Muscles Targeted: By incorporating standing cable rope rows into your back workouts, the muscles that one can improve in their physique include the latissimus dorsi situated on the lower portion as well as the upper portion of the back, teres major located at the upper side of the back, posterior deltoid situated behind a prominent three-headed muscle that guards the shoulder, trapezius situated in the mid to upper back region and the rhomboids situated below the diamond shaped trapezius in the upper middle back.
Exercise Advice: Attach the rope handle to the low pulley cable machine at about waist level. Grab the rope handles with both hands and take a shoulder width stance while keeping your knees slightly bent. Ensure that your back is erect, legs are slightly bent and pull back on the cable to create a little tension to place yourself in the starting position. Use a very light weight starting out with this exercise in order to make sure you feel comfortable, completely balanced and that your technique is accurate.
From the start position, pull the rope back with both hands and keep your elbows close to your sides while rowing to the end position. The peak contraction needs to be held for a maximum of one or two seconds. The best way to use standing cable rope rows is to concentrate on pulling back or rowing with the help of the latissimus dorsi. One must try to maintain an erect posture throughout the exercise and not lean or sway too far forward or backward when doing this exercise. Try focusing on keeping your upper body in a fixed position while you row the weight with your lats while placing all of the tension on your back muscles.
For a maximum contraction, you should squeeze your shoulder blades together while pulling the elbows back to the farthest extent possible and then slowly releasing the weight back towards the cable pulley machine for the eccentric or “negative” portion of the movement. Always perform this movement in a slow and controlled manner to insure proper technique and safety.
Things to Avoid: One must refrain from using the upper body and see to it that the back is not rounded while doing this exercise. Keep your back straight and your entire upper body in a fixed position to avoid leaning too far and “swinging”. Also, try to avoid pulling with your biceps and focus all of the attention on your lats and back muscles to pull or “row” the weight back. If you feel the majority of the tension in your biceps versus your larger back muscles, then you are probably doing the movement incorrectly.
Reps and Sets: The best time to use the standing cable rope rows is usually after doing more mass building movements and heavy rowing exercises in your workout routine. This exercise is considered more of a “shaping” movement and should not take the place of the core mass builders like deadlifts and bent over barbell rows. Shoot for 8-12 reps for each set for a total of 4-5 sets for this exercise.
Other Exercises to Use: For a really good finishing “burnout” routine to your back workout, people often combine two exercises and do a superset where they do the movements back to back without any rest in between. Two great exercises for the superset are standing cable rope rows along with straight arm pulldowns. One has to simply stand behind a lat pulldown machine, extend the arms completely and hold on to the pulldown bar. The aim is to lower the bar so that it touches the thighs without allowing either arm to bend even slightly.