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Seated Row Machine

Type: Back
The seated row machine is ideal for beginners to weight training who are looking to develop a strong muscular back. It will help develop your back and get it used to lifting weights and is a great stepping stone to more advanced free weight exercises.
Level :  Equipment : Yes
Rear Shoulders
Upper Back

Seated Row Machine Steps:

Step 1:
Adjust the seat to the correct height and if applicable adjust the chest pad for your correct reach.

Step 2:
Select an appropriate weight for the exercise.

Step 3:
Take hold of the handles using your preferred grip (either wide or narrow).

Step 4:
Brace the abdominals and back muscles to maintain a straight back position.

Step 5:
Breathe in and pull the handles in towards you.

Step 6:
Pause briefly and squeeze the shoulder blades together at the end of the movement.

Step 7:
Breathe out slowly and gradually return the handles to the start position.

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Seated Row Machine

In case you re planning to work your back by the book, this post is exactly what you ve been looking for. Because the seated row machine is the device that can help you with that. It builds strength and muscles in a correct way and at a natural pace.

The seated row machine is reportedly the best device at targeting your Rhomboid Muscles as well as the Middle Trapezius.

But including these two previously mentioned, here s a list of the main muscles that benefit from your practicing this type of fitness and bodybuilding routine: the Teres Major (outer back), theLatissimusDorsi (middle back), the Rhomboids, the Middle and Lower Trapezius (upper back), the Erector Spinae (lower back), the Pectoralis Major,the Lower Chest Muscles, the Posterior Deltoids (shoulder), theInfraspinatus(shoulder), theTeres Minor(shoulder).

And these are just the main muscles. There are a lot of secondary ones, which serve and balance the muscles above, such as a part of your triceps (upper arm), the biceps (upper arm), the hamstrings (lower body), the Adductor Magnus (lower body) and the Gluteus Maximus (lower body). Buy enough with the chart section of this article. Let s get down to business.

The Multiple Types of the Seated Row Machine


In case you want to avoid any confusion, you should know there are several types of seated row machine: the machine seated row, the seated cable row, the high pulley row and the seated row using a resistance band.

How to use the Body Solid Seated Row Machine

A Brief Description of the Device


For those of you who are interested in taking up a seated machine row routine, here are some basic facts about the device. First of all, as you can probably understand from its designation, it has a small seat along with a small vertical pad, the main difference from any classic machine being that your chest is the area that comes in contact with it throughout the entire routine. Don t worry about height or mass differences, as the seat and the chest pad are usually highly adjustable.

As far as the handles are concerned, a seated rowing machine can have between 1 and 3 pairs of handles, with different purposes. The horizontally placed wide-grip handles are mainly meant to target your trapezius muscles. The narrow-grip handles mostly target your LlatissimusDorsi muscles, while the underhand grip handles are for your biceps and lats. Nevertheless the latter pair of handles is less common.

Moreover pay extra attention to the independent movement of the handles as well. It s a pity to have the opportunity to use a super-device and have no clue how to use it. Some can also change their planes. So the challenge is practically infinite.

You can also play with weights, meaning that the charge can be modified according to the user s needs and capabilities.


Let s get down to business and learn how to use this seated machine row properly:

Step 1: Sit down on the little seat, with your feet firmly on the floor; roughly the handles should be at the same height as your chest.

Step 2: Adjust the chest pad so that it is placed in the middle of your chest and it prevents you from grabbing the handles with much ease (this will prevent the weights from touching the stack during the point in which you have your arms fully extended).

Step 3: Make sure to pull your shoulders back and to keep you chest in an upright position; your back and your hips should be in a straight line.

Step 4:Exhale contracting the abdominal muscles and pull the handles. Your elbows will move backwards as a consequence.

Step 5: Stop pulling once you have felt your shoulders squeeze back together.

Step 6: Slowly extend your arms back while inhaling.

Take care not to move your hips during the movement and keep your back straight- the chest pad will help you with this.

1. How to Use a Seated (Low Pulley) Cable Row Machine

Step 1: Sit down on the seat and place your legs in front of you on the platform or crossbar, with you knees slightly bent.

