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  1. #1
    Registered User prehistoric's Avatar
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    Seated cable row - confusion over proper form

    I've been doing seated cable rows for 4 months, and have received conflicting advice on correct form. Even when I try looking up Youtube videos on correct form, everyone in the comments section is arguing over whether the demonstrator is doing it right or not. Does anyone have a video link which shows someone doing seated cable rows with completely correct form?

    P.S. Because I'm replacing my bent-over rows with close-grip T-bar rows, I'll be using a wide-grip bar for my seated rows instead of the triangle grip.
    Last edited by prehistoric; 09-28-2011 at 01:00 AM.
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  2. #2
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    1. Stretch your lats as best as you can before starting each rep

    2. Don't pull back using your lower back exclusively*

    3. Pull with your elbows and feel the contraction at the end.


    * Some people like using momentum so they can pull more, or more reps, which can be a great idea.

    Perfect form with rows may not be the perfect solution. As on YT, you will get conflicting answers here. As long as number 3 is executed right, the rest is of less importance. Find your form.
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  3. #3
    Registered User ttownrepre's Avatar
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    As like Yates I think it's very important get the full contraction
    (whilst being able to hold the static monumentality) for this exercise since your aiming for lower traps / rear delts.

    The first few reps are good form,
    though if you want more of a detailed description
    you can watch his segment on it here - http://megavideo.com/?v=0DBJW4VF (skip to 1:09:30)
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  4. #4
    Registered User prehistoric's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ttownrepre View Post

    As like Yates I think it's very important get the full contraction
    (whilst being able to hold the static monumentality) for this exercise since your aiming for lower traps / rear delts.

    The first few reps are good form,
    though if you want more of a detailed description
    you can watch his segment on it here - (skip to 1:09:30)
    Thanks so much, the megavideo section was immensely helpful.
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  5. #5
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    How come that lady doesn't pull all the way into her chest?
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    I get the best effect out of cable rows when I focus on fully extending and retracting the scapula. A little forward lean, rearward lean, or upper body movement is okay, but try not to overuse momentum.

    For wide grip (pronated), if you bring the bar back to your chest you'll hit the rear delts more. Bring it to your abdomen, and it will be more of the back musculature. Just depends on what you're trying to achieve.
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  7. #7
    Registered User v8hemi's Avatar
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    If you don't quite make it all the way to your abs towards the end of the set, do you consider those partials?

    Also isn't it better to keep the back completely straight (opposed to the video above where she leans forward and swings back a bit) to prevent any assistance from the lower back?
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    Interesting comments on cable rows here from one of the best trainers, Charles Glass: (about a third of the way into the video)

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/glasscut4.htm
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  10. #10
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    Originally Posted by v8hemi View Post
    If you don't quite make it all the way to your abs towards the end of the set, do you consider those partials?
    I guess, I'd still rather get some partials at the end though, feels good man.

    Originally Posted by v8hemi View Post
    Also isn't it better to keep the back completely straight (opposed to the video above where she leans forward and swings back a bit) to prevent any assistance from the lower back?
    If you want to avoid hurting a sore back or something this'd make sense. Some peopel use thes rowing moves to get some dynamic work for their back sometimes too though right?

    Plus if you lean forward in the hip joint as opposed to the spine, it'd in some ways be using the glutes/hams, but the arms are still working and leaning forward does allot more flexion to occur in the shoulder joint too, to stretch the lats more.

    The lats also somehow help extend the spine, right? I never could figure out how though, difficult to picture. Sounds like one of those complicated chain things like how the upper and lower traps help extend the thoracic spine, lol.
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  11. #11
    I'll Rest When I'm Dead ironwill2008's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by v8hemi View Post
    If you don't quite make it all the way to your abs towards the end of the set, do you consider those partials?
    It depends on what your shoulders are doing; if they're pulled back as far as possible, then where your hands are, in relation to your abs, doesn't make much difference.

    What I always try to concentrate on is to try to make my shoulder blades touch in the middle of my back at the top of each rep. Of course, they can't, but it's that motion that calls the back muscles into play.


    Also isn't it better to keep the back completely straight (opposed to the video above where she leans forward and swings back a bit) to prevent any assistance from the lower back?
    Some movement from the lower back is inevitable; it's best to try to minimize it though, otherwise muscles other than the upper back are taking over at least some of the work.

    I've seen (as probably many others who have been training for a while) some horrendous form used on this exercise, swaying back and forth with all the load being moved by the lower back. An injury looking for a victim.
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  12. #12
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    Originally Posted by ironwill2008 View Post
    It depends on what your shoulders are doing; if they're pulled back as far as possible, then where your hands are, in relation to your abs, doesn't make much difference.
    Difference to what? Maybe not to the rhomboids/traps but it definitely makes a difference for other muscles like the lats, teres major, rear delts, etc if the people pull their elbows all the way back or not.
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    Registered User v8hemi's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Tyciol View Post
    Difference to what? Maybe not to the rhomboids/traps but it definitely makes a difference for other muscles like the lats, teres major, rear delts, etc if the people pull their elbows all the way back or not.
    I think what he meant was it doesn't matter if you row to your abs or not as long as your elbows/shoulder blades are retracted back as far as possible. This was in response to my question about partials.
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  14. #14
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    Either way he says it makes little difference, but it does, for a lot of involved muscles.
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