Max Load for Cable Rows?

I just read that

"The problem with the standing cable chest press is that you can only press about 40% of your bodyweight. " in Why the Bench Press is the Best Exercise

So this makes me wonder, what is the maximum I can pull on a seated cable row? (chest unsupported). How about a standing cable row? How about a 90 degree bent over barbell row?

Thank you!

Better question: why does it matter?

Without something to really leverage yourself against you aren’t pulling as much as your max.

That sounds like some kind of fallacy. If you’re standing on the floor, you will be able to brace yourself, although it will depend on your ab strength how much weight you can brace against. It’s not like you are deadweight. Same for a seated row, if you have something to push your feet against.

Do not worry about what “some guy” says about an arbitrary number with shit like this, dude.

There will ALWAYS be anomalies, to both degrees.

Just be as good at whatever you’re trying to do as you can.

Thank you for the replies.

Well I have just noticed that the weight I can pull on standing cable rows is topping out- seems like I now need to lean back to pull more, which I think is cheating and a waste of time. So I just want to know if I am at my weight limit and if so, then I will stop trying to increase it. Or is it because I am not strong enough? I am already pulling more than 40% of my BW. I just need to know when to throw in the towel and move on. See? At the same time, I like standing rows and would like to keep them.

I also don’t understand the comment about just chosing the exercise that allows me to pull my max. I think the bent over barbell row is the most taxing yet it lets me pull the least.

I think “experts” should be able to figure out the equivalents based on physics and mechanics somehow- like there are force couples in all except the prone chest supported rows (which makes me feel ill). “The sum of the forces and moments must equal zero…” Or something like that? Newtons laws of motion I think?

The only standard on rows I have found is:

Exercise (decent)(good)(great)
45 degree 1/4 Bent Over Row (65)(105)(135)

from Strength Standards: Are You Strong?

So there should be a way to convert that to other types of rows? 135 pounds is less weight that typical bodyweight and that is at 45 degrees. What is it at 90? Standing? Seated? See what I mean?

Basically I want to know what the limits are. Also as goalposts- it is nice to have something other than “as much as possible” as an objective. (which actually is not my objective).


Duuuuuude, please, seriously, listen to my words.


Whatever you can do on that exercise now, do twice that much as soon as possible, with the same form. That’s what’s important. I honestly don’t know if you’re understanding (or not) the concept that arbitrary numbers mean NOTHING. Some people have insane maximum potentials for relative strength, others don’t.

Stop. Worrying. About. Those. Numbers.

Leaning back on standing cable rows or facepulls isn’t cheating. Using a higher cable gives the important muscles the same angle of pull.

And regarding barbell rows: Hungry4more on this site recently did 405x15 and seems to weigh about 200-220. There are no limits.

That being said, don’t use standing cable rows as a primary exercise, use something you can go heavier on first, then you can do something that only allows less load.

If your question was simply if there is a “max” that you reached based on physics - that answer is no. Your body is not the only thing providing force against the weight/gravity - the floor also is, and prevents you from moving past the floor no matter how much weight you hold/how much force you push down with.

Your muscles also contract and provide a variable amount of force to keep you upright, so there is no calculation that can be done that would tell you a max.

ok thank you everyone. You all seem in agreement so I will take your word for it. Plus, I have been wondering about which to do first- the supported or unsupported, or which is better. In the end, I am just going to do it all then and not worry about it. Thank you very much for your input, I appreciate it. :slight_smile: & ssc- I had a good chuckle at your relpy, hehe.