  • Return the handle slowly to its original position.
  • Repeat the desired number on one arm before moving to the other.


  • Avoid swinging or using momentum.
  • Focus on the back muscles and go through your entire range of motion.
  • Squeeze your lats to get a powerful contraction.

3. Seated Cable Rows

This back exercise can be done on a cable-rowing machine with different handles and grip positions. The muscle involved is also changed. 

  • The neutral (thumbs-up) grip hits the middle and lower trapezius.
  • The latissimus is the main focus of the supinated grip (underhand).

How to Do

  • Sit down on a cable-pulley rowing machine with your legs slightly bent. Your feet should be pressed against the crossbar.
  • Hold the handles with your back extended and arms extended.
  • The handles should be pulled as close as possible to the stomach.
  • Pull your body upright while thrusting your chest.
  • Return the handle slowly to its original position.


  • When the handles are near your chest, squeeze your upper back muscles.
  • Avoid knee and lower-back pressure by keeping your knees slightly bent.
  • A rounded back is the wrong back. Always keep your back straight.
  • Do not move your upper back.

4. Cable Incline straight-armed pulldowns

Cable incline press downs are one of my favourite back exercises. They improve scapular strength and stability. This exercise is a great way to work the lats and other muscles like shoulders, pecs and teres minor.

This exercise is good to do before deadlifts, as it reinforces the proper scapular position, which is essential for a correct deadlift form.

How to pull down the Straight Arm Cable Incline:

  • Attach a bar at a height that is above the bench. Set it up on an incline of 45° in front of the pulley.
  • Face away from the cable and sit with your back to the bench.
  • Grab the bar using both hands, with shoulder width apart.
  • Start by placing your arms above your head, where the bar is located.
  • Keep your elbows slightly bent and push down the bar until your arms parallel your thighs.
  • Return slowly to the starting position while pressing your lats together.
  • Repeat desired reps
Back Workout with Cables

5. Cable Lieing Pullover Establishment

This exercise can stretch the lats and shoulders deeply, revealing any limitations in the range of movement. The cable pullover is a great way to build strength and size in the serratus anterior, back and chest.

Arnold Schwarzenegger swears by this exercise. That should give you an idea of its effectiveness and why we’ve included it.

Focus on letting your chest and back muscles work hard with a moderate to high repetition range. This will help you get a good stretch while maintaining your form.

Our article about the Best Cable Pullover variations has more great options!

How to Do the Cable Lying Pullover Extension

  • Attach the rope to the cable and place it level and close to the floor. Set up a bench next to the cable.
  • Grab the rope in a neutral grip while lying on your back, with your head facing the cable machine.
  • Start with your elbows bent and your arms extended behind your back.
  • Pulling the rope, ensure your arms are directly above your chest.
  • Return to the starting position slowly.
  • Repeat for desired reps

7. Face pulls with Cable Rope

  • Install the cable pulley to be at the top of your head.
  • Grab the rope handles with your hands, palms facing out. Step back and extend your arms fully.
  • Lean slightly back at a 20-degree angle and tighten your core.
  • Engage your shoulders and pull the rope towards you to begin lifting the weight.
  • Pull the rope handles towards your forehead. Retract your scapula (squeeze together your shoulder blades) and engage the rear delts. Your palms should be facing inwards as you flare your elbows to the sides.
  • Maintain good posture and reverse the movement. Slowly extend your arms without allowing the shoulders or chest to move forward.
Back Workout with Cables

8. Bent over Single-Arm Cable Pull

This exercise is excellent for developing unilateral strength and getting a good stretch. This exercise will challenge your core as it is a unilateral back exercise that requires core engagement to maintain proper form.

How to pull the cable with a bent-over single arm:

  • The stirrup should be set at the waist level.
  • Grab the stirrup using an overhand hold, then take a staggered position.
  • Standing away from the cable, hinge forward so your torso parallels the ground, and your arm is stretched forward.
  • Keep your hand close to you and pull back your elbow, rotating your wrist so that it ends up in an underhand grip.
  • Return slowly to the starting position after holding briefly at the top.
  • Repeat for desired reps.
  • Switch sides

Note: Focus on your arm only.


This guide should have helped you understand how Back Workout with Cables work and how they can be used to improve your back.

Try these exercises to see how they will improve your training. Remember to try different variations. The sky is the limit when it comes down to becoming more muscular and sculpted.

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