How to Do The Bent Over Cable Row Properly

The bent over cable row refers to a compound exercise that affects a number of areas in and around the back.

That said, its primary target area is the back and is highly effective due to its high impact nature

WHAT TO DO:

  • Grab the bar at the cable machine with an overhand grip, hands wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • With your legs slightly bent, keep your back perfectly straight and bend forward at the hips until your torso is almost parallel with the floor.
  • From here, row the weight upwards into the lower part of your chest, then lower under control.

Do 8 to 12 repetitions per set. Do 2 to 3 sets

WHAT MUSCLES DO THE BENT OVER CABLE ROW WORK?

THE BACK

This is the area that feels the effect of the exercise most.

Primarily, the back is most affected because the bent over cable row mostly involves pulling movements which is always a surefire way of involving the back.

As such, the trapezius (largest back muscle) works in conjunction with the shoulder deltoids and the latissimus dorsi to complete pulling actions,

LEG MUSCLES

Leg muscles here take on a stabilizer role while doing the bent over cable row. This is particularly so when distributing weight at the start and end of the exercise.

CORE

In order to induce stability and tension throughout the exercise, your core should always be engaged.

It is also important to engage the core due to the bent position you take up as the mainstay position.

This is because it ensures that your joints and lower back do not experience excessive strain. Excessive strain could lead to injuries in the lower back or joint areas

BENT OVER CABLE ROW BENEFITS

PREVENTS INJURIES

While doing the bent over cable row, the stability from the legs and support from the core ensures strain experienced is kept at a controlled level.

This therefore sets you up for a workout experience that won’t be littered with joint injuries.

It also protects the shoulder. This is due to the working relationship automatically formed between the back, lats, shoulders, glutes and hamstrings.

When all these areas work together, it strengthens and stabilizes the shoulder thus reducing its susceptibility to injuries.

That said, the bent over cable row allows you to work out even while nursing an injury. This is due to the cushioning effect the range of its motions provides.

IMPROVES UPPER BODY AND CORE STRENGTH

The core and upper body specifically the back are heavily engaged when doing the bent over cable row.

The more reps you do, the higher the level of engagement. In turn, this leads to a strengthened core and back. An advantageous functional quality to have.

This is because having good levels of upper body strength helps you accomplish day to day tasks better. For instance, carrying heavy goods.

HELPS REDUCE FAT

Working out naturally instigates an increase in lean muscle within your body. Lean muscle often comes with an increased resting metabolic rate.

An increased resting metabolic rate means you burn more calories even when you’re not active.

As such, you reduce your body’s fat composition more by virtue of increasing how many calories you get rid of.

Reduced-fat composition ultimately facilitates healthy blood pressure, a good healthy heart rate. It also reduces your chances of contracting chronic diseases i.e., high blood pressure.

ALTERNATIVES TO BENT OVER CABLE ROW

REVERSE GRIP BARBELL ROW

  • Grab the bar with an underhand grip and set up as you would perform a traditional bent over row.
  • Both hands and feet should be shoulder-width apart to form a strong foundation for the movement.
  • Bend over until you reach 45 degrees, with your arms hanging down by your side.
  • Slowly pull the bar toward your midsection, keep your back straight, making sure to engage your core throughout the entire movement.
  • Lower the bar in a controlled fashion.

Repeat.

INVERTED ROW

  • Find a bar that is waist height. It could be anything from the bar on a smith machine to a random stable bar you’ve found outside at home.
  • Under the bar, use the overhand grip to grab the bar shoulder-width apart.
  • With your arms extended and your feet straight, slowly pull yourself up until your chest touches the bar, squeezing your scapula for the full pump, and keep your back straight.
  • While lowering, maintain a tight core, which helps you control the movement and prevent injury.

Repeat.

LYING DUMBBELL ROW

Starting this exercise involves the use of a bench and set it at a comfortable level. Now, this is likely to be customized based on fitness levels and body type.

After settling on the bench, do the following:

  • Lying face down, grab your dumbbells in both hands.
  • Ensure your feet can touch the floor; this gives you a solid base to perform the exercise.
  • Your arms should be hanging in a relaxed manner; now, slowly bring the dumbbells up towards the bench, making sure to keep your elbows tucked in tight at the top of the movement.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat.

BENT OVER CABLE ROW MISTAKES TO AVOID

The fact that the bent over cable row is doing in an awkward position leaves the door open for plenty of errors. These are some of the most common mistakes:

ROUNDED BACK

It is understandable if your first instinct when you bend is to round your back. However, this is in fact unhealthy as it exerts an unhealthy amount of pressure on your spine.

You should always maintain a straight back. You are however allowed to flex slightly in order to allow for full range of motion while doing the bent over cable row.

MOVING TORSO

A still torso creates the best environment for an effective exercise. As such when making movements, use your arms and keep the torso still.

RUSHED MOMENTUM

When returning to the starting position, it is important to maintain your level of tension.

Instead of rushing momentum and not completing your movements, gently see your rep through with the same level of tension.

CONCLUSION

The bent over cable row is an exercise that utilizes an awkward position to instigate impact on a plethora of areas within the body.

However, if done poorly, it can be infective and lead to injuries. You should therefore pay extra attention to form and execution before settling on the exercise.