How to do Cable Row Alternatives Properly

There are plenty of cable row alternatives you could experiment with. Cable rows are a staple in almost all back workout programs. A cable row is a compound exercise, meaning it is a routine that works multiple groups of mainly the back muscles simultaneously.

To perform a cable row, you will need to sit on the bench of a weighted horizontal cable machine and keep your knees bent.

Grab the handle of the cable which can either be a triangle or bar and pull the cable down towards your lower abdomen, then return it to its previous position.

Be careful to keep your back straight, and make sure your arms are moving rather than your torso. You also want to avoid letting the weights fall or crash when you return to the starting position.

If you are looking to build strength or mass, you should implement cable rows alternatives, mainly because they strengthens your back and the stronger your back muscles are, the more you can exercise and lift in the rest of your routines.

Inasmuch as other people may want to do this exercise, the machine might not be accessible for them, maybe they are in a gym that doesn’t have the machine, or they have a home gym but still want to reap the rewards.

In that case, looking for cable row alternatives is the only choice. There’s plenty of choices you can make. Here are some of the best cable row alternatives.



The bent-over rows are one of the perfect cable row alternatives in numerous ways. First, they will hit your traps and lats at least equally well as the cable rows.

The reason why they’re such an effective alternative is that they are versatile. This means that you can do them with a barbell as well as with dumbbells.

With a barbell, you can load it as much as you want. Dumbbells, on the other hand, are better for isolation and for beginners as well.

They can help you build some serious size, and they are also beginner-friendly.

Getting the technique for this cable row alternative right is tricky. Consider starting with the barbell on the floor. Bend your knees and hinge your hips, but keep your back straight all through.

Also, don’t forget to squeeze your abs and your back muscles. The movement should be controlled, therefore, don’t swing around too much. Load it appropriately to your needs.


This cable row alternative is a classic.

You should be using the T-bar machine (with the wide handle) as it will not only build thickness but will also add inches to your lats.

This cable row alternative is an excellent exercise to progressively load over time. The bar itself will offer some resistance, and you can always increase it with some weights.

It does require some lower back strength, though, so it is not best for beginners. Some ab work will also be needed here.

With this exercise, it’s all about the technique. Beginners often make the mistake of rounding the back. Consider keeping your back straight, especially the lower back.


This variation of the T-bar row provides better isolation and helps with greater muscle recruitment.

The single-arm T-bar row is an advanced exercise and can take some time to get used to.

According to a study conducted over an eight-week period, using different exercises and even their variations can ignite muscle growth and motivate you to train.

This cable row alternative is almost similar to the single-arm dumbbell rows. However, the only difference is that we do this exercise standing up, and with the T-bar.

The T-bar single-hand rows will work your traps and lats effectively. The secondary muscles that you will work with this movement are shoulders and arms.

Performing this exercise is beneficial for better isolation on each side of our back. However, you’ll have to be wary of your posture when performing it.

The technique is very essential here, as it is crucial to make it more effective. Perform the single-hand T-bar rows standing with the T-bar at your side.

Then, bend your knees slightly and keep your back straight. Squeeze your abs and your back muscles. Additionally, try to stay stable, and don’t sway when you do the movement.

The movement of your torso should be minimal with this movement.


Seated band rows are a great cable row alternative if you don’t have a cable row machine. In fact, this exercise can easily be done at home.

They are often referred to as the poor man’s cable rows because all you need is a stable pole, a good resistance band, and perhaps a handle to grip the band. Note that this alternative is not great for loading the exercise. Instead, it is aimed at beginners.

Alternatively, you don’t even need somewhere to attach the band. All you need is the band, and attach it to your feet.

The movement is very similar to cable rows. It works your traps and lats. However, it will not be effective for muscle growth over time.


The single-arm dumbbell rows are among great cable row alternatives. You can perform it either with or without a bench. You will however need a dumbbell for the exercise.

This cable row alternative targets your lats and traps, but also your shoulder and arms. As it’s done by only one hand at a time, you’ll have to rotate.

Range of motion is one of the main factors keeping you from achieving a solid back. Many people struggle with their form in compound back training lifts and hence are not able to follow a full range of motion.

Performing single-arm dumbbell rows puts you in the perfect spot to make the most of your back training as you support your body with one hand while you lift with the other.


Having some cable row alternative exercises will be beneficial especially if you don’t have a machine at home, or you simply want to spice things up and try something different for your back.