Step 2: Concentrate on you back and straighten it you ll have to maintain this position throughout the entire exercise.

Step 3: Grab the bar; you back is still straight.

Step 4: Pull the bar towards you until your legs and your torso form a 90-degree angle; your shoulders should have gone back by now, leaving your chest out.

Step 5: Without moving your torso, pull the bar towards it until you reach the abs; breathe out while you do this, for extra strength and resistance.

Step 6: Hold this position for a few seconds, then slowly go back, breathing in.

Keep in mind that as far as the handle is concerned, it might as well be a V-bar or a straight bar. The first one has the palms of your hands facing each other, while the second one can have either them facing forward or facing up (reverse grip).

2. How to Use a High Pulley Cable Row Machine

It s the same as the regular seated cable row machine, the only difference being that the bar has to be pulled straight towards you upper chest instead of the abdominals. It s a recommended variation as it really works your lats like nothing else.

3. How to use the Seated Row Using a Resistance Band

Even though this type of exercise can be done anywhere, it is a highly used variation of the cable row exercise. The only things you ll need are a resistance band and a place where to attach the resistant band from.

Step 1: The band must be positioned at stomach level and grasped with both hands.

Step 2: The distance between your sitting place and the band must have tension between the tube and your stretched arms.

Step 3: Start pulling the tube towards your chest, keeping your back straight.

Step 4: Slowly release by strengthening your arms.

3 Seated Rowing Machine Traps and Mistakes

1. Don t Row With Your Arms Only In other words don t let your arms and your back to do all the work. The row machine routine is a complex movement, that should be divided as follows: 20% of the movement should come as a result of the arms pull, 20% should come from the core and 60% from your feet. Never forget that. You might get seriously injured if you ignore this advice.


2. Don t Mix the Precise Step Order It s tempting to perform the pulling at the same time with your leg movement. But this is the wrong way to do it. So your legs should always go first, followed by the backward leaning of your upper body, and only after that your hands should start pulling.


3. Keep your back straight! In case you are working in a cubicle, chances are that your back may have long got used to that desk position. But the gym is no place for the Hunchback of Notre Dame. So hold your abs in and lower your shoulders, pulling them back.


All in all keep in mind that the movement should be well defined and take your time to repeat in your head what you are about to do before getting started. You won t have to do this every single time, just at the beginning, before this routine becomes natural to you.

Seated Row Machine Variations

1. The Seated One-Arm Cable Rows

For this one you ll need a single-handed bar, not a v-bar, because the purpose of this exercise is to work every side of your back in an isolated motion.

Step 1: Sit down in with the machine facing you.

Step 2: Check your position: when your arm is completely stretched, you need to feel it in your lat.

Step 2: Incline yourself forward from the waist.

Step 4: Pull yourself back until you straighten your back with you arm positioned as close to your side as possible.

2. The Kneeling High Pulley Row

Fix a rope on the pulley s cable and position it at a height that allows you to reach it while kneeling on the floor.

Step 1: Knee in front of the pulley, on either knees or just both of them, and grasp the rope; this should make your arms to be perfectly extended.

Step 2: Flexing and retracting your shoulders bring the rope to your chest; exhale while doing this.

Step 3: Freeze for a couple of seconds squeezing your shoulders together.

Step 4: Taking your time, return to the starting position.

Try not to lean forward while going back; this will prevent your muscles from working efficiently. Moreover if the pulley is at eye level, this means you are performing this routine correctly.

3. The Wide Grip Seated Row

The wide grip version works your middle back and rhomboids mostly. For this one you ll be needing a latpulldown bar in case the machine you are using doesn t have one provided. Just take it from anywhere you can find it, attach it where you need and put it back after you finish.

Step 1: Making sure you have a wider bar to grip, grasp it overhand widely, slightly outside the shoulder width (the most confortable thing is to grab the bar just where it bends).

Step 2: Keeping your elbows high, pull the bar towards you (pull it towards your upper abs) and try to come in contact with it with your torso. Right now your upper arms should be perpendicular to the torso on one hand and parallel to the floor on the other hand.

