T Nation

Seated Row


Wondering what is the correct way to do a seated row. Do you keep your back straight and pull the bar to you or lean forward then in the same motion, sit up and pull the bar to you. Also what is the difference between a wide grip and the two handle grip. Thanks in advance.


Hmmm, 20 peeks but nobody's committing themselves. What the heck, I'll take a stab. My understanding, for what it's worth, is that you try not to lean back and forth but keep the back upright. You're trying to get a rowing motion, not a poor man's deadlift. Also keep head up and back arched.

As for the different widths on grips, those are supposed to work different muscle groups.

Myself, I'll use a close grip (because can use a bit more weight) when I feel like working back for deadlift. I use a wide bar and overhand grip when balancing out bench presses. Recently, I started bent over bar rows for that.


I vary the grip and do my rows very strictly so that I'm working my back rather than letting momentum and other muscles come into play. My visual is to squeeze my shoulder blades together on each pull. I do them paused. Also, I don't wrap my thumbs in order to take some of the bicep out of it.


As above, the full body rowing thing you see everyone doing at the commercial gyms are the guys who look around to see who is watching while they 'row' with 200 or whatever pounds. Turning it into a back extension exercise doesn't help the mid to upper back very much.

You can imitate the heavy barbell row type of motions on a seated row pretty easily, and they are easier on your back, if its an issue. Sitting as upright as you can ( while keeping back arched) the whole time, mimics a Pendlay type row. Leaning back at about a 20-30 degree angle the whole time (again with back arched the whole time) mimics a bent over row motion. I guess you could also do these by staying in the same back position, and varying the height of the pulley.

The width of grip while rowing puts(a bit more) stress on the back in an inverse relationship. Meaning close grip hits the outer/lateral back (Lats, Teres) a bit more than inner, and a wider grip will put a bit more stress on the inner/medial back (rear Delts, Rhomboids and mid-lower Traps) as opposed to the outer. But any row hits all of these in at least some amount.