This exercise provided courtesy of Billy Polson, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
Cable seated rows are a great, safe way to build your lats and traps. For this exercise, you'll max out four times using progressively lighter weights, increasing the burn but also the build in your back muscles.
Back (lats and traps)
Sit at a cable row station holding a double-handle attachment with your elbows tucked in and your arms extended. Ideally you should use the attachment with two soft handle attachments instead of a metal double bar attachment so that you can change your grip width to match your shoulder width. Your back should be flat, your chest out, your abs engaged into your spine, your posture tall, and your legs slightly bent (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, pull the handles in to the abdominal area, squeezing the shoulder blades together as you pull. Imagine you are trying to wrap your elbows around behind your back. Keep your back flat, your abs engaged strong into your spine, and a tall posture as you pull (see Photo 2).
- When you have pulled the handles all the way in to your abdomen, reverse direction and return to the starting position (see Photo 3). Repeat until you reach failure—you cannot smoothly pull the handles in another time using your back muscles—and then drop down to a lighter weight and continue doing rows until you again reach failure with the lighter weights.
- Perform four sets total (such that you have dropped a total of three weight levels and end with a fourth, lightest, set of weights), each time reaching failure before switching weights.