Seated row exercise is one that helps tone and strengthen your upper body, which is essential for everyday movements, including pulling.
Having a strong upper body also improves posture, protects your shoulders, and reduces your risk of injury.
The seated row works the following muscles in your back and arms.
- latissimus dorsi (middle back)
- rhomboids (between shoulder blades)
- trapezius (neck, shoulders, and upper back)
- biceps brachii (front of upper arm)
During the seated row, the primary movers are the lats and rhomboids. The trapezius and biceps help the movement by assisting the lats and rhomboids.
To begin, adjust the seat and chest pad. Your shoulders should be level with the machine handles.
- Sit upright on the bench and plant your feet on the floor or foot pads, knees bent. Extend your arms and hold the handle or cable. Move your shoulders back and down. Brace your core.
- Exhale. Bend your elbows to pull the handle or cable, keeping your elbows tucked in and your back neutral. Pause for 1 second.
- Inhale and slowly extend your arms, counting to 3.
- Complete one set of 12 to 15 reps.
Mistakes to Avoid
For best results, avoid these common mistakes.
- Outward elbows. Keep your elbows against your body during the pulling phase (except during the wide-grip row). Avoid lifting your elbows up and out, which engages the biceps instead of the lats and rhomboids.
- Shrugged shoulder. When you pull the weight, keep your shoulders back and down. Shrugging your shoulders toward your ears will place too much focus on the traps.
- Round back. Always maintain a neutral back. To prevent rounding or arching, engage your abdominals and focus on keeping your spine straight.
- Swinging torso. Avoid moving your torso. Otherwise, the targeted muscles won’t feel any tension.
- Rapid movements. To fully activate your muscles, perform each rep slowly. Avoid rapid and jerky movements.
- Partial range of motion. Each rep should go through the full range of motion for optimal benefits. While a reduced range of motion lets you lift more weight, partially extending your arms won’t properly work your muscles.
- Locked knees. Locking your knees is stressful on the joints, so it’s best to slightly bend your knees.
Note: Bracing your core during the exercise will help stabilize your body.