10 Best Lower Back Cable Exercises To Build Strong, Pain Free Back

If you’re looking to strengthen your lower back muscles, cable exercises are a great place to start. With multiple combinations of angles, weights, attachments, and body positions, cables promote smooth movement when executing a variety of back exercises.

It’s important to have a strong lower back because it’s the foundation of your body’s good health and fitness.

The good news is that cables offer an easy and effective way to target and strengthen the lower back muscles safely. Cable machines provide a variable resistance that allows you to adjust intensity and isolate the low back muscles.

In this post, we’ll discuss the following:

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Benefits Of The Cable Lower Back Workout

There are various types of equipment you can choose from when it comes to strength training. However, The cable workout offers an effective way to train the lower back.

Let’s have a look at some other benefits of low back exercises with a cable machine.

  • Cable workouts are more evenly distributed, and you have more of a constant load on your back muscles throughout the whole range of motion.
  • The cable machine low back workout offers almost unmatched versatility because you can change up the load, angle, grip positioning and body positioning easily.
  • The cable’s guided path makes sure that the weight is controlled, which reduces the risk of getting hurt by dropped weights or improper form.
  • The cable setup gives your muscles almost uninterrupted time under tension, and a massive pump — each of which can help optimize muscle growth.
  • Cable machines exercises are a safe and efficient tool to incorporate into your normal workout program. The smooth flat resistance results in less wear and tear on the joints, especially the wrists, elbows.
  • The cable machine offers a smooth, controlled motion. This smooth motion is great to keep back exercises on the correct path to maximize the time under tension.
  • Varying the position of the pulley and the direction of the cable, you can workout various parts of the low cable muscles.
  • Cable machines are user-friendly, and are suitable for all skill levels. Beginners can start with lighter weights and simple movements, while advanced users can add more difficult exercises and heavier weights.

How to Strengthen Your Lower Back with Cable Exercises

Cable machines allow you to target all areas of the back muscles from multiple angles and through a full range of motion. Adjusting body position, weight load, and cable attachments, you can alter your grip and activate your lower back muscles in unique ways.

To structure an effective lower back workout on cable machines for building strength and mass, the number of reps and sets will depend on your current fitness level, workout frequency, and goals.

  • For pure strength gains, do 4 to 6 sets of 1 to 6 reps for each exercise, using a weight that is at least 85% of your one-repetition maximum (1RM). The lower the reps, the closer to 100% 1RM you should aim.
  • If your priority is hypertrophy (muscle growth), perform 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps per exercise, with loads between 70-85% of your 1RM.
  • For muscular endurance, higher reps (15-20) and moderate weights (50-70% 1RM) are recommended.

10 Best Cable Lower Back Exercises To Build Strength

Whether you want to fix muscle imbalances, improve posture, or gain strength in the lower back, incorporating these cable variations into your routine is sure to get results.

The 10 best cable lower back exercises to help you build a stronger, healthier back. These exercises include cable rows, cable deadlifts, cable pull-throughs, and more.

1. Cable Deadlift

The cable deadlift exercise is the best variation of the classic barbell deadlift. This is one of the best cable exercises for the lower back (posterior chain).

The deadlift exercise can be performed using a barbell, a pair of dumbbells and a cable.

One of the biggest benefits of using cable for deadlifts is that it offers a smooth, controlled motion and gives your muscles almost uninterrupted time under tension, and massive pump — each of which can help optimize muscle growth.

Cable Deadlift

How To Do

  1. Attach two pulleys at the lowest setting on a cable machine.
  2. Make sure the cable pulley attachments are located close to each other.
  3. Hold on to the cable with each hand, you’ll lower your butt to the ground.
  4. Remember to keep your back as straight as possible. Contract your back and hamstrings.
  5. Raise the cable using your hamstrings and glutes.
  6. You should keep your legs slightly bent, back straight, and head looking up.
  7. Raise it to the point where your body is erect.
  8. Do not hyperextend your body as the weight shifts to the lumbar spine.
  9. Then, lower the cable slowly at a steady, slow pace by bending at the hips and then at the knees.


  • Do not go through half of the exercise, complete the lift.
  • Avoid jerky movements and keep motion-controlled.

