Cable Pullover – What Muscles Worked + HOW TO

Compound exercises like pull-ups, chin-ups, bent-over rows, and pulldowns are popular among bodybuilders to build a broad and muscular back. They involve lots of bicep work and can be too demanding. For this reason, many gym goers prefer isolation lat exercises for ease and thorough training of the back muscles.

A cable lat pullover is an isolation exercise that primarily focuses on the back and works the chest and abs. It is a handy exercise for building mass and defining the upper body while improving your fitness levels. Cable pullovers require only one piece of gym equipment, a cable machine. However, you must be careful when using the cable machine to prevent injuries.

This article discusses all the must-knows about cable lat pullovers and mentions a step-by-step guide on how to do cable pullovers in the easiest way possible.

Let’s get into it.

Benefits of Cable Pullovers

Lower Back Friendly

Anyone with back pain should opt for standing cable pullovers because they don’t hyperextend your spine and brace your core.

It is lower back friendly and more comfortable than most bent-over row variations.

Enhances Shoulder Flexibility

Standing cable rows is one of the best exercises that move your limbs through an extensive range of motion, improving your shoulder mobility.

Also, it helps treat tight shoulders and other pain-causing shoulder issues.

Easy to Learn

This exercise is ideal for beginners as it is easy to learn and eventually master. To enhance its efficiency, you can also add more weights.

Isolate Your Lats

This exercise doesn’t work on your biceps, so its main focus is last, which boosts the mind-muscle connection.

Cable Pullover Muscles Worked

As mentioned above, cable pullovers are an isolation exercise, primarily involving movement at just one joint. However, it also affects other important muscle groups, such as:

Latissimus dorsi

Also named lats, the Latissimus dorsi is located in the upper back and joins your arms with the torso. It is responsible for shoulder extension and medial rotation. Well-defined lats give a muscular look to the body.

Triceps brachii

Also called the triceps, this muscle group is located on the back side of the upper arm. It plays a role in shoulder extension when performing cable pullovers.

Rectus abdoimis

This lat exercise also works on your abs because the activated rectus abdoimis muscles keep your lumbar spine in place. This exercise helps stabilize your core and upper body while enhancing your core strength.

Posterior deltoid

The posterior deltoid is the rearmost shoulder muscle that supports the extension of the shoulder joint. It receives stimulation when performing cable pullovers.

How to do Lat Pullover Cable?

Learning standing cable pullovers, the conventional type of this exercise is necessary before incorporating other variations into your workout regimen.

Furthermore, you must perfect your form and arm movements to achieve proper outcomes, as they play a vital role in performing cable pullovers.

Here are step-by-step instructions on doing standing cable pullovers most effortlessly:

  • Step 1: Adjust the machine by attaching a straight bar on the highest setting.
  • Step 2: Using an overhand grip, hold the handle at shoulder-width and take two or three steps back from the machine.
  • Step 3: Next, set your feet at a distance of shoulder width apart and your back straight and slightly lean in.
  • Step 4: Without bending your elbows, bring the bar down until it adjoins your thighs. Wait at the end of the motion and clutch your lats. Keep your core engaged and chest up.
  • Step 5: Next, slowly let the cable return to the starting position while maintaining your form.
  • Step 6: Repeat the cable rope pullover as many times as you can in the 3 sets.

What are The Best Cable Pullover Alternatives and Variations?

Although cable lat pullover is an effective exercise for training your back, you don’t have to rely solely upon them. Incorporate cable pullover alternatives and variations in your workout regimen to obtain destined outcomes.

Here are the best three cable pullover alternatives and variations to keep your workouts productive:

1. Incline Cable Pullover

Angles are vital in building muscles by enhancing the potency of different exercises. The incline cable pullover hits your lats differently but still gives solid results.

Here’s how to do the incline cable pullover:

  • Put a bench in front of the cable machine at an angle of 45 degrees. Sit on the bench facing the high pulley machine with a straight bar attached.
  • Slightly raise your head and grab the handle with straight arms.
  • Draw the handle towards your thighs without curling your elbows, and repeat the exercise several times.

2. Supine Cable Pullover

People with weak lower back can opt for cable rope pullovers because it’s more comfortable and doesn’t require an excellently strong core.

Here are the instructions to do the cable role pullover:

  • Attach a straight bar to a low cable machine and bring a bench in front of it. Lie on it and pull the cable into a vertical position.
  • Slightly bend your elbows and lower your arms backward, so the biceps touch the ears.
  • Slowly bring your arms back to the starting position and repeat the exercise.

3. Kneeling Straight Arm Cable Pullover:

The significant difference between this cable pullover variation and the traditional one is that this lat exercise requires you to kneel on your knees instead of standing.

It defines your chest, back, and core while improving your upper body strength.

Here’s a summary of how to do a kneeling straight-arm cable pullover:

  • Fasten a rope to the cable machine at the highest setting and take a few steps back from the equipment.
  • Next, grab the rope handle while fully extending your arms and tightening the core.
  • Pull the rope downwards with your lats muscle only and squeeze it in once your handle touches to sides of your legs. Repeat the exercise for desirable outcomes.

Final Thoughts

We suggest you switch up your back workout routine by trying out various variations of cable pullovers in addition to the conventional standing cable rope pullover.

Building a muscular and bulky back doesn’t happen overnight. You must put in the effort and utilize effectual lats to achieve attractive large back muscles.

We assure you that following the exercises given in this article will give you visible results in just a few weeks!

4/5 - (5 votes)


James Moore
James Moore
James is co-founder of He works as a fitness trainer and nutrition specialist. His main mission is to inspire people to relentlessly pursue their sport goals. He believes staying in shape has an overall positive effect on body, mind, and spirit.

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