T Nation

Cable Low Rows

I decided to throw something new into my back routine yesterday, as I had some pretty miserable sets of hang cleans. So, as the title says, I tried Cable Low Rows

Is there any way to increase the difficulty? 1 1/4s? Adjust the bench height? Do them from the floor? I tried what I could think of, but to no avail.

And of course, before some wise ass says to add more weight, I’ve tried that. There really isn’t a place to hang plates or Dumbbells off the stack, as it’s semi-enclosed.



Pauses. Slow down the tempo. 1 and 1/4’s are good. One-armed. Thick grip. Lots of options. What are you trying to do?

Thanks for the reply. I was trying to improvise a back workout, and figured I’d screw around with some machines. My back is one of my lagging body parts; I figured I needed to change it up a bit. My last set was 15 reps at a 4240 tempo. One armed sounds like a good idea, I’ll definitely remember that.

Make sure you’re not cheating!! Please don’t blast back at me that you always perform reps in strict form etc. I’m just remarking that it’s VERY easy to cheat (and a lot of people do) on this exercise by incorporating too much torso lean/momentum. This usually happens whe they try to handle more weight, thinking the lighter weight was too easy. The larger weight also feels relatively easy, but only because the form used on the exercise then becomes compromised. As Machine mentioned, slow down- this will reduce the likelehood that you will use the “swing” technique so commonly seen with this exercise. Keep the torso rigid, and concentrate on lat movement only, with a defined squeeze-pause at full contraction. Hope this helps. SRS

Patricia gave Jereme some really good back advise on the Photo board for working the back that I tried. It worked great for me.

Thanks Patricia!

I would like to think that I don’t “blast” back at anyone who tries to help me out. Anyway…

Could you give me a rundown on what you consider proper form for the excercise? I was introduced to the excercise in Lats Get Cookin’ and it seems to incorporate the swing/lean you’re talking about.

Don’t know if you can do it at your gym, but if you can set the pulley (or bench) to where you’re actually starting the movement from and angle that’s a bit above your shoulders (i.e., you’d be sitting stretched out with your arms maybe at 130 degrees to your torso, as opposed to 80 or 90 degrees to your torso - a sort of “cable high row”), you can both pull in and pull down at the same time. Very effective.

Sounds interesting. Kind of like a variation on a lat pulldown? I’ll definitely play around with the ideas on this thread. Thanks to all who replied.

For a completely humbling low pulley back workout: Try using the V-split-soft-rope attachment and pulling the cable to your lower abs. The movement will resemble a reverse fly with the major difference being the height at which the horizontal pull is performed.

For added fun [read: humiliation] use a 402 tempo!

Fisch-Dawg…first, a question for you: How do you pull that little trick where your links to other webpages are underlined words of your choice? That is one of the absolute coolest things I’ve seen and it beats the hell outta “www…” That said, I was thinking about this a bit and thought of one or two things you might try. Did you try to change your grip width and utilize different attachments? I would think that a pronated wide-grip would probably be the most difficult, and it would also allow for an excellent peak contraction to hit the middle back. Here’s another thought: did you think about using a single handle and performing one arm at a time?

Sorry dude, it’s just I find some people get very defensive and angry when you make any suggestion that their form is incorrect. You’re obviously not one of those, so I’ll rip right into you (:-)!).
Seriously, when I read your reply I do understand where you’re coming from. I went and sat down on the floor in front of the mirror just to remind myself how I actually perform this exercise (haven’t used for a while as don’t have a low cable). Indeed there IS some slight torso lean.
Unfortunately I have no pics, perhaps others can provide. Anyway description follows- Think of it as a “seated” upright row. I sit facing the cable on the floor, or floor-level bench, with my legs slightly bent (no more than 30 degrees) and shoulder width apart. Legs are held fixed and firm in this position, and as little leg movement is incorporated into the movement as possible. The distance from your shoulder to the cable should be slightly longer than the length of your arms, and THIS is where the lean-component comes in. You DO start the exercise with a forward torso lean. However the mistake subsequently made is to first-off lean BACK with the torso, hence introducing whole body momentum, BEFORE using the back muscles. The trick I think, is to forcefully and consciously squeeze the lats at the beginning of the rep whilst still leaning slightly forward. This will ensure it is BACK work alone that is performing the hardest part of the exercise the start and initial pull. It will also ensure that the back stays arched, vs becomes rounded- once the round is there, it will stay, and your back development goes out the window. Once under way, the torso NEEDS to lean back SLIGHTLY to ensure the arms can follow through to the strongest part of the movement (the full contraction). However IMO you should NOT lean back further than perpendicular to the ground, and at all times, your back should be arched, not rounded (lats squeezed!).

This question interests me bacause a few years ago I greatly prided myself in being able to pull the whole stack in my old gym, PLUS a few 20lb dumbells precariously balanced on top. It was only when I saw myself in the mirror one day side-on (in a gym I didn’t normally train in), that I realised that I looked more like one of those crazy guys in mental institutions rocking back and forward in their chairs, than a controlled athlete. Needless to say I went back to basics- I don’t lift so much now, but I still “feel” the exercise much more. Hope this helps. SRS

Thanks. The Lat’s Get Cookin link above has pictures, but is essentially what you describe not to do. I’ll try your way next back day.