The seated cable row exercise is great for upper back development. However, each repetition must be completed with strict form due to the potential for spinal injury when done incorrectly. In order to increase the effectiveness of the seated cable row exercise, you’ll want to initiate the movement by retracting the shoulder blades before bending the arms. Doing so will draw optimal recruitment from the targeted upper back muscles by minimizing the involvement of the biceps during the starting phase of the movement.
- Grasp the handle with a neutral grip (thumbs pointing upwards), sit in an upright position and place feet on foot rests with knees slightly bent.
- While keeping back straight, flex forward slightly at the hips and allow the weight to draw the shoulders slightly forward.
- Initiate movement by retracting the shoulder blades towards each other. (Draw shoulders back while keeping arms straight).
- Exhale, flex arms and pull handle in towards abdominal region. Step 3 and 4 should be combined into one smooth motion.
- Inhale and extend arms back to starting position at a controlled speed.
- Repeat until the desired number of repetitions are completed.
The seated cable row exercise can also be performed using one arm at a time. Simply switch the handle to a single pulley and using a grip with palm facing the ground, retract your shoulder blade and draw your arm back to a position that has the elbow aligned with your shoulder. This method will draw optimal recruitment from the rhomboids; a muscle that through training, has been shown to reduce the upper back pain frequently experienced by desk workers who spend a lot of time in front of the computer.