8 Best Seated Cable Row Alternative Exercises

seated cable row alternative

The seated cable row exercise is an awesome exercise with great benefits to your back muscles. But, for many people, it might be inaccessible as they might not have the cable row machine.

So, you are looking for a good seated cable row alternative but you don’t want to miss out on the benefits?

You’re in the right place. Here, we’ll take a look at the 8 best alternatives for the seated cable.

  • Bent-Over Rows
  • Single-Arm Dumbbell Rows
  • T-Bar Rows
  • Inverted Rows
  • Single-Hand T-Bar Rows
  • Seated Band Rows
  • Inverted TRX Rows
  • Incline Dumbbell Row

What Is A Seated Cable Row and What Does It Do?

The seated cable row is performed with a seated cable row machine. It’s perhaps one of the most effective exercises to gain thickness of your back, not just the width.

It builds our lats and traps, as well as some of our shoulders and biceps. It’s also a fantastic exercise for our posture.

But the machine might not be accessible for everyone, perhaps you’re in a gym that doesn’t have the machine.

Or you have a home gym but you still want to reap the rewards. In that case, looking for a seated cable row alternative is the only choice.

In that case, there’s plenty of choices you can make. Here are some of the best ones.

8 Best Seated Cable Row Alternatives

8 Best Seated Cable Row Alternative Exercises

1. Bent-Over Rows

The bent-over rows are the perfect seated cable row alternative in many ways. First, they will hit your traps and lats at least equally well as the seated cable rows.

They can help you build some serious size, and they are also beginner-friendly.

The reason why they’re such an effective alternative is that they are versatile. This means that we can do them with a barbell as well as with dumbbells.

With a barbell, we can load it as much as we want. Dumbbells, on the other hand, are better for isolation and for beginners as well.

Getting the technique right is tricky, though. Start with the barbell on the floor. Bend your knees and hinge your hips, but keep your back straight.

Also, don’t forget to squeeze your abs and your back muscles. The movement should be controlled, don’t swing around too much. Load it appropriately to your needs.

2. Single-Arm Dumbbell Rows

The single-arm dumbbell rows are another great seated cable row alternative. You can perform it either with or without a bench. You’ll need a dumbbell for the exercise.

Single-arm dumbbell rows target your lats and traps, but also your shoulder and arms. As it’s done by only one hand at a time, you’ll have to rotate.

Keep in mind that you’ll have to try and do equal reps with each arm to keep balance. The exercise is also great for your posture.

However, the problem arises when wen wants to load the exercise. For beginners, it’s an especially good alternative to get some back strength.

Performing the exercises is easiest with a bench. Put one knee on the bench, and keep the other straight on the ground.

Then, bent over, grab the dumbbell and start the exercise. Keep your back straight and don’t swing too much.

Keep as stable as possible, and squeeze your abs. Remember to switch arms and do both sides of your back.

3. T-Bar Rows

Hitting the T-bar is an excellent alternative to the cable seated rows. Obviously, you’ll need a bar and a handle to hold the bar in place. The exercise itself is very similar to the cable rows as well as to bent-over rows.

It’s an excellent exercise to progressively load over time. The bar itself offers some resistance, and we can increase it with some weights.

It does require some lower back strength, though, so it’s not best for beginners. Some ab work will also be present here.

With this exercise, it’s all about the technique. Beginners often make the mistake of rounding the back. Keep your back straight, especially the lower back.

You might want to decrease the load at first to focus on the technique instead. A good foundation is crucial here.

We have to put the muscles in the center of our attention. This means engaging the muscles and keeping the back straight.

4. Inverted Rows

Inverted rows are an excellent bodyweight alternative. It helps you build your back muscles more athletically, and you’ll engage more muscles with the movement.

When you perform it, you’ll not only feel your back muscles. You should also feel your shoulders, arms, and even the core.

Yes, inverted rows might not be the best for building muscle mass fast. But over time, it gives us a good way of performing something more functional with our own weight.

To do it, you’ll need a bar or a smith machine. The bar should be at the level of our abdomen (approximately). Then, we must go below the bar and grip it with an overhand grip.

You can also use the underhand grip, which would target biceps more. With our back straight and abs engaged, start lifting yourself up. Go back down slowly and repeat.

5. Single-Hand T-Bar Rows

Again, we’re turning to the T-bar for help. This time, it’s the one-hand T-bar rows that can replace the seated cable rows.

It’s a fairly similar movement to the single-arm dumbbell rows. The only difference is that we do this exercise standing up, and with the T-bar.

The T-bar single-hand rows work the traps and lats effectively. The secondary muscles that we work with this movement are shoulders and arms.

Performing this exercise is beneficial for better isolation on each side of our back. But, you’ll have to be wary of your posture during the exercise.

The technique wins again here, as it’s crucial to make it more effective. Perform the single-hand T-bar rows standing with the T-bar at your side.

Then, bend your knees slightly and keep your back straight. Squeezer your abs and your back muscles. Try to stay stable, and don’t sway when you do the movement.

The movement of your torso should be minimal with this movement.

6. Seated Band Rows

Seared band rows are a great alternative if you don’t have a seated cable row machine. In fact, this exercise can be done at home.

All you need is a stable pole, a good resistance band, and perhaps a handle to grip the band. Note that this alternative is not great for loading the exercise. Instead, it’s aimed at beginners.

Alternatively, you don’t even need somewhere to attach the band. All you need is the band, and attach it to your feet.

The movement is very similar to seated cable rows. It works your traps and lats, but it’s not effective for muscle growth over time.

7. Inverted TRX Rows

To hit your lats and traps, all you’ll need is the TRX handles and somewhere to hang them, of course. It’s an exercise that requires a good deal of strength and balance. It’s a bodyweight movement.

Changing the load is easy; all you need to do is change the angle you perform it at. TRX rows is a great exercise.

It works the same muscles as a seated cable row. But then again, some beginners might find this exercise challenging.

What you can do is perform it at a more friendly angle at first. Once you progress, make your angle steeper.

To do it, grab the TRX handles and keep your arms straight. Then, move your legs forward as much as can to increase the difficulty.

With your back and legs straight, start performing rows. Keep your abs tight as well. You can hold at the top of the movement for a second to get that extra squeeze.

8. Incline Dumbbell Row

Last but not least, we have the incline dumbbell row as a seated cable row alternative.

For this exercise, you’ll need a bench and some dumbbells. It’s a rowing movement, so it hits your traps and lats effectively.

The incline dumbbell row is an excellent alternative to seated cable rows. Perhaps it’s the closest alternative! It’s an isolation movement for your back muscles.

The exercise will also help with your posture. How to do it? Lie with your stomach on the bench flat. The top of the bench should be at an angle.

Then, with your back straight, grab the dumbbells and start performing the rows. Pause at the top of the movement for the extra load.


So these are the 8 best seated cable row alternatives that we recommend to you.

Having some seated cable row alternatives is beneficial if you don’t have a machine at home. Or, you want to switch it up and try something different for your back.

Did you enjoy the list? If you did, share the article and say what you think of it in the comments.

8 Best Seated Cable Row Alternative Exercises

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