Standing Cable Row: Muscle Worked, Variations and Tips

If you want to build a stronger, more defined back, the standing cable row is a good exercise to do.

Standing cable row works your upper and middle back, as well as your biceps and shoulders.

It’s a great addition to any strength training routine.

In this post, we will discuss the following.

  • What is standing cable row
  • Muscle worked during it
  • Benefits of the standing cable row
  • Standing row variations

Muscle Worked During Standing Cable Row

The standing cable row is a compound exercise, which means it works many muscles at the same time. 

The main muscles worked during standing cable row are:

Secondary muscles worked during the standing rows:

The muscles in the legs stabilize the body as either dynamic or static stabilizers.

Muscle Worked During Standing Cable Row

Variations And Modification Of Standing Cable Row

Standing cable rows are a versatile exercise that can be modified in various ways to target different muscles.

You can include many variations of standing cable row in your workout routine, depending on your choice and requirements.

Underhand Grip vs. Overhand Grip vs. Neutral Grip

Changing the way you hold the cable attachment changes the emphasis on the muscles worked.

An underhand grip targets the biceps and upper back muscles, while an overhand grip focuses on the lats and middle back muscles. The main benefit of neural grip is that it takes stress off the elbow.

Single-Arm vs. Double-Arm Rows

A single-arm cable row is more challenging than a double-arm row.

This variation helps to correct muscle imbalances that may occur from doing only bilateral exercises.

Wide Grip vs. Narrow Grip

Using a narrow grip will help you hit your lats and middle and lower traps more. Additionally, the biceps receive a greater workout.

Wide grip will enhance the emphasis on the rhomboids, and rear deltoid.

1. Standing Cable Row

Standing cable rows are often used in upper-body workouts because they are a great way to work the middle back, biceps, lats, and shoulders.

This exercise also strengthens your lower back and core.

The standing cable row can be performed in different grip positions and attachments. 

  • Underhand grip (Reverse grip)
  • Standing rope row
  • Wide grip… Get creative!
Standing Cable Row

How To Do Standing Cable Row

  1. Stand in front of a cable machine with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Grab the V-bar with both hands.
  3. Step back to create tension on the cable, keeping your back straight.
  4. Pull the handle towards your midsection, squeezing your shoulder blades together as you do so.
  5. Pause for a moment, then slowly release the handle back to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

2. Standing High Cable Row

The standing cable high rear delt row is a very effective and functional exercise for building muscle and strength in the upper back and rear deltoids.

This movement also hits the traps, rhomboids, and biceps.

It is done using a cable machine with an adjustable pulley, which is set at a high position.

Try other variations of standing high cable row:

  • Neutral grip standing cable high row
  • Wide grip high row
  • High cable underhand row
Standing High Cable Row

How To Do Standing High Cable Rear Row

  1. Attach a rope to a pulley about chest level or above.
  2. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
  3. Hold one end of the rope in each hand and step backward until the rope is pulled taut.
  4. Pull the bar towards your upper chest by retracting your shoulder blades and pulling your elbows back.
  5. Hold the contraction for a second, then slowly return the rope to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for your desired number of repetitions.


  • Keep your rear delts engaged by retracing your shoulder blades.
  • It is important to maintain the right posture while working out.
  • Keep your back straight, your core engaged, and your elbows close to your body.
Know More: 18 Best Cable Back Workout And Exercises For Wider Back

3. Standing Low Cable Row

The standing low cable rope row allows for a greater range of motion compared to the standard standing cable row

The rope attachment allows you to pull the cable towards your waist at a slightly different angle, which can help to engage the upper back and shoulders more effectively.

It is possible to perform the standing low cable row with different grip positions and attachments.

  • Underhand grip standing low cable row
  • V-bar
  • Straight bar
  • Long bar… Get creative!
Standing Low Cable Rope Row

How To Do Low Cable Row With Rope

  1. Set a cable machine with a low pulley attachment. Attach a rope handle to the pulley.
  2. Stand facing the machine, with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  3. Grab the rope handle with your palms facing each other.
  4. Bend slightly at the knees and waist to help stabilize yourself.
  5. Engage your back muscles and pull the rope towards your waist and squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  6. At the end of the movement, pause for a moment.
  7. Then slowly return the rope go back to the starting position.
  8. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


  • Keep your core engaged throughout the movement to maintain good form.
  • Avoid rounding your shoulders or arching your back during the exercise.
  • Instead of using your arms or shoulders, focus on using your back muscles to start the movement.

4. One Arm Standing Twisting Cable Row

The single arm standing cable row is a unilateral exercise that helps to isolate and correct muscle imbalances that can be caused by bilateral training.

The standing and twisting motions of the exercise require greater core activation, which can help improve overall stability and balance.

You could also try other variations of the single arm standing cable row.

  • Single arm standing low cable row
  • One arm cable twisting high row
One Arm Standing twisting cable row

How To Do Single Arm Standing Twisting Cable Row

  1. Attach a single grip handle to the cable pulley.
  2. Grab the handle with your right hand.
  3. Keep your elbows close to your sides as you pull the d handle towards your lower chest.
  4. As you pull the D-handle towards your chest, twist your torso to the right.
  5. Then return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat the exercise for the number of reps you want.
  7. Then, switch to your left.


  • During the movement, the twist further engages the lat muscle.
  • Do not twist your waist beyond feeling a mild stretch in your side.
  • Engage your core and keep your back straight as you pull the cable towards your body.

Benefits of standing cable rows

  • Standing cable row helps to develop stronger upper back muscles, which help improve posture and increase upper body strength.
  • When holding on to the cable attachment during an exercise, it can help improve grip strength, which could be beneficial for other exercises and everyday activities.
  • The exercise can help strengthen your abdominal and lower back muscles, which in turn contributes to overall core strength and stability.
  • It is a versatile exercise that can be modified by changing the grip, stance, or attachment used, allowing you to target different muscles.
  • The standing cable rows are a low-impact exercise, which makes them a great option for people with joint pain.

Best Alternatives Of High Cable Row

If you’re looking for a similar exercise to replace the standing cable row during your training sessions, you can try these alternatives.


How Many Repetitions And Sets Should I Do For A Standing Cable Row?

Do 3–4 sets of 10–12 repetitions, with a rest period of 30–60 seconds between sets.

The number of sets and repetitions can be adjusted by you.

Can The Standing Cable Row Be Performed At Home?

Yes, you can do the standing cable row at home if you have resistance bands.

Resistance bands can be anchored to a door frame or other sturdy object, and the movement can be performed in the same way as with a cable machine.

Is Standing Cable Row Better Than Seated Cable Row?

Standing and seated cable rows, each exercise has its own benefits.

Although standing cable rows may engage the core muscles more due to the need to stabilize the body, seated cable rows may allow for more focused work on the back muscles, due to the stable body position.

Standing cable rows may recruit more muscles in the legs and hips compared to seated cable rows, which can be beneficial for overall lower body strength and stability.

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