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Seated Cable Rows - Muscles Worked & Benefits

Exercise Type: Multi-Joint
Primary Muscles Worked: Middle Back
Secondary Muscles Worked: Lats, Biceps and Shoulders

The Seated Cable Row is a great exercise for developing the thickness of the back, particularly the lower lats. It also works the biceps and shoulders. When performed correctly the ready position of the spine is directly resisted, making it an excellent exercise for all the muscles required for good posture. This exercise can serve as an important part of your base program as it develops good posture which is often required to correctly perform a number of other exercises.

Seated Cable Rows - Exercise Workout & Technique

  • Take a seat on the Cable Row machine.
  • Reach forward and grasp the handles of the machine. Anchor yourself with your feet locked against the foot position of the machine for stability. Keep your knees ‘soft,’ rather than locked out at this position.
  • Extend backwards so that your torso is perpendicular to the seat. There should be tension in the handles at this starting position.
  • Now exhale and bring the handles towards your midsection, drawing your shoulder blades together and pause for a moment.
  • Ensure that the lower back remains curved at this stage, and throughout the movement and that your torso is stable.
  • At the peak of this exercise, your posture should be such that your head is vertically positioned above and in line with the back, not leaning backward.
  • Now let the weight return with gravity towards (but not to) the weight stack in a controlled manner.
  • Complete the desired rep, rest, then repeat.

Seated Cable Rows - Tips & Safety

  • Maintain correct posture throughout this exercise. Keep your back straight and your torso upright.
  • Don’t ‘sway’ with your body during this exercise.
  • Pull your elbows back as far as possible and squeeze your shoulder blades together to maximise muscle contraction. Keep the elbows close to your sides as well to ensure greater recruitment of the muscles.

Seated Cable Rows - Alternatives

  • Alternate your hand spacing on the bar in order to target different areas of the back. Placing your hands farther apart will target the outer trapezius, while placing your hands closer together will focus on the inner portion of the trapezius.
  • Using different bars include the V-Bar will work the inner portions of the back muscles.
  • Try the Machine Row to target the lats.
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