Transform your posture: Master lower back cable exercises

A strong and stable lower back is crucial for maintaining overall strength, mobility and posture. Whether you’re an athlete, a fitness enthusiast or simply looking to improve your daily activities, focusing on the strength of your lower back is key. 

The lower back is vital in providing support and stability to the spine, allowing you to perform various movements easily while reducing the risk of injuries.

bent over rows for lower back cable exercise

Lower back cable exercises for the back enable you to move your arms freely and reduce possible stress on your joints.

A strong lower back helps alleviate pain, a common issue many individuals face due to sedentary lifestyles and poor posture. By strengthening the muscles in this area, you can improve your ability to perform activities such as lifting, bending, twisting and even sitting for extended periods. 

A stable lower back enhances athletic performance, as it acts as a foundation for generating power and transferring forces efficiently through the body.

Understanding lower back muscles

There are 40 muscles in the back. Your back muscles extend from the bones of your neck (cervical vertebrae) to your lower back (lumbar spine) and then to the base of your lumbar spine (sacrum) and tailbone (coccyx). Some of these muscles are large and cover broad areas like your latissimus dorsi (your lats).

Some of the muscles of the lower back include:

  • Multifidus
  • Erector Spinae
  • Latissimus Dorsi (Lats)

Benefits of using cables for lower back exercises

Cables provide constant tension

Cable machines used for lower back exercises provide even and constant muscle tension while executing each exercise.

Cables exercises can help to keep your muscles working continuously and evenly without one set of muscles overcompensating for another due to uneven weight distribution that can occur with free weights.

Cables workout multiple muscle groups

Using cables for lower back exercises allows you to work multiple muscle groups, not just those of the lower back.

Many exercises allow you to strength train muscles in your arms, shoulders, legs and chest without being aware.

Controls range of motion

One primary difference between doing back exercises with free weights and a cable machine is that you can change up angles and positions with multiple attachments. 

Gravity is constantly fighting against free weights, whereas cable machines make it possible to approach the same exercise with a full range of motion.

Lower back cable exercises

Your back is a part of your posterior chain. Increasing your strength in this muscle group will help with functional strength and your posture.

Bent-over rows

Bent over row is a compound exercise that works your back muscles and core muscles

cable deadlift lower back exercise square
woman in red shirt and black leggings doing bent over rows for lower back cable exercise
  • Attach a short bar handle straight bar to a low pulley. 
  • Stand back with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width, knees slightly bent and your upper body slightly forward while gripping the bar with your palms facing up.
  • Pull the bar towards your stomach. Remember to contract your back muscles and core as you bring the bar up to your abdominals.
  • Extend your arms and return the bar to the starting position.
  • Repeat.

Seated cable row

The cable row targets more of your middle back muscles. The exercise will support your lower back muscles.

low cable row
  • Attach a V bar to the cable, sit on the bench and place your feet on the footrests.
  • Grab the bar with a neutral grip and push back until your arms are stretched and your knees are slightly bent.
  • Keeping your back straight and chest up with your shoulders forward, pull back through your elbows until your hands are at your sternum.
  • Briefly hold and then slowly return to the starting position.
  • Repeat

Variations: Single-arm cable row

Cable Romanian deadlift

cable romanian deadlift for lower back cable exercise
romanian deadlift for lower back cable exercise
  • Place the cable pulley setting on the bottom level of the cable machine.
  • Face away from the cable machine, place your feet hip-width apart and grab the cable bar.
  • Start in an upright position with your knees slightly bent.
  • Hinge forward at the hips while keeping your back and arms straight.
  • Slowly lower the bar until it reaches the middle of your shins. Pause for a moment before driving through your heels and pulling the cable bar back up to your waist.
  • Repeat.

Deadlift with long handles

Deadlifts can be performed with handles or with a straight bar.

cable deadlifts for lower back cable exercise
long handle cable deadlifts for lower back cable exercise
  • Attach the long handles to the cable machine and stand facing it with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • With a handle in each hand, pull it to waist height with a slight bend in your knees until you are standing upright.
  • Slowly lower your upper body until it is parallel with the ground while pushing your glutes backward. 
  • Repeat. 

Straight arm lat pull down exercise

cable straight arm pull down
cable straight arm pull downs
  • Attach a cable rope attachment or straight bar above head level.
  • Step back so that you can lean forward slightly to reach up with extended arms and grab rope with a neutral grip (bar with overhand grip)
  • Brace your core while pulling down with your arms straight until your hands reach thigh level.
  • Pause, then slowly return to starting position.
  • Repeat

Wide-grip Lat pulldown

The wide grip pulldown is one of the best cable exercises to add strength and size to your back. This exercise works your entire back.

cable lat pulldown
  • Sit down facing the cable machine with the cable bar overhead.
  • Keep your elbows slightly in front of you with your arms fully stretched upwards. Grip the cable bar with both hands.
  • As you pull the cable handle down, keep your chest up and elbows in line with your hips as you pull the bar down to chest level. 
  • Control the movement and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat

Tips for performing lower back cable exercises

To maximize your back workouts and the use of cables exercises, consider the following tips:

  1. Warm-up exercises: Before starting your cable exercises, warm up your muscles to increase blood flow and prepare them for the workout. Perform dynamic stretches to loosen up your lower back and surrounding muscles.
  2. Maintain proper form: It’s important to maintain proper form throughout each exercise to avoid strain or injury. Keep your back straight, engage your core muscles and avoid excessive arching or rounding of your spine. Focus on the targeted muscles and avoid using momentum or relying on other body parts to move the weights.
  3. Gradually increase the weight and resistance: Begin with lighter weights or resistance and gradually increase as your strength and technique improve. 
  4. Quality reps: Focus on quality over quantity during your workout routine. Control your movements throughout each repetition, emphasizing the contraction of the targeted muscles. Avoid rushing and using momentum for assistance.
  5. Listen to your body: Pay attention to your body and adjust the intensity or range of motion. 
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