Wide Grip Cable Row: Muscles Worked, How To Do and Form

Want a wider, more powerful-looking back? The wide-grip cable row is your secret weapon.

The wide-grip cable row offers a unique challenge that can break plateaus and help you achieve your back-building goals.

If you’re ready to elevate your back workouts, then read on!

This comprehensive guide will discuss proper technique, the muscles engaged, and why this exercise should be a staple in your back day routine.

What Is Wide Grip Seated Cable Row?

The wide grip cable row is a variation of the traditional cable row exercise, specifically targeting the back muscles, primarily the latissimus dorsi (lats).

The defining feature is your hand placement; you use a significantly wider grip on a straight bar or pull-down bar attachment.

This seemingly small adjustment profoundly changes muscle recruitment for unique advantages.

  • This row emphasizes the width and flare of the wings more effectively than other rows.
  • Allows for a greater range of motion stretch and contraction.
  • Along with your lats, the wide grip heavily works your middle back muscles, like the rhomboids and trapezius.
  • When you do regular rows, your biceps work a lot. However, using a wider grip, your back muscles are more involved.
  • It breaks up the monotony of traditional back exercises, adding a diverse challenge that stimulates new muscle growth.
Wide Grip Seated Low Row

Muscles Worked During Wide Grip Cable Row

The wide grip seated cable row is a compound exercise, which means it works many muscles simultaneously. 

Primary Muscles:

Secondary Muscles:

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How to Do The Cable Wide Grip Row

  • Adjust the cable pulley to its lowest position.
  • Attach a wide grip bar, like a lat pulldown bar.
  • Position the seat so your knees are slightly bent and your feet are firmly braced against the footplate when your arms are fully extended toward the cable machine.
  • Grasp the bar with an overhand grip (palms facing down) significantly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Sit tall with your chest out and shoulders back. 
  • Pull the bar towards the lower part of your chest, just above your abdomen, and ensure that your elbows remain wide and flared out. 
  • Pause at the top of the movement, intensely squeezing your back muscles. 
  • Slowly return the bar to the starting position by extending your arms. 
  • Do 8 to 12 repetitions for each set and 2 to 4 sets.
Cable Wide Grip Row

Tips and Form

  • Beginners should start with a lighter weight to prioritize proper form over lifting heavy.
  • Maintain a slight bend in your knees and a neutral spine.
  • Ensure you’re pulling towards your lower abs and not your chest.
  • Your arms should be straight, and your shoulders should be relaxed, not shrugged.
  • Avoid letting the weight slam down or pulling with momentum.
  • Exhale while you pull, and inhale as you release.
  • Maintain a smooth and controlled tempo throughout the movement.
  • Do not swing your torso back and forth.
  • Consciously concentrate on working your back muscles, not just moving the weight.
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Wide Grip Seated Cable Row Alternatives

If you don’t want to do the wide grip cable row, there are other exercises that work the same muscles in your back.


  • Saeterbakken A, Andersen V, Brudeseth A, Lund H, Fimland MS. The Effect of Performing Bi- and Unilateral Row Exercises on Core Muscle Activation. Int J Sports Med. 2015 Nov;36(11):900-5. doi: 10.1055/s-0034-1398646. Epub 2015 Jul 2. PMID: 26134664.
  • Ronai, Peter M.S., FACSM, ACSM-RCEP, ACSM-CEP, ACSM-EP, EIM III, CSCS. Do It Right: The Seated Cable Row Exercise. ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal 23(4):p 32-37, 7/8 2019.

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