This exercise provided courtesy of Mike Clausen, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.
Seated rows develop the entire complex of muscles in the upper back. Success depends on isolating those muscles to perform the row—your lower back would like to arch, and your biceps would love to do all the lifting. Don’t let them.
Back (lats, traps, rhomboids)
Sit straddling a flat bench with its short end facing a cable machine and the cable set at a point level with your chest (and not above). Attach a double handle to the cable. Take one handle in each hand with your thumbs on top and palms facing each other, keeping your elbows low and slightly bent (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, keep your shoulder blades together as you bend your elbows and pull your hands directly back toward your abs. Keep your elbows close to your sides and think of using your pinkie fingers as you draw your elbows back, trying to use your back muscles rather than your biceps. At the limit of your motion, you should feel like you are wrapping your elbows slightly around your back (see Photos 2 and 3).
- Extend your arms forward back to the starting position, keeping your thumbs up and your elbows low as your arms come forward (see Photos 4 and 5).