How to Do a Seated Cable Row

The seated cable row machine focuses on the latissimus dorsi, forearm muscles and upper arm muscles. The machine itself is a weighted horizontal cable machine attached to a flat bench with foot plates.

Select Proper Weight

Before assuming the correct position within the seated cable row machine, it is important to select the proper amount of weight that you would like to use. To select the proper weight, push the metal selector pin through the weight stack. While you want to be challenged for optimal benefit, be careful not to select a weight that is too heavy to avoid injury.

Correct Position

Once the desired weight has been selected, sit on the bench with your knees bent hip-width apart and place one foot on each foot plate. Extend your arms to grasp the handle attachment that is connected to the cable with your thumbs pointing upwards. Your back should remain straight as you bend at the hips. Remember that you should be sitting up tall, with good posture. Hold your abdominal muscles in tight so that you are “engaging your cage.”

Proper Method

After you are correctly positioned on the bench, slowly pull the handles towards your abdomen, focusing on feeling a “pinch” or squeeze in the lat muscles and upper back, between the shoulder blades. Once you feel the pinch, allow the cables to slowly return to their starting position. Exhale when you are working the hardest, which is when you are pulling the weight towards you. Inhale as you release the cables to their original point. Repeat this exercise 15-20 times.

Safety Precautions

As with all exercise machines, make sure that you are confident when using the seated cable row machine. A personal trainer or member of the fitness center can answer any questions that you have regarding proper use. Additional tips include:

  • To avoid personal injury, keep the motions slow and controlled at all times. Never thrust your body weight.
  • Do not overlift.
  • If you feel pain, stop.
  • To avoid hyper-extension of the knee, do not allow the knees to lock.



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