The load transfer mechanism of fully grouted cable bolts plays an important role in the performance of cable reinforcement systems. In order to better understand this behaviour, researchers have utilised a number of approaches including theoretical analysis, laboratory tests and numerical simulation. However, laboratory experiments are more often used because it offers a more direct and relatively accurate way to understand the physical and mechanical behaviour of cable bolts. This paper outlines the major developments and evolution in understanding the load transfer mechanism of fully grouted cable bolts under axial loading conditions through laboratory testing. The advantages and some of the shortcomings arising from previous tests are also presented. The major influencing factors that have been studied include embedment length, cable surface geometry and confinement of surrounding rock. A number of theoretical equations have been proposed based on these experiments. In conclusion, a roadmap for future research has been outlined that is necessary to better understand and improve the performance of cable bolts in stablising underground excavations.