Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredCable
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePull
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
    Biceps, Lats, Shoulders
Target Muscle Group

Upper Back

Upper Back Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Seated Cable Row Instructions

  1. Set the appropriate weight on the weight stack and attach a close-grip bar or V-bar to the seated row machine.
  2. Grasp the bar with a neutral grip (palms facing in).
  3. Keeping your legs slightly bent and your back straight, pull the weight up slightly off the stack. You should be sitting straight upright with your shoulders back. This is the starting position.
  4. Keeping your body in position, pull the handle into your stomach.
  5. Pull your shoulder blades back, squeeze, pause, and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for desired reps.

Seated Cable Row Tips

  • Your back must remain straight at all times. Your torso should be kept still throughout the entire set.
  • Don't let your shoulders hunch over when your arms are extended.
  • Use the back muscles to move the weight - do not lean forward and use momentum to swing the weight back.
  • Pausing and squeezing at the top of the movement for a 1-2 count will increase intensity and results.
Posted on: Wed, 07/26/2023 - 20:08

If my gym doesn't have Seated Cable Row, but has a row machine, can i use that instead?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 07/27/2023 - 07:20

Yes you can, Jay!

Posted on: Sun, 01/01/2023 - 13:04

Hi i was wondering about sets and reps in sets it says 5 minutes in reps it says until it burns should i do it for 5 minutes straight in one go or should i do it until it burns then take a brake and do this for 5 minutes?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Fri, 01/13/2023 - 09:00

Go to failure, rest as quickly as you can, then pick it back up. I would suggest lifting for 45 seconds, resting for 15 as long as you can, then go 30/30 to the end. Hope this helps!

Posted on: Sun, 02/18/2018 - 16:12

What mean : sets:5min

Nicholas Roberts
Posted on: Mon, 03/17/2014 - 08:25

what can i replace the seated row with?

Posted on: Mon, 02/17/2014 - 14:53

I am fairly tall when I do this exercise I only feel it in my biceps? What am I doing wrong? Should I be using the wide grip attachment?

Posted on: Tue, 09/15/2015 - 11:47

You are supposed to start pulling with your shoulders and end up squeezing your back, that should minimize the use of the biceps.

Posted on: Tue, 10/27/2015 - 14:16

This is an exercise demanding great form instead of great weight. It's very common for people to use too much weight which activates the biceps and deactivates the back muscles. Reduce the lb's so you can "flex" your shoulder blades during the pause at the top of the exercise. Also, using two handles or the rope instead of the V-Bar will help flex the shoulder blades. Using lifting straps will help deactivate the biceps but they can be clumsy to use.

chris hamilton
Posted on: Tue, 05/16/2017 - 05:49

use any grip you feel suitable wit, but put your mind to the back and squeeze. try variations of the exercise like with an underhand grip on a wider bar making sure you have your chest out and squeeze your back

Posted on: Sat, 06/22/2013 - 06:49

What's the seated cable row (pre-exhausted) ??? Can u tell me in detail how to perform a pre-exhausted set?

Posted on: Fri, 05/17/2013 - 16:04

for this excersise do you need to be seated on the floor or can you use any rowing type machine in the gym thanks

Posted on: Tue, 05/01/2012 - 12:57

my work gym only has a straight bar will my grip drastically change the outcome of this exercise

Posted on: Sun, 04/22/2012 - 14:18

Hi my gym does not have this equipment what else could I do?

omar abdul ghani
Posted on: Wed, 04/11/2012 - 12:09

what should i play with seated cable row pre-exhaust?

Posted on: Wed, 04/04/2012 - 22:04

Hi I am really new to all of this. I am training for a triathlon and have a great workout schedule for that part. It has been recommended that I do some strength training. Is that what this is? Also how do you know how much weight to use? Thanks.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 04/05/2012 - 08:21

Strength training will only help your performance. Check out this article as a good starting point:


Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2012 - 11:56

I see the demonstrator has his feet against a t-shaped device - in the gym, I use a heavy weight for the same purpose. Now that I am "rowing" with heavier weight, it's getting difficult to maneuver holding the pulling bar with one hand, while I get my legs and feet into position. I've tried scooting my butt back while holding onto the pulling bar, but that doesn't seem to work. Any advice?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 03/19/2012 - 16:05

At that point you'll either have to use barbell or dumbbell rows, or have someone assist you.

Posted on: Tue, 03/13/2012 - 21:13

What can take place of this?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 03/14/2012 - 15:03

Barbell or dumbbell rows.

Posted on: Thu, 09/26/2013 - 13:01

hi, how much can i use for weight when toning at home. i have an issue losing the fatty part around the connection of my arm and shoulder

Posted on: Tue, 03/13/2012 - 02:35

can this be used on the row machine as well?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 03/13/2012 - 09:44