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What is a Seated Row?

Nicole Madison
Updated May 17, 2024
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A seated row is an exercise used to work the muscles of the back as well as those located at the outer part of a person’s rib cage. This exercise is helpful for correcting problems with posture and may even help improve shoulder-muscle balance. The seated row is often popular with weight lifters who are attempting to achieve a V-shaped back.

For many people, the seated row is popular because it’s so easy to do. The exerciser can remain seated the entire time. A person may perform seated rows using a resistance band, seated row machine, or weighted cable machine.

To perform this exercise, a person sits with his resistance band wrapped around a stationary object positioned directly in front of him. When in position, there should be tension on the band. The exerciser holds a handle in each hand with his palms facing in toward each other and his arms extended straight in front of him. He then contracts his back muscles and moves his elbows toward his torso. If done correctly, this should resemble a rowing movement.

To perform seated rows on a cable machine, a person sits on a horizontal cable machine with his feet on the machine’s platform and his knees bent just a little. He grips the cable attachment in his hands, keeping his back straight. He then pulls the handle back toward the lower part of his abdomen. While rowing, the exerciser should take care to pull his shoulders back and push his chest forward. Finally, the exerciser should return to the starting position, with his arms fully extended.

An exerciser can also perform a seated row on a row machine. To perform this exercise, an individual gets into position by sitting, facing the machine with his feet flat on the floor and his chest touching the machine’s chest pad. He should then grasp the machine’s handles while keeping his arms straight. If the seated row machines includes a knee pad, it should be placed over the knees to keep the exerciser from lifting them during the exercise.

With one handle in each hand and his palms facing in toward each other, the exerciser pulls the handles toward his chest. While doing so, he should squeeze his back muscles and keep his elbows close to his sides. The exerciser stops when his palms are back at his chest and then slowly returns to the starting position, with his arms fully extended once more. For proper form during this exercise, it’s important to avoid hunching the shoulders and bending the wrists. The exerciser should take care to avoid leaning too far back as well.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
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Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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