2. Seated Cable Rows

Seated Cable Rows are an excellent cable exercise to build middle back muscles, and this works on the lower back as well.

It focuses primarily on the muscles in your back, including the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and trapezius. It also engages your biceps and forearms as secondary muscles.

This back exercise is done on a cable rowing machine with separate handles and grip position change, the muscle worked involvement.

Seated Cable Row

How To Do

  1. Sit down on the machine and place your feet on the footrests.
  2. Grab the V-bar or wide grip handle and sit back with your arms fully extended.
  3. Keep your spine neutral and engage your core.
  4. Pull the cable towards your body, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  5. Hold for a second, then slowly release the cable back to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


  • Make sure your elbows are close to your body in order to maximize back muscle engagement.
  • Keep your knees slightly bent to avoid knee and lower back pressure.
  • Remember, a rounded back is a wrong back. Keep it straight at all times.
  • Keep your upper back stationary, don’t move your upper back, back and forth.

3. Cable Wood Chop

You can easily incorporate cable wood chop exercises into your back workout routine to build strength in your core muscles including low backabs, oblique and hip muscles.

The cable wood chop is an exercise that utilizes a cable machine to evoke the action of chopping wood, thereby enhancing strength and power in the low cable, core and obliques.

This is great for strengthening the twisting movement pattern of your torso, as well as improving your torso’s ability to resist twisting forces.

How To Do

  1. Attach a handle to the top of the cable pulley.
  2. Stand sideways to the machine, feet shoulder-width apart.
  3. Hold the handle with both hands and hold it up over your shoulder.
  4. Grasp the cable handle with both hands and pull it across your body in a diagonal motion.
  5. Pause for a second at the top of each movement, then slowly return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
  7. Repeat the exercise on your opposite side.


  • Begin with a lighter weight to focus on mastering the technique.
  • Don’t lock the knees and hips. Allow the hips and knees to rotate slightly.
  • Ensure that the movement is driven by your core and hips, rather than your arms.
  • Experiment with different cable attachments, such as a rope or single handle, to target your muscles differently.

4. Standing Low Cable Row

The low cable row is an upper body exercise that primarily targets the muscles of the back, including the latissimus dorsirhomboids, trapezius, and rear deltoids. Additionally, it works on the arms and shoulders. This exercise also strengthens your lower back and core.

The low cable row can be performed in different grip positions and attachments. Experiment with different grip variations, such as:

  • Single-arm cable row
  • Wide grip
  • Underhand grip
  • Long bar… Get creative!
How To Do Low Cable Row

How To Do

  1. Stand in front of a cable machine with the pulley set at the lowest level.
  2. Stand about 2-3 feet away from the pulley.
  3. Bend slightly at the knees and waist to help stabilize yourself.
  4. Pull the handle towards your abs and squeeze your shoulders together.
  5. Pause for a moment, then slowly release the handle back to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of reps.


  • Keep your back straight at all times, and avoid using momentum.
  • Retract and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  • Avoid bending your back or rounding your shoulders.
Know More: Guide To Mastering The Cable Row: Benefits, Form, Variations

5. Cable Twist

The Cable Twist is a powerful core workout that targets the obliques, rectus abdominis, and even the lower back. It is a unilateral exercise, which means that it works each side of your body independently.

This motion improves rotational power, which is beneficial for athletes in sports like golf, baseball, and martial arts.

Cable Twist

How To Do

  1. Adjust the cable machine so that the pulley is at chest height.
  2. Stand sideways to the cable machine, about arm’s length away.
  3. Grasp the cable handle with both hands, arms fully extended.
  4. Attach a handle to a shoulder-height cable pulley. Grasp the handle with both hands, either with your fingers interlaced or with one hand over the other. Stand next to the machine with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  5. Pull the handle in a twisting motion across your body to your opposite side.
  6. Hold for a count of two. Then slowly reverse the movement to return to the starting position.
  7. Repeat the prescribed number of times. Repeat the exercise on your opposite side.


  • Maintain upright posture. Do not bend forward at the waist.
  • Breathe deeply and evenly throughout the exercise.
  • The rotation should come from the torso, not the arms.

6. Standing Cable Twisting Row

The Standing Cable Twisting Row is a compound exercise that combines elements of a traditional row and rotational core movement.

