The seated row is an excellent exercise to help build up the strength in your upper body. It can also help you to develop your muscles in your core as well, making this a versatile and easy exercise to incorporate into virtually any training program. One stipulation of the exercise, however, is that you must have a cable machine handy in order to do it properly.
A cable machine contains a bench and a cable mechanism. The cable is attached to a weight system such that when you pull on the cable, you consequently are met with the level of resistance of the weights that are set for your exercise as well.
1. Exercise Basics
In order to begin this exercise, you’ll first need to set up the cable machine and the bench properly. Position the bench such that you can easily reach the cable. You’ll want to be able to fully extend the cable when you’re leaning back on the bench. If the bench doesn’t already have foot rests attached to the end next to the cable machine, set those up as well.
Set the weight for the cable machine to the appropriate level. Holding on to the cable with both hands, sit on the bench with your legs fully extended. The bottom foot or so of your leg should rest off of the bench, and your feet should press up against the foot rests at the cable machine. Sit with your torso straight up and your arms bent at the elbows, with your elbows tucked in at your sides. This is the resting position for the exercise.
To execute the cable seated row, lean your torso forward, keeping your gaze up. As you do so, extend your arms fully in the direction of the cable machine. Next, lean back with your torso as you pull your elbows in to your sides. You should end up by leaning slightly back from a position in which your torso is straight up. This constitutes a single repetition of the exercise.
2. Safety and Injury Prevention
If you do the cable machine seated row exercise improperly, it can be very easy to pull any number of different muscles. Therefore, it’s important that you stretch carefully both before and after you work out. When you’re doing the exercise, do not over extend your arms when you lean forward. Similarly, do not lean forward or lean backward beyond your comfortable range of motion, as this is more likely to cause an injury in your back muscles.
A single arm seated row is another option. In this case, you’ll need to reduce the weight from the weight that you set for the standard seated row. Next, place one of your arms behind your back or let it rest at your side. Maintaining the same positioning and range of motion, complete the exercise while holding on to only one part of the handle and with one hand only.