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Seated Row - Proper Technique

When performing the seated row, is it correct form to lean the torso all the way forward during the eccentric portion, or does the torso remain fully erect during both the contraction and extension phase?

Take a look at Ian King’s article “Row to Grow-A Closer Look at the Seated Row”

http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=460361

[quote]Lorne wrote:
When performing the seated row, is it correct form to lean the torso all the way forward during the eccentric portion, or does the torso remain fully erect during both the contraction and extension phase? [/quote]

Some movement is ok. The goal is NOT to lean all of the way forward and then all of the way back. I hate even writing down how to do it because it needs to be seen. The first movement in the chain should be pulling your shoulders back, squeezing your back muscles, then following through with your biceps and you pull the weight inward.

Leaning forward a little when using heavier weight is fine on the negative portion of the movement but most people don’t even seem to be working their backs at all. When you are done with rows, you should feel it in your back…not simply have fatigued biceps.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
When you are done with rows, you should feel it in your back…not simply have fatigued biceps.[/quote]

This is why I don’t do them anymore. I don’t feel that I work the back properly with the seated row, whereas I get a tremendous pump in my biceps. I feel it is much easier to work the back muscles properly with a barbell, dumbbell or (especially) a T-bar.

I feel that the best way to hit the rhomboids/mid traps is either with a lighter barbell rowing to the mid torso (torso bent over almost parallel to the floor) or doing the rear delt raise lying prone on a bench.

[quote]max manus wrote:
Professor X wrote:
When you are done with rows, you should feel it in your back…not simply have fatigued biceps.

This is why I don’t do them anymore. I don’t feel that I work the back properly with the seated row, whereas I get a tremendous pump in my biceps. I feel it is much easier to work the back muscles properly with a barbell, dumbbell or (especially) a T-bar.

I feel that the best way to hit the rhomboids/mid traps is either with a lighter barbell rowing to the mid torso (torso bent over almost parallel to the floor) or doing the rear delt raise lying prone on a bench.[/quote]

If you have access to the Hammer Strength row machine, try that and see how it feels. I quit doing the cable version after I gained access to these machines. The wider grip helps as well.

The guy who taught me how to do them when I was first starting gave me the following trick for feeling it in your back instead of your biceps.

He said that in the course of pulling my shoulders back, I should shrug them up and back, so that they follow a semicircular path. This helps me to really focus on pushing my scapula back towards each other.

I like the seated row a lot better than the t bar because nothing hits me in the balls when I do seated rows.

[quote]fightingtiger wrote:

I like the seated row a lot better than the t bar because nothing hits me in the balls when I do seated rows.[/quote]

That’s the fun part.

Yeah, but those fuckers hang so low, the entire ROM is like falling on a rail.

I sometimes use the straight bar used for pulldowns on the seated row, that way I get the wider grip and hit the back differently.

I imagine that ropes are attached to my elbows pulling them back. Also I leave out my thumb and hook my fingers around the handles (never tried using ropes on this). You can do this with other back exercises. This helps me isolate the lats by taking the work off the arms.

I can’t do as much weight but I use this for most of the set then use everything I got on last few reps. This works good on a back and biceps day because you save strength for a better biceps workout.

Yeah, I use the parallel handles with the closer grip and I use a “false grip” so I think it keeps my biceps out of the motion some.

[quote]fightingtiger wrote:
Yeah, I use the parallel handles with the closer grip and I use a “false grip” so I think it keeps my biceps out of the motion some.[/quote]

I love these they always seem to work my back great. I do them the way Arnold does em if you’ve seen his book or Pumping Iron. This give me a great range of motion.

I lean forward quite a bit, and get a good stretch. Then I pull back to 90 degrees, stick my chest out and squeeze my shoulder blades together. Because my arms are long and my leg aren’t, on most machines I have to get up on my toes to get that stretch in my lats.

[quote]Hagar wrote:
fightingtiger wrote:
Yeah, I use the parallel handles with the closer grip and I use a “false grip” so I think it keeps my biceps out of the motion some.

I love these they always seem to work my back great. I do them the way Arnold does em if you’ve seen his book or Pumping Iron. This give me a great range of motion.

I lean forward quite a bit, and get a good stretch. Then I pull back to 90 degrees, stick my chest out and squeeze my shoulder blades together. Because my arms are long and my leg aren’t, on most machines I have to get up on my toes to get that stretch in my lats.[/quote]

I do them like Arnold did in PI except without so much forward lean.

The people I see bitching about keeping your back perfectly tight with no forward lean are also the ones that can never do more than 140 lbs and never seem to actually grow, while the big guys all seem to be a little looser with their form.

[quote]fightingtiger wrote:
Hagar wrote:
fightingtiger wrote:

I do them like Arnold did in PI except without so much forward lean.

The people I see bitching about keeping your back perfectly tight with no forward lean are also the ones that can never do more than 140 lbs and never seem to actually grow, while the big guys all seem to be a little looser with their form.[/quote]

Ya I noticed this also. Your right I never see big guys doing these without lean., and I notice a lot of big guys are loose with there form. Just look at Ronnie Coleman. I’ve tried it with no forward lean but it never felt it that great in my lats. I’d rather do T-bar rows or barbell rows. They work better for me.

