How to Do Close Grip Cable Row Properly

The close grip cable row is a great exercise to build your upper body strength. It is a strength exercise that targets the back and upper arms.

The row is done by pulling a weighted cable machine. You can also use resistance bands.

To do this exercise:

Sit upright on a bench. Plant your feet on the floor. Extend your arms to hold the cable. Your hands should be closer than shoulder-width together.

Move your shoulders back and down. Engage your core.

Exhale then bend your elbows to pull the handle of the cable. Keep your elbows tucked against your side and your back neutral. Hold position for a second.

Inhale then slowly extend your arms counting to three.

Finish one set of 12-15 reps.

WHAT MUSCLES DO CLOSE GRIP CABLE ROW WORK

The close grip cable row works the muscles in your back and arms.

1.      LATISSIMUS DORSI

This is one of the largest muscles in the back. The latissimus dorsi is located in the middle back. It is partially covered by the traps.

It originates from the vertebrae region of the spine then extends to the humerus. Also, it covers the lower tip of the shoulder blade.

When flexed, it helps with the extending, adducting and rotating of the arm.

The close grip cable row activates this muscle when pulling the cable.

2.      RHOMBOIDS

The rhomboids are located in the back region.

They are made up of the rhomboid major and rhomboid minor.

It helps keep the shoulder blade attached to the ribcage. It helps rotate the shoulder blade and retract it toward the spinal column.

The rhomboids play a significant role in your overall back health. They help determine your back strength, posture and durability.

They are centre of the lats which are to the sides of them.

The exercise engages the rhomboids during shoulder blade retraction and when you raise your shoulders into a shrug and pull.

3.      TRAPEZIUS

The trapezius is a back muscle that extends from the bottom of your skull, below the neck to the lower vertebrae of your spine.

The traps help support the arms. They also stabilize and move the shoulder blade, spine and neck.

It is a postural as well as a movement muscle. They help move your neck and head, shrug your shoulders and twist your arms.

The close grip cable row engages the traps when you pull the cable. Traps are very important for horizontal pulling and pushing movements.

They work in tandem with the rhomboids and lats.

4.      BICEPS

The biceps are the muscles found on the upper part of the back arm.

However, the close grip cable row primarily focuses on the biceps brachii. It is found on the front of the upper arm and comprises the long head and short head.

The main function of the biceps brachii is flexion at the elbow, supination and pronation. The long and short heads start at the scapula and then meet at the elbow.

Every pull motion of the close grip cable row helps strengthen this muscle.

CLOSE GRIP CABLE ROW BENEFITS

1.      IMPROVED POSTURE

The close grip cable row helps improve posture by working on the main muscles that help with posture.

Adding this exercise to your routine helps keep your back straight and strong.

2.      MINIMIZE THE RISK OF INJURY

The close grip cable row exercise helps reduce the risk of injury in the back and shoulders.

The shoulder can get easily strained from day to day lifting. While the back can also be injured from bad posture, too much bending etc.

Adding this exercise to your routine protects your shoulders and back even when you do other exercises.

3.      INCREASED ATHLETIC ABILITY

As mentioned earlier, the close grip cable row helps strengthen your rhomboids. This, in turn, helps you lift heavier weights during other weight training exercises.

4.      IMPROVED HEALTH

Due to modern lifestyles and working conditions, you can often have poor posture from sitting all day at a desk. Or standing too long at a counter.

When you perform this exercise, you strengthen your back muscles which enable great posture.

This helps you alleviate back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain and reduces the risk of breathing problems.

ALTERNATIVES TO CLOSE GRIP CABLE ROW

1.      BENT-OVER BARBELL ROW

Bent over barbell row requires you to have a barbell.

To do it:

  • Hold the bar with an overhand grip.
  • Let the bar hand with your arms straight.
  • Tighten your core and keep your shoulders down and shoulder blades together.
  • Row the bar up until it touches your chest then slowly lower it down again.
  • Ensure you squeeze your rhomboids at the end of each row.

2.      PRONE LATERAL RAISE

To do this exercise

  • Lie on a bench with your arms at your sides.
  • Lift a dumbbell in each arm.
  • Raise your arms to shoulder level.
  • Once your arms are parallel to the ground, squeeze your back and shoulder blades.

3.      PULL UP

  • Grab the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart. Your body should be hanging straight down from the bar with your arms fully extended.
  • Bring your shoulder blades down and back then pull yourself up using your lats then upper back then your arms.
  • Squeeze at the top then lower yourself back down until your arms are fully extended.

CLOSE GRIP CABLE ROW MISTAKES TO AVOID

This exercise requires proper form to be effective and safe.

Ensure that your elbows aren’t pointed outwards. Keep your elbows close to your torso during the pulling phase. If you lift your elbows up and out, this will engage your biceps rather than your lats and rhomboids.

When pulling the cable during this exercise, ensure that you keep your shoulders back and down. Lifting your shoulders towards your ears will put too much focus on the traps.

Always maintain a neutral back when doing the close grip cable row. Rounding your back means your core is not engaged.

Avoid swinging your torso. This will slacken any tension for the target muscles. Tightening your core will help you stabilize your torso.

Ensure your movements are slow and controlled. Otherwise, you will have jerky motions that will not help you build the target muscles.

Avoid limiting your range of motion. The close grip cable row is effective when your arms are extended during the push-pull motion.

Don’t lock your knees. Keep them slightly bent and loose to avoid pain in the joint.