One Arm Cable Row: How To Do, Muscles Worked & Tips

The one-arm cable row is one of the best exercises for training the back muscles, including the lats, rhomboids, and trapezius.

One thing I like about this exercise is its unilateral nature, which allows me to identify and address any imbalances between my left and right sides. Additionally, the cable machine provides smooth and consistent tension.

This exercise helps you build a strong, defined upper body and also helps you improve posture.

There are many ways to do one-arm cable rows, such as seated, kneeling, or standing. Each variation offers a slightly different emphasis and stability challenge.

One Arm Cable Row Muscles Worked

  • Primarily Muscles Target: Latissimus Dorsi, Rhomboids, Trapezius.
  • Secondary Muscles Target: Infraspinatus, Rear Deltoid, Biceps Brachii, Brachialis, Brachioradialis, Core, Obliques,
  • The one-arm cable row also engages several other stabilizing muscles including Quadratus Lumborum, Teres Major, Teres minor, Psoas Major, Gluteus.
Muscle Worked During One Arm Cable Row

How To Do Seated One-Arm Cable Row

  1. Connect a single-handle attachment to the seated row.
  2. Sit on the bench and place your feet on the footplates.
  3. Grasp the D-handle with your right hand with a neutral grip (palm facing inwards) with a neutral grip.
  4. Inhale and pull the handle towards the right side of your abdomen. Hold there for 2-3 count.
  5. Extend your arm and return to the starting position.
  6. Do 8–10 Reps and 3–4 Sets
Seated one arm cable row

 Tips and Form

  • Make sure your elbow stays close to your body’s side.
  • Keep your back straight or gently allow it to sway back and forth in a controlled manner.
  • Your reps should be slow and controlled to make the most of this move.
  • Keep your spine neutral throughout the exercise.
  • Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together as you pull the handle towards your body.
  • Exhale as you pull the handle towards your body, and inhale as you lower it back down.
  • Keep your back straight, and avoid arching or rounding your back.
  • Focus on pulling with your back muscles rather than your arm.
  • Keep your shoulder blades pulled down and back throughout the movement.

Best Variations of One-Arm Cable Row

Several variations of the one-arm cable row exercise include standing, sitting, and twisting.

1. One Arm Standing High Cable Row

The higher angle of pull places slightly more emphasis on the latissimus dorsi (lats).

Besides being a great cable back exercisethis movement also works your core muscles, hips, glutes and other lower body muscles.

The research has shown that rowing variations performed unilaterally (one side at a time) significantly enhanced activity in the external obliques (side abs)

Cable Twisting Standing Row

How To Do It

  1. Attach a single handle to an elbow-high cable pulley with a single grip handle.
  2. Step back and get into a staggered stance with your knees slightly bent.
  3. Pull back towards your waist while rotating your waist in the same direction.
  4. Pause briefly at the movement’s top, then slowly return to the starting position.

2. Single Arm Standing Low Cable Row

The low cable attachment and the pulling angle of the exercise allow for a more direct and focused contraction of the latissimus dorsi.

It allows for a greater range of motion than other single-arm row variations.

One Arm Standing Low Cable Row

How To Do

  1. Grab the low pulley attachment handle with one hand and take a step back.
  2. Your feet are shoulder-width apart, and your knees are slightly bent.
  3. Pull the handle towards your upper abs.
  4. Slowly lower the handle back to the starting position.
  5. Do 8-10 each side and then switch side.

3. Kneeling One Arm Cable Row

It is a great exercise for strengthening your back muscles and engaging your core muscles.

The kneeling position eliminates the need to hinge at the hips and maintains a bent-over position that helps reduce strain on the lower back muscles.

Kneeling One arm cable row

How To Do

  1. Attach a cable to a medium or high pulley.
  2. Get down on your right knee and face the cable about 3 feet away.
  3. Grasp the handle with your right hand, palm facing in.
  4. Pull it towards your waist.
  5. At the end of the movement, squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  6. Slowly lower the cable back to the starting position.

4. One Arm Standing Twisting Cable Row

The rowing movement works the back muscles, and the twisting motion heavily engages your obliques and deep core muscles.

One Arm Standing twisting cable row

How To Do

  1. Attach a single grip handle to the top of the cable pulley.
  2. Then, grab the handle with your right hand and step forward with your right foot.
  3. Keep your elbows close to your sides as you pull the bar towards your lower chest.
  4. As you pull the D handle towards your chest, twist your torso to the right, then return to the starting position.
  5. Then, switch to your left.

5. One Arm Seated Twisting Cable Row

Sitting on the floor stabilizes the cable row exercise, which helps better engage and develop the back muscles.

One Arm Seated Twisting Cable Row

How To Do

  1. Attach a single-handle attachment to a low cable pulley machine.
  2. Sit on the floor with your legs extended straight out in front of you.
  3. Hold the cable handle with one hand and lean back slightly.
  4. Pull the cable handle towards your torso.
  5. Then, slowly lower the cable handle back to the starting position.


The one-arm cable row is an effective exercise for targeting the upper back, shoulders, and arms.

There are several ways to do these exercises, and you can modify them as per your requirements.

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