I would like to know the correct seated Rows technique. I wanted to use this exercise to develop the middle back particularly the lower Traps/middle Traps and Rhomboids. I already do Deadlifts and Pullups which has given me a broad back and upper traps but middle back is mostly missing.

There seems to be a lot of confusion on this on the Internet about short V Handle or long handle. Pull close to the chest or toward the lower abdomen. Elbows should be close to the body or flared out.

thanks in advance.


1 Answer 1



The correct technique for seated row is pretty simple. http://www.getfitchimp.com/exercise/seated-cable-row

  1. Keep your knees slightly bent to reduce stress on your knee joints
  2. Do not hump your upper back as this will increase stress on your shoulder joints
  3. Do not hyperextend your lower back when you finish as this may put more stress on your lower back
  4. Pull close to the abdomen has been shown to reduce stress on the neck

Regarding different types of handles, EMG studies show no significant difference regarding muscle activation (lats, rhomboids, upper traps and biceps). However, closer to the body with underhand-gripped has shown to activate the biceps, rhomboids and middle traps a little bit more. Do not allow your elbows to flare outward as this will increase the stress both on the shoulder and the elbow joints.

You might want to add bent-over rows (barbells or dumbbells) since these are the most effective exercises for the lats and upper back according to EMG studies. If you haven't yet, you should try some prone T's to isolate your middle traps even more. You can google or youtube this exercise. If this is too easy, you can try to perform the prone T's on a stability ball. Hope this helps!

  • I don't know how I feel about companies/websites coming in to pimp themselves out on stack exchange. I will say the answer is correct though. No upvotes for conflicted feelings.
    – BryceH
    Mar 5, 2013 at 3:59
  • Grohlier! I'm not here to get votes or to make friends. I'm here because I want to share and learn the knowledge about fitness, weight management, sports performance enhancement and injury prevention. GetFitChimp is not about making money. I'm a PT, and I make a great living. But it's time for me to give back to the community, and the best way to reach out to the most people is through the internet. Thanks for reading the answer though.
    – QikMood
    Mar 5, 2013 at 4:58
  • 1
    @Grohlier if you want to discuss this further, Physical Fitness Meta would be a better place.
    – Baarn
    Mar 5, 2013 at 5:13
  • @GetFitChimp : I will up vote the answer :-) How to train with this exercise, more Reps, less Reps, how many sets ? I somehow don't get tired doing this no matter what volume.
    – Geek
    Mar 5, 2013 at 5:43
  • Geek! Many of my patients and clients forget to squeeze their shoulder blades together during exercises like the these (prone T's, bent-over rows, lat pull-down, etc.). Remember the rhomboids are responsible for adducting (squeezing) the shoulder blades together. Next time, try focusing on squeezing the shoulder blades together when doing these exercises. For the prone T's, try it on a stability ball (3 sets of 15 to 20 reps), 3 times per week with about 5-10 lbs, since they are more endurance muscles. Let me know how it goes!
    – QikMood
    Mar 5, 2013 at 16:54

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