Cable Row Alternatives
  • Best Seated Cable Row Alternative Exercises You Must Try

    30 Mar 2021

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    Editor-in-Chief of the Approved By Coach

    The seated cable row is a type of exercise that you perform on a horizontal cable machine. It comes with a bench and a place where you can put the feet. While this is a very effective and great exercise that works on your back and arms, this machine is mostly available in the gym. And that can be an issue for some people since not everyone can afford membership or have the time for it. But that doesn’t mean that you have to give up on this amazing exercise altogether! There are plenty of seated cable row alternatives that you can in the comfort of your home.

    In the following paragraphs, we will describe the best alternative exercise for seated cable row that you can perform without much trouble!

    What Muscles Do Seated Rows Work?

    What Muscles Do Seated Rows Work

    The rowing machine targets your upper back muscles and muscle called latissimus dorsi which is located in your upper chest. The exercises will also improve biceps and triceps. Another point is that your shoulder muscles and lower chest muscles will also get more strength with seated row exercise.

    Benefits of Seated Cable Rows

    • Strengthens the Back: With the help of this machine or the seated cable row alternatives, you’ll improve your back muscles. That, in turn, will reduce your back pain.
    • Improves posture: With seated cable row without machine exercises, you will also improve your posture.
    • Strengthens the immune system: Seated row exercise will improve your immune system, much like any other that focuses on strength.

    Seated Cable Row Alternatives

    So with that said, let’s take a closer look at the alternative to seated cable rows workouts and how to perform them right.

    Dumbbell Bent-Over Row

    Dumbbell Bent-Over Row

    This is the seated cable row alternative with dumbbells, and what’s great is that you can perform it regardless of your fitness level.

    How to Perform

    1. Put one knee on the bench to get more stability.
    2. Workout with the opposite hand.
    3. Shoulders should be in an open backward position.
    4. Head and neck should be in line with the back.
    5. Take care that back is straight.


    Start with a weaker arm. For example, if you are right-handed begin the workout with your left hand.

    Barbell Bent-over Row

    This is a more advanced seated row substitute, so it might take some time before you get used to it. Plus, this exercise is more about the proper way to do it than mechanical lifting.

    However, be careful if you are a beginner since you can easily hurt your lower back if doing this seated row alternative improperly. And if you are doing it for the first time, we recommend doing it with a trainer or a more experienced friend.

    How to Perform

    1. The feet should be positioned close to the bar and shoulder-width apart.
    2. The back should be straight, head up, and shoulders back.
    3. Grip the bar outside feet, inhale deeply, and exhale while lifting it.


    The grip can be overhanded or underhanded; you can choose whatever is more natural to you. What you must avoid is that your shoulders and elbows are in internal rotation. If you feel pain in the lower back, you should go back to the dumbbell bent-over row to strengthen the muscles first.

    Inverted TRX Cable Row

    Inverted TRX Cable Row

    It is an excellent seated cable row substitute that you can adjust according to your fitness level. The effect is nearly the same as with the barbell bent-over row, but the possibility of getting injured is decreased to almost zero if you follow the instructions.

    How to Perform

    1. First, we will mention the adequate position for beginners, and if you don’t find it challenging enough it’s the sign to move to an advanced level.
    2. As a beginner, you should find a challenging angle.
    3. You don’t have to go inverted but focus on doing a plank.
    4. If you are a seasoned sportsperson assume an inverted position.
    5. Knees should be bent to 90 degrees.
    6. Keep feet flat and stable on the ground.
    7. Move with arms


    We recommend first to start with beginner level as a warm-up and then to move to more stimulating positions.

    T-bar Rows

    This is another amazing alternative to seated cable rows. And when you perform it, it’s best to use the landmine attachment for T-bar rows. That way you’ll secure the proper distance from your sensitive parts and avoid injuries.

    How to Perform

    1. Put the landmine attachment and hook the v grip.
    2. Take care that you are in position with knees slightly bent
    3. Make sure that your torso is stable
    4. To do it properly, arms should be fully extended at the beginning.
    5. As you are finishing the movement shoulder blades should meet.


    It’s better to do it slowly with strength and correct than to do it fast. Remember to breathe and keep the torso stable. If you are a beginner and don’t have professional trainer support, we recommend going back to the t-bar row alternative, such as bent-over dumbbell rows.

    Final Word

    bent-over dumbbell row

    All and all, the cable row machine has interesting alternatives. And what’s great is that they are not less effective than the ones you perform at the gym. So in order to ensure the best results, all you have to do is to keep up with these seated cable row alternatives, and we’ll be certain that you will see and feel the results in no time!

    Plus remember that for better results, it’s essential to ensure proper breathing during the training. Thus, make sure to exhale if you feel too much pressure and inhale during the less intensive part of the workout.

    With that said, we wish you all the best on your fitness journey, and sincerely hope that you will find the seated cable row alternative that will be the best for you!

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