The Proper Way to Perform Seated Rows by Antonio T
The seated row is a very simple exercise that is very effective for building up the back musculature – if it is performed correctly. First I will go through the proper performance of the exercise, then I will talk about a few of the common mistakes that I see daily in the gym.
First pick a weight that you can handle – this isn’t a “show off” exercise. If you pick a weight that is too heavy you are going to use sloppy form, cheat, and possibly get hurt.
Next sit down on the bench, lean forward and grab the handles, and sit back up into a nice upright position with your arms being pulled out by the weight. This is your body position for the entire exercise – SITTING UPRIGHT.
To start the movement let your arms fully stretch forward, and your shoulders round forward (see the pictures below).
Once you reach as much of a stretch as possible without letting your upper body bend forward, you reverse the movement and pull the handle back to your stomach.
As you are pulling back concentrate on getting your elbows back as far as you can. As if you are in a chair and trying to touch your elbows to the back of it. Do not let your shoulders shrug up toward your ears at this point. Do not lean back more than 10-15 degrees as you pull. Your body stays upright.
Some common errors I see in the gym:
1. Leaning forward all the way as the weight is lowered, then leaning back as the weight is lifted. – okay what is the point here? You are making your glutes, hams, and lower back do the majority of the work. The bar is pulled back mostly by momentum and force from those muscles instead of your back muscles.
2. Shrugging as the weight is pulled back. – this is unnecessary and can leave you with a really sore neck and possibly a headache.
3. Not pulling the elbows back as far as possible. – this is obvious, if you aren’t going through the full range there is no point in doing the exercise.
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