How to do the Close Grip Cable Row in 5 simple steps
The close grip cable row primarily targets the Latissimus Doris (Back/Lats) muscle group. You will also use your rear delt (back of the shoulder) when you pull from the front to the back (shoulder extension). Your biceps (front of your arm) and forearm also assist in this exercise.
The primary workload is performed by the large back muscle, the latissimus dorsi.
The Close Grip Cable Row in 5 simple steps
- Step 1: The Setup
Usually you will find this machine built onto a large rig on the Gym floor. If you see a pulley with the cable and attachments able to come out horizontally you should be able to perform this exercise. For the Close Grip Cable Row, I reccomend using the narrow handle attachment.
When you are using this handle your hands will be facing each other and about 6 inches apart.
You will need to find where to support your feet. And also where you can sit down. Most of the time there will be a long padded seat about 1 foot from the floor with footrests located just below the pulley.
You should sit your hips back far enough away from the pulley so that your knees are out of the way when you start the exercises. Basically, your hands and attachemnt should be free to move without your knees being in the way.
That being said, you don’t want to sit back so far that your legs are completely locked out straight.
Now that your hips are in place we should talk about your back angle.
Which is, how your back is positioned throughout the exercise.
Your back should be straight and upright for the duration of each rep.
You should not lean back when the weight gets heavier or lean forward with the cables when returning the weight to the start position.
- Step 2: Pulling the handles towards your body
Take a firm grip of the handles. Your start position for this movement will be with an upright back angle and your arms will be outstretched to the front of your body.
You will need to position yourself that when you are holding the handles, with your arms outstretched to the front, so that the weight plates do not touch. Basically, you should already be holding the weight you are going to be using.
You do this so that the weight stack does not make a loud crashing sound after every rep. This is not supposed to happen.
- Step 3: Squeezing the Shoulder blades
You can now begin to pull the handles towards your body. You will begin by squeezing your shoulder blades together.
I find it helps my clients if I physically place my finger between their shoulder blades to allow their brain to get a better idea of what is supposed to be happening.
Keep your shoulder blades depressed. This means you should not be shrugging up as you pull the weight and squeezing your shoulder blades.
Rather you will want to squeeze your should blades together, and keep your shoulders down.
You should be pulling in towards your belly button. Not your chest.
The end range of the motion (when the handles are close to your body) will be significantly harder than the rest of the exercise.
However, you should always use a full range of motion.
It may help if you pause at the end for a split second.
Pull the handles as close to your body as possible without curling your wrists at the end of the exercise.
Your wrists should stay straight in line at all times.
- Step 4: Return to the starting position
Once you reach the end of the range you can begin to return the weight to its fully lengthened starting position.
Do not lean forward as you return to the start. Remain under control of the weight and make sure you go back to a fully stretched position.
The weight stack should not be touching when your arms are fully stretched. If you find this happening you may need to sit back a little further. Do not lean back.
- Step 5: Repeat for Reps
You should repeat this exercise for the reps and sets as prescribed by your training plan.
Alternatively you could perform this exercise for 3 to 4 working sets of 8-12 reps. Leave about 1-2 minutes rest between sets…
Always do a sufficient warm up and practice sets before your working sets.
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