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I use a machine in my apartment's gym that is similar to this: http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/BackGeneral/LVNarrowGripSeatedRowH.html

I've found that muscles around ** where the medium and lower trapezius are (possibly those muscles themselves) tend to tire much faster than my lats and are sore more the next days. I don't feel I'm getting a good lat workout because of this.

Any tips to use more lats and less of the muscles around that area?

If it helps at all, my goals aren't muscle building or health perse. My main goals are to get thinner and smaller in most of my body except get a V shape from wider lats and shoulders. So if I lost fat and all of my muscles got smaller except lats, maybe upper pecs, and medial/rear delts which I hope to make bigger that would be great. There are benefits to being lighter on your feet.

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If you watch the animation that you posted closely, I think you'll see two important adjustments to consider.

  • First, make sure that the seat is correctly placed to target the lats. You'll notice in that animation that the top of the chest pad is at the top of the chest. That's a good guide for adjusting the seat. You don't want the seat too high or too low. You'll need to play with it until you get the correct feel in the lats.
  • Second, as shown in the animation, it's important to keep your chest in contact with the front pad for as long as you can during the movement. Failure to do so will encourage other muscles to assist in the training load. That may be what you're experiencing in the traps.

Lastly, some seated row machines have a handle that would allow you vary the grip. If yours has multiple grips, I would suggest you try that.

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If you want to target the lats specifically, try switching to pulldowns instead of rows. Rows are more of a compound exercise whereas pulldowns, especially wide grip, will target the lats. You can also try wide grip pullups for the same effect.

If you're simply going for aesthetics, this should be fine, but realize that you may end up causing muscle imbalances that can cause posture and other health problems down the road. It's always a good idea to choose compound exercises in order to make sure all the muscles are exercised to avoid injury.

My suggestion would be to stick with the rows, but add the pulldowns to target the specific muscles you want. Don't neglect your chest either - exercise both the pull and push muscles to avoid back problems.

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  • try to keep your shoulders down and not contraction the shoulder blades
  • keep your elbows close to the body
  • try to find a grip where you 'feel' that the movement is targeting the muscles you want to work on
  • focus on the muscles you train
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