This powerful movement targets the muscles of the back, including the latissimus dorsi and rhomboids, while also working the obliques, biceps, and deltoids. Besides being a great back exercise, this movement also works your hips, glutes and other lower body muscles.

You can use this same exercise with different hand placements to target upper or lower back muscles.

Cable Twisting Standing Row

How To Do

  1. Attach a single grip handle to a high cable pulley.
  2. Step back and get into a staggered stance, knees slightly bent.
  3. Your arm should be out straight and your waist is rotated towards the cable.
  4. Keep your elbow close to your body, pull the handle towards your waist, and rotate your waist in the same direction.
  5. Pause briefly at the top of the movement, then slowly return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat desired reps.


  • Make sure the rotation is in your waist, not hips.
  • You can place your inactive hand on your other hip for added stability.
  • To make the most of this move, your reps should be slow and controlled.

7. Cable Pull-Through

The cable pull-through is a compound exercise that targets the muscles of the posterior chain, including the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.

One of the best exercises to learn glute activation is this variation of the deadlift, which is a great introductory variation to the deadlift.

Many people don’t want to do this movement because it requires some preparation and might look funny.

Cable Pull-Through

How To Do

  1. Attach cable low and stand facing away from the machine.
  2. Take a step forward until the rope is pulled tight. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  3. Maintain a straight posture, exhale as you rise and pull the cable attachment through your legs.
  4. Pause for a second at the top of the movement, then slowly return to the starting position.


  • The power for this exercise should come from your hips, not your arms or lower back.
  • At the top of the movement, do not hyperextend your back.
  • Squeeze glutes at the top, then return to start with control.

8. Cable Stiff-Leg Deadlift

If you’re looking for a straightforward cable lower back workout to build mass and strength, then cable stiff leg deadlift, is a great staple exercise to get you started.

The cable stiff-leg deadlift for hamstrings requires a lighter weight than that used during traditional powerlifting for strengthening the lower back.

Cable Stiff-Leg Deadlift

How To Do

  1. Attach the rope handle to the pulley and position at the lowest position.
  2. Face the pulley with the rope in both hands and about 3 feet of distance between you and the machine.
  3. Keeping your back straight, head up, and hips low, lift the cable into a standing position.
  4. Flex your knees a little and push your hips backward and slowly lower the cable down the front of your legs.
  5. Descend until you feel a mild stretch in your hamstrings.
  6. Exhale as you pull the cable back up to the starting position by pushing your hips forward.
  7. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

9. Side Plank With Row

The Side Plank with Row is a hybrid exercise that combines the stability challenges of a side plank with the muscle engagement of a row. This unique blend creates a compound exercise that works the lower back muscles, obliques, lats, rhomboids, and even the shoulders

Side Plank with Row

How To Do

  1. Use a cable machine and attach a handle to the low pulley with your left hand.
  2. Brace your core and raise your body into a side plank on your right side.
  3. Bend your left elbow and pull the handle to your rib cage.
  4. Hold for a second, then slowly release the weight back to the starting position.
  5. Complete all reps on your left side, then switch to your right side and repeat.


  • Perform the row in a slow, controlled manner.
  • Avoid sagging hips or drooping shoulders.
  • During the exercise, breathe deeply and evenly.
Know More: Side Plank: Benefits, Variations, Muscles Used, Tips

10. Pallof Press

The Pallof Press is a full-body exercise that can increase overall stability and activate many large muscle groups in the body.

It is an anti-rotation hold exercise that will work wonders in helping you develop a stable core. It is a safe option for those with back issues because it minimizes strain on the lower back.

The Pallof press is a core strengthening exercise. It helps to establish proper spinal alignment under load and increase core stability.

Pallof Press

How To Do 

  1. Attach a handle to a chest-high cable pulley.
  2. Stand on the side cable machine with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  3. Hold the handle or band close to your chest, with your hands centered on your body.
  4. Engage your core and push the handle out, allowing your arms to be fully extended in front of you.
  5. Hold for a second, then slowly release the cable or band back to the starting position.
  6. Repeat the exercise on your opposite side.


  • Execute the press and the return phase slowly and carefully.
  • Keep your shoulders down and relaxed to avoid unnecessary tension.

