Seated Cable Row

Image of how to do the seated cable row


Type: Strength

Main Muscle Worked: Middle Back

Equipment: Cable

Level: Beginner

What is the Seated Cable Row?

The seated cable row is essential in your routine if your serious about building upper body strength. This exercise targets the back muscles, specifically the lats and erector spinae, building your core strength. The seated cable row is also pretty easy and requires a minimal amount of equipment, as all you need is a low pulley cable machine.

You will also notice an improvement in your rear delts, biceps and even your forearms as these are used as secondary muscles in this exercise.

Muscles Worked in the Seated Cable Row

Muslces worked in seated cable row

primary: Biceps, Lats
secondary: Forearms, Trapezius, Rear Deltoid

Seated Cable Row Benefits

Low-Impact Activity

The seated cable row machine is great for people with joint pain as they are low impact and easy on the joints.

Good For Heart and Lungs

The seated cable row machine can help improve heart and lung function. Although, it depends on the reps, sets, and resistance used for the exercises, as you sweat and breathe in more oxygen it makes your heart work harder to meet the oxygen demands.

Effective Weight Loss

Rowing machine exercises are amazing for stored fat. Simply ten minutes of a rowing machine workout and it burns 100-200 calories, depending on your body weight, intensity, and resistance used.

Low Risk Of Injuries

Unlike lifting weights or running, rowing machine workouts have a low risk of injuries. Just make sure you don’t add too much resistance, only add as much resistance so that it allows you to do 3 sets of 15 reps with ease. Add more resistance gradually as your strength increases over time.

Improves Posture

When done correctly, rowing exercises can actually help improve your posture. As a result, you look taller and add definition to your shoulders, upper back, and lower back.

How to do the Seated Cable Row

Seated Cable Row

  1. 1. Sit upright on the bench, facing the low pulley row machine with a V-bar.
  2. 2. Keep your feet up on the front platform, making sure your knees are slightly bent but not locked out.
  3. 3. Lean over, keeping the natural alignment of your back, and grab the V-bar.
  4. 4. Keep your arms extended and pull back your torso so that it is at a right angle with your legs. Keep your lower back slightly arched, chest out, and shoulders relaxed. This is the starting position.
  5. 5. Keeping your torso stationary, pull the handles of the V-bar back. Breathe out, keep your arms close to your body, and pull the V-bar until your thumbs touch your abs. Squeeze your back muscles.
  6. 6. Hold this position for a second. Slowly release the contraction and go back to the starting position.

Repeat for desired reps.

Mistakes commonly made in the Seated Cable Row

Too Fast on Return to Starting Position

You should return the weight slowly and under tension to the starting position. Do not crash the weights fast and do not pause or bounce the weights at the bottom of the lift.

Too Heavy Weights

If the weight is so heavy that you are unable to go through the full range of motion with good form it means that the weight you are using is too heavy. You should reduce the weight and ensure that you are getting a full range of motion for the seated cable row.

Rounded Back

When performing the seated cable row your back should be straight at all times, instead of being bent. You can flex slightly at the hip to allow a full range of motion.

Moving your Torso

You should use your arms for the motion instead of moving your torso. Keep your torso still throughout the exercise.

Safety when performing the Seated Cable Row

Be cautious if you have an existing or past shoulder or lower back injury. You should talk to your doctor or physical therapist before trying the exercise to see if it is advised. However you should stop the exercise straight away if you feel any sharp pain.

Variations of the Seated Cable Row

Wide-grip seated cable row

You can change the hand attachment and your grip to target different areas of your back and how much you are using your biceps.

Wide-grip seated cable row

  1. 1. Sit facing the cable row machine and place your feet on the foot rests.
  2. 2. Grab the long bar with a wider-than-shoulder-width grip and slide your bottom backward until your knees are almost straight. You torso should be leaning forward and your arms should be fully extended.
  3. 3. Exhale as you slowly lean backward, straighten your back, and pull the bar to your abdomen. Pull your shoulders back and stick out your chest at the top of the movement.
  4. 4. Hold for a count of two seconds.
  5. 5. Inhale as you slowly lean forward and return the bar to the starting position, with your arms fully extended and your lower back bent forward.

Repeat for desired reps.

Write below in the comments your opinion on the seated cable row, if it works for you and any questions you might have.

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