What muscles does the Seated Row Machine work?

The Seated Row Machine targets your back muscles. Depending on the handles used, you will either put more focus on your upper back (trapezius and rhomboids) or on your mid-back (latissimus dorsi).

If your gym doesn’t have this machine you can do seated cable rows as an alternative.

How to use the Seated Row Machine?

Adjust the seat height