When starting out I think strict form is very important because it teaches you to feel the muscle working. Thats not to say there’s no place for both strict and loose forms. I use both to keep the muscle from adapting. A heavier set with loose form works good at packing on the muscle gains. But I only get shit from others when I cheat on my reps. In fact it happened yesterday when working calves. This guy said I was going throw my back out. Granted he’s won many bodybuilding shows but I know my body and my back can take it.

[quote]Hagar wrote:
fightingtiger wrote:
Hagar wrote:
fightingtiger wrote:

I do them like Arnold did in PI except without so much forward lean.

The people I see bitching about keeping your back perfectly tight with no forward lean are also the ones that can never do more than 140 lbs and never seem to actually grow, while the big guys all seem to be a little looser with their form.

Ya I noticed this also. Your right I never see big guys doing these without lean., and I notice a lot of big guys are loose with there form. Just look at Ronnie Coleman. I’ve tried it with no forward lean but it never felt it that great in my lats. I’d rather do T-bar rows or barbell rows. They work better for me.

When starting out I think strict form is very important because it teaches you to feel the muscle working. Thats not to say there’s no place for both strict and loose forms. I use both to keep the muscle from adapting. A heavier set with loose form works good at packing on the muscle gains. But I only get shit from others when I cheat on my reps. In fact it happened yesterday when working calves. This guy said I was going throw my back out. Granted he’s won many bodybuilding shows but I know my body and my back can take it. [/quote]

The thing is, leaning forward is actually “proper form”…if you look in any old bodybuilding exercise handbook, youre supposed to lean forward a little…I dont know where this whole stiff as a board thing came from, but I think its kind of like trying to make an isolation movement out of a compound one…not saying that isolation movements are wrong in any way…just that why use less weight on a compound movement by trying to keep yourself stiff as a board? I feel like that kind of defeats the purpose.

[quote]fightingtiger wrote:
I feel like that kind of defeats the purpose.[/quote]

It does, but likewise, most beginners have no clue just how much “good cheating” to throw into a workout unless they are training with someone else more experienced. This is why you see those people on lat pull down machines going back so far their back is parallel to the ground or even further. Most people should be able to figure it out on their own after shown basic form. Unfortunately, we still get tons of people who are skinny as hell critiquing some gigantic bodybuilder as if they gained that last 80lbs of muscle mass by accident.

[quote]fightingtiger wrote:
Hagar wrote:
fightingtiger wrote:
Hagar wrote:
fightingtiger wrote:

The thing is, leaning forward is actually “proper form”…if you look in any old bodybuilding exercise handbook, youre supposed to lean forward a little…I dont know where this whole stiff as a board thing came from, but I think its kind of like trying to make an isolation movement out of a compound one…not saying that isolation movements are wrong in any way…just that why use less weight on a compound movement by trying to keep yourself stiff as a board? I feel like that kind of defeats the purpose.[/quote]

The thing is there are all these personal trainers that look like the never touched a weight at my gym telling people that is “proper form”. I also see “slow and controlled movement” being taught as proper form. But I believe fast explosive lifts with or without a controlled negative work better for size and strength.

[quote]Hagar wrote:
<<< The thing is there are all these personal trainers that look like the never touched a weight at my gym telling people that is “proper form”. I also see “slow and controlled movement” being taught as proper form. But I believe fast explosive lifts with or without a controlled negative work better for size and strength. [/quote]

The object of any exercise, at least from a bodybuilding perspective is to put the target muscles under load. As long as it’s done safely there is no “wrong” way and even safety can vary depending on who’s doing it as the Professor has said. The definition of proper form will tend to widen as you get more in touch with your body.

There are some exercises like the big lower body movements that are less forgiving in this regard, but it is rather comical to go into a thread where RC is pushing a literal ton on a leg sled or 800 plus for a double on squats and out come the head cases talking about how a guy with superhumanly strong 40 inch legs and 7 Olympia titles is doing it wrong.

In closing I believe in a controlled negative for size if maybe not so much for strength.

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:

The object of any exercise, at least from a bodybuilding perspective is to put the target muscles under load. As long as it’s done safely there is no “wrong” way and even safety can vary depending on who’s doing it as the Professor has said. The definition of proper form will tend to widen as you get more in touch with your body.
[/quote]

Well said! Judge the results not the form on a particular exercise.

[photo]3751[/photo]

[quote]imbiggert wrote:
Tiribulus wrote:

The object of any exercise, at least from a bodybuilding perspective is to put the target muscles under load. As long as it’s done safely there is no “wrong” way and even safety can vary depending on who’s doing it as the Professor has said. The definition of proper form will tend to widen as you get more in touch with your body.

Well said! Judge the results not the form on a particular exercise.

[photo]3751[/photo]
[/quote]

Quite so, but on the other hand compromising form to the point where the target muscles are no longer doing the work is counterproductive as well. I “cheat” all the time, but I’m also consciously focusing on feeling the muscles I’m after.

BTW, it looks like your low pulley is too low. Mine is too.