7 Must-Try Exercises From 20 Seated Cable Row Alternatives (2020)

Having a strong back keeps you healthy, helps you look good, and is essential for any kind of exercise. However, you don’t always have access to all the tools you desire. Sometimes, great training is about working around your limitations.

For example, what if you don’t have a seated cable row machine? Don’t worry I got you covered.

Seated Cable Row is a classic exercise that works on your upper back, middle back, and biceps. Seated Cable Row should be a good middle and upper back compound exercise, so only one. Where a set of cables, a cable line row, an optional exercise, a gymnast, a lot of muscle work. However, there are many exercise options that are just as effective and work similar muscles.

Seated cable row exercises greatly benefit your back muscles. But, for many people, this can be inaccessible as they may not have a cable row machine. Whether exercising in a tapestry house, or a cable line row machine, here is a suitable option.

In this article, you will know about the best seated cable row alternative at home. We will look at some alternative machine exercises for body weight and free weight which will give us a healthy muscle development.

Top 7 Best Seated Cable Row Alternative No Machine

  • Dumbbell Bent-Over Rows
  • One-Arm T-Bar Rows
  • Inverted Rows
  • Inverted T-RX Cable Rows
  • Barbell Bent-Over Rows
  • Reverse Grip Bent-Over Rows
  • Wide-Grip Pull-Ups

All List of Seated Cable Row Alternatives

Dumbbell Bent-Over Rows

Rows should help you when you want to build a stronger back and there is no shortage of different types that you can do. The version you are probably most familiar with is the curved row of barbells and fully deserves its prominent status thanks to the huge benefits of back reinforcement it provides.

How to perform Dumbbell Bent-Over Rows?

  1. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees soft or slightly bent. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing the body, separating them shoulder-width apart.
  2. With the dumbbell in each hand, bend at an angle of approximately 45 degrees (without distance). Keep your back straight throughout the exercise. Prepare your abdominal muscles and inhale.
  3. Lift the weight straight up, exhale. When lifting, the arms must not be raised parallel to the shoulders – slightly lower than the shoulders. While lifting, try to keep your wrist down or to the side at excessive extra speed.There is no movement of the legs during the whole exercise.
  4. You lose weight in a controlled way during breathing.
  5. Continue bending until all repetitions are complete.

One-Arm T-Bar Rows

One arm t bar row is an effective exercise in many aspects. It allows for a larger load than a row of dumbbells. It also improves your core strength and grip. However, One-arm T-bar rows are especially effective for targeting lat muscles.

How to perform one arm of the T-Bar row:

  1. Stand with the right side facing the t-line.
  2. Bend at the waist and slightly at the knees, and lower yourself with your hand and grab the bar with your right hand.
  3. Pull the bar to your chest, then lower it back to the ground.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of reps, then switch the side.

Learn about T-bar row alternative here.

Inverted Rows

There are many benefits of inverted rows as compared to seated cable rows.

Performing inverted rows strengthens your upper back and shoulders. If you desire a well-shaped and well-rounded physique, you should not neglect the muscles on the back of your body and especially those back muscles which are targeted by inverted rows.

Moreover, Inverted Rows also help you progress your pull-ups and enhances your pull-ups strength.

How to do inverted rows?

  1. Place a bar around your waist height.
  2. Place yourself under the bar lying face up. Lie on the floor under the bar.
  3. Grasp the bar with an excessive handle, slightly wider than shoulder width.
  4. Reduce your abs and buttocks and keep your body in a completely straight line. The ears, shoulders, hips and feet should be in a straight line as in the board position.
  5. Pull yourself upto to the bar until your chest touches the bar.
  6. Go back down in the correct form.

Inverted T-RX Cable Rows

An Inverted T-RX Cable Rows works all of your pull up muscles; All of your back muscles, biceps, forearms, grips, and all the stabilizer muscles which make those muscles work together.

How to do inverted T-RX Cable Rows?

  1. Hang the TRKS cable on some height
  2. Grab the handle and place yourself directly under the rope
  3. Keep your arms extended
  4. With the palms facing inward, pull the body on the handle just below the chest.

Barbell Bent-Over Rows

Barbell row uses heavier weight but reduces the use of shoulder stabilizers. For this precise purpose it is always nice to do barbell bent over rows as seated cable row alternatives.