Lower Back Cable Workout Routine

If you’re looking for a way to strengthen your lower back, this cable workout routine is a great place to start. Make sure to start with weights you are comfortable with and maintain impeccable form, then gradually increase the weights as you build strength.

This workout routine focuses on enhancing the strength of your lower back muscles using cable machines.

1. Beginner’s Cable Workout Plan

This beginner-friendly plan is designed for execution either at home (if you have the equipment) or at the gym. It hones in on your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles.

Frequency: 2-3 times a week

Cable Deadlifts310
Seated Cable Rows310
Cable Pull-Throughs310
Standing Cable Twisting Row38 per side

2. Intermediate Workout Plan

The intermediate plan expands upon the fundamentals established by the beginner by incorporating supplementary sets and exercises that are slightly more intricate. This routine is meant to make those who have already been training their lower back stronger and ready to take it to the next level.

Cable Deadlifts412
Cable Romanian Deadlift312
Seated Cable Rows412
Cable Wood Chop320 swings
Cable Pallof Press315

Anatomy Of Lower Back Muscles

The lower back is more than just a single muscle; it’s a complex system of interconnected muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Two of the most prominent muscle groups in the lower back that are worth highlighting are the Erector Spinae and the Quadratus Lumborum.

This complex network of muscles that work together to support the spine, bend and twist the torso, and move the legs.

Erector Spinae

The Erector Spinae is not one single muscle, but a group of muscles and tendons running more or less parallel to the spine. These muscles extend from the lower back to the upper neck.

It is divided into three parts: the spinalis, iliocostalis, and longissimus. The erector spinae muscles help to extend the spine and to keep it upright.

The erector spinae are often the muscles that come to mind when we think of “back strength,” and they play a vital role in actions like lifting, pulling, and even simple tasks like standing up straight.

Muscles Of Erector Spinae
Source: physio-pedia

Quadratus Lumborum

The Quadratus Lumborum is a deep muscle that originates in the hip and attaches to the lower ribs and the lumbar spine.

This muscle is crucial for spinal stabilization and is heavily engaged in activities that require side-bending or hip hiking. It’s a muscle that’s often overlooked, but is vitally important for maintaining a healthy lower back and core.

Quadratus Lumborum


This muscle is located deep in the lower back and it runs along each side of the spine. It helps to stabilize the spine and to prevent it from moving too much.

multifidus Muscles

Latissimus Dorsi

This muscle is located in the upper back and it extends down to the lower back. It helps to extend the spine and to pull the arms down towards the body.

Latissimus Dorsi Muscle Anatomy

These are just some of the many muscles that make up the lower back.


Are lower back cable exercises safe for beginners?

Yes, lower back cable exercises can be safe for beginners. Cable machines provide a controlled movement, which makes it easier to maintain good form. However, it is important to start with lighter weights and aim for higher repetitions in order to get used to the exercise before moving on to heavier weight.

How often should I do lower back cable exercises?

It’s a good idea to do lower back cable exercises 2-3 times a week to get the best results. Make sure to allow sufficient rest and recovery between workouts for optimal results.


Adding lower back cable exercises to your workout routine can help you build a stronger, healthier back. Cable machines are designed to provide even and constant tension for muscles while executing each exercise, which helps to keep your muscles engaged throughout the entire range of motion.

You can target all areas of your back muscles by doing a variety of exercises, like the seated cable row, standing cable row, cable deadlift, cable pull-through, and cable twist. 

These exercises not only help build and tone muscles, but they also help improve posture, balance, and daily functionality.

Best Cable Workouts


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  2. Rahman Shiri, David Coggon: Exercise for the Prevention of Low Back Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Controlled TrialsAmerican Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 187, Issue 5, May 2018, Pages 1093–1101
  3. Suh, Jee Hyun MD; Kim, Hayoung BS; Jung, Gwang Pyo MD; Ko, Jin Young MD; Ryu, Ju Seok MD, PhD: The effect of lumbar stabilization and walking exercises on chronic low back pain: June 2019 – Volume 98 – Issue 26 – p e16173 doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000016173
  4. Hartigan C. Exercise-based therapy for low back pain. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed April 19, 2023.

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