Try to pull your elbows as far behind the body as you can for the best contraction.

4. The Narrow Grip Seated Row

The main difference between this one and its previous version is the position of the hands, which obviously, due to its being different works different muscles. Despite its being a really famous exercise, the narrow grip rows don t work your back, but your outer lats. This is among the classics of this routine, but it s quite overrated actually. Go for it, but don t put all your hopes in it.

5. The Upright Cable Row

Step 1:In front of the seated upright row machine, standing up, grab a straight bar cable that s attached to a low pulley. Your grip should have the palms facing the thighs and your arms should have less width than your shoulders between them. Let the bar rest on your thighs. Keeping your back straight, make sure your arms are not over stretched (your elbows should be slightly bent).

Step 2:Exhaling, lift the cable until it touches your chin. Let your elbows conduct the motion, not your forearms. Keep the bar to your chin for a few seconds.

Step 3: Slowly let the bar down again; inhale as you do this.

Be careful not to use too many weights, because your shoulders might get seriously injured.

Some Beginner s Seated Row Machine Variations


A Rookie s Seated Row exercise

We ll begin our rookie session with a good alternative for women. This exercise is marked like a bonus, because it s indeed derived from our post s subject, but it uses nothing more than a resistance band or tube and our body. You can use the floor as a seating.

Step 1: Sit down on the floor with your legs in front of you. Position the band at the bottom of your feet and hold its ends firmly.

Step 2: Keeping your back straight and your elbows a little bent, start pulling the band back as you exhale. Your elbows should be really bent at the end of this movement.

Keep your torso stable and your back straight while doing it. You ll feel your arms and upper back working. Try to make at least 15 repetitions per set.

1. The Side Rows:

Step 1: Grab the handle with your right hand, and place your left over it.

Step 2: Turn the handle in a vertical position, so that your right hand eventually ends up above.

Step 3: Imagine yourself rowing, with a paddle in your hand.

Step 4: In order to go forward on your left side, bend your knees in.

Step 5: Pushing back with your legs, pulling the handle back; your left elbow is leading this move.

Step 6: Once your legs are extended, lean backwards 45 degrees.

This is one rep. Perform as many as you can, but no less than 10.

2. The Leg Drives

Step 1: Sit up straight with you arms also straight.

Step 2: Adjust the seat, moving it forward, so that your knees form a 90-degree angle while you are holding the step 1 position.

Step 3: Using your legs, push back until they are fully extended.

Step 4: Lead backwards at a 45-degree angle.

Step 5: Driving your hips forward, start pulling the knees to your chest so that you return to the starting point.

This is one rep. Do at least 12 reps for one set.

3. The Pulls and Punches Exercise

Step 1: Grasping the handle of the machine (your hands should be facing forward as you do this), extend tour arms and legs so that the seat will end up pushed back.

Step 2: Sitting up tall and keeping your elbows by your side, pull the bar back towards your belly.

Step 3: Push it back to its starting position.

This is one rep. This is a power exercise, so you should try doing as many reps as you can during a 20-second span.

4. The Upright Rows

Step 1: Extend the legs in order to push the seat all the way back while holding its handle to your lap with one hand at every end.

Step 2: Using your abs, lean backwards, at about 45 degrees.

Step 3: Start pulling the handle to your chin, keeping you elbows outward (they must reach the shoulders ahead of your wrists).

Step 4: Hold the previous step for a few moments and then direction the handle to its starting position.

This is one rep. You should perform at least 12 per set.

5. The Power Curls

Step 1: With both your palms facing forward, grab the handle (you probably need to slide the seat all the way forward in order to be able to do this).

Step 2: Bending you elbows, bring the bar towards your upper body, extending your legs to push the seat backwards.

Step 3: As you are sliding the seat back to the front, extend the arms frontally.

This is one rep. Perform at least 15 Arial.


In a nutshell the main warner regarding the seated rowing machine involves the position of your back. Moreover there s one more aspect that you should consider: the gym is not your arena, and there are some routines that we ve presented here that require some wider bar borrowing. But smile, have patience and be friendly and you ll get everything you need from life.

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