This makes it an excellent mass-building exercise, as well as a more specific option for seated cable rows. If you are accurate with your form, it is almost a single movement, and it offers a lot of variety. Since bar rows use plates, you can easily adjust the amount of weight.

How to do Barbell Bent-Over Rows? 

  1. Deadlift with a barbell to the standing position with a medium grip. This is about the length of a thumb on the knurling.
  2. Hinge at the hips, bend your knees, keeping your back tight and place the bar under your armpits.
  3. Pause in this leaning position, steadying yourself with your abs and hips.
  4. Row the bar toward the bottom of your sternum, concentrating on bringing your elbows toward your body and then back.
  5. Squeeze at the end of the movement, pausing briefly, before coming back down to the starting position. This ends the replay.

Reverse Grip Bent-Over Rows

The reverse grip is an awesome compound exercise that helps to build both lower and upper body strength and shape. It targets all major back muscles, especially the lateral, rhomboid and lower back muscles. Targeting biceps and lats is more easier and effective by reverse grip bent-over rows than overhand barbell rows.

How to do Barbell Grip Bent-Over Rows?

  1. Hold the barbell with some pressure and place the barbell in front of you.
  2. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees, hold the bar firmly (thumb on the top of the bar) and spread your arms wide.
  3. Keep your back straight, and stand up straight so you can hold the bar in front of you.
  4. In the initial position, bend your knees slightly, and when toosinayso back, under the label bar until your thighs below the knee. This is a position that cannot be changed during.
  5. Now pull the bar a little below your chest.
  6. Bend your shoulders at the top of the movement.
  7. Then slowly return to the starting point. Repeat the repetition you want.

Wide-Grip Pull-Ups

Wide-grip pull-ups is one of the great seated cable row alternatives. Targeting multiple muscle groups including your back, shoulders and arms is almost very easy with wide-grip pull-ups. It increases strength to perform other physical activities. It also improves the core strength. The most important benefit of wide-grip pull-ups is that it improves arm and shoulder strength.

Single-Arm Dumbbell Bent-Over

A dumbbell row or one-arm dumbbell row is one of the most effective exercises which can be done as seated cable row alternatives, as it allows you to focus on your lats, traps and other muscles without relying too much on one side of the body to do maximum work. This helps to eliminate imbalance in strength in your muscle groups while working at a greater range of motion than Barbell Rows. Not only that, it also gives you the required strength needed to do other lifting exercises which increases your workout performance.

T-Bar Rows

Even with safety concerns. Compared to any similar rowing movement, such as Bent-over Row, Pendlay Row or even One-Arm Dumbbell Row, T-Bar Row is safer. This is because the weight is directly under your center of gravity because there is a slight resistance in front of it.

The rows are a strength training exercise that mimics the movement of the boat. The goal is to strengthen the muscles that bring the arms towards the body, as well as the shoulders towards the blade. There are many forms of crying exercise. It has a traditional seated row, straight row and bending row. A variation of “Bent-over Row” is T-Bar Row.

Pendlay Rows

This row variation requires the same angles seen in cable rows or T-bar rows. However, you need to support the position with your lower body, making it more functional, but also more demanding for you to recover.

Seated Band Rows

Resistance band row is an exercise that strengthens the upper back muscles located between and around the shoulder blades. Training the upper back muscles is an important balance for many chest exercises, such as the push-ups and chest presses we have.

Resistance band row and other resistance band moves can train you muscles while trying to deal with problems such as recurring injuries or engaging in pain. Some people are unable to perform traditional back row exercises because bending and holding heavy weights do not work for their back or hips. The resistance band row lets you train your back effectively without putting strain on your spine.

Single Arm Dumbbell Rows

I love doing single arm dumbbell rows- everyone should practice them. It provides great strength, stability, and mass development. The single-arm dumbbell movement recruits stabilizer muscle groups around the shoulder and ensures that you are building a full back. This is a light gait and sets high reps for muscle mass and motor skill exercises.

How to do Single Arm Dumbbell Rows?

  1. Take dumbbells with one hand and support your upper body with the other. You can use a bench or other flat surface for this.
  2. Position yourself so your hips are square and your back is flat, with dumbbells up to your arms.
  3. Exercise with your elbows crossing your body line, pulling your shoulders back, and bending your arms.
  4. Sit in the top position, pause for a moment and think about pulling your elbow back along your body.
  5. Gradually control the weight to complete the tear in the starting position.

Incline Dumbbell Rows

The dumbbell row is a variation of the standard dumbbell row, made by bending the adjustable bench seat. As it  involves supporting arms on the bench, it puts less pressure on your lower back and reduces stability needed to carry out the movement. Therefore, it is easier to separate and build the back muscles. The incline dumbbell row is a great seated cable row alternative exercise as it strengthens and develops all of the following muscles, helping you become even more efficient and powerful at any pulling exercise: Latissimus dorsi, Trapezius, Rhomboids, Biceps etc..

How to do incline dumbbell rows?

  1. Lie in a prone position on an adjustable bench leaning at a 45 degree angle.
  2. Grab two dumbbells with a clear grip, keeping your arms straight.
  3. With the shoulder blades retracted, bend your elbows to lift the weight to your side.
  4. Make sure that the upper arm and elbow do not go behind the spine. Lose weight in initial position.

Other posts related to alternative exercises

Lat pulldowns

It uses a lat pull machine instead of cable row machine. However, it focuses some important muscles in the row in a different direction. Traps, Lat, and rhomboids are still functioning, but in a vertical pulling.

This is great for creating three dimensional scapula control. It also ensures that you are building the width at the back that comes from focusing on the lat. This is a great combo with any other seated cable row option on this list!

How to do Lat pulldowns?

  1. Stand on a braided pulldown machine with an upright torso and a wide grip on the bar.
  2. While keeping your core tight, avoid bending backwards with the bar pulled down. Focus on bringing your elbows down and back towards your chest.
  3. Briefly hold down the position, press down the front and back.
  4. Return to the original position while slowly pushing your elbows back and forth.
  5. When you are in the starting position, the exercise is complete. If possible, maintain tension on the lat bar between reps.

Click here to know Lat Pulldown Alternative.

Standing Cable rows

If you have any cable machine, you can start construction with an alternative to permanent cable lines.

There’s no reason you need to sit down to have a great back workout!

This is the same as a sitting row of cables, using the same extension for the middle grip, but from a standing position. You need to tilt your hips slightly forward, but it’s still a great exercise if you can’t take a sitting position.

How to do Standing Cable Rows?

  1. Taking the middle grip on the cable handle holder, go back until the tension reaches your fingertips.
  2. Bend your knees slightly and lean forward. Do not bend your back and keep the weight in the middle of your foot.
  3. Pull the attachment into the lower part of the chest until it comes in contact with the chest.
  4. Hold this position briefly, making sure to pull your elbows back and toward each other. Try and feel how the muscles tighten here.
  5. Slowly return to the length of your arm, controlling your weight during the movement, to complete the repetition.

Barbell Bent-Over Deadlifts

The barbell deadlift combines two movements to target the bent-over row complex posterior chain. This requires using a lighter weight, as you can handle heavier deadlifts alone, but doubles upon activation in the upper back, lower back, and glutes. This seated cable row alternative has many benefits like strengthening and building hamstrings, glutes and lower and upper backs. It also improves coordination and balance in the body. Moreover, it helps to improve the cardiovascular performance of your body. 

Inverted T-RX Cable Rows

When you master the inverted T-rx cable rows, not only will you feel your brains grow over time in an amazing pair of wings, but small muscle groups that help stabilize you – such as rhomboids, mid- Traps and Infrastratus – all also stimulated. The result is a large, functionally strong back.

Yates Rows

Yacht Row – This is like a regular barbell incline row but with a supinated (reverse) grip to focus on biceps and teres(back muscle) activation. A great alternative to mix for full back development. Again, you can do this with a t-bar.


Thus, there you just finished the huge list of seated cable row alternatives that target the muscles in your upper back, biceps, and mid-back without a row machine. Having some cable seat alternatives is useful if you do not have a machine at home. Or, you want to switch it up and try something different for the back.

Did you enjoy the list? If so, share the article and comment below what you think about it.

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Aaron Reiner

Aaron is a fitness blogger, founder & editor of Prosfitness. He has been lifting weights & writing about fitness for over 3 years. He has been a contributor for several health and fitness publications.

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