Seated Row Done Correctly

When it comes to back day, there’s no better exercise than rows. Whether it’s with a barbell bent over, lying face down on a bench or using cables/machines to do the seated variation…rows are amazing…when done correct. Here we talk about the seated position row, what to watch out for and how to get the most out of the exercise to make your back day workouts count.

Benefits of the seated row machine

The seated row is a common exercise that is performed by almost everyone from bodybuilders to athletes. It’s a great exercise for developing thickness of the muscles in our upper/mid back, lats and the rear portion of our shoulders.

Mistakes to avoid

Short range of motion
For maximum back development, perform the seated cable row by pulling the bar until it touches your abs and extending until your arms are nearly locked out (because the target muscle is the back, which also needs to be fully stretched before your arms are extended).

Leaning forward too much
Leaning forward while lowering the weight may appear to increase the exercises range of motion, and a longer range of motion can sometimes lead to increased muscle recruitment. However, with the seated cable row, that added range of motion is not coming from the target muscle (the large muscles of the mid and upper back), but instead from the lats and shoulders. Stay seated relatively upright throughout!

Lifting with your biceps
This is a very common one, where people will use their biceps to control the whole movement and pulling motion, while from the back…the shoulder blades are hardly squeezing together, meaning you’re using more arms than back. Relax your grip a little, pull back with your elbows and squeeze your mid/upper back hard on each rep. Try pausing too on the squeeze to perfect your form.

How to do seated row effectively

  1. Sit upright
  2. Keep your elbows tucked into your side
  3. Brace your core
  4. Drive your elbows back
  5. Row the weight to your abs, squeeze and hold with your back muscles not arms
  6. Release slowly, stretching the back without leaning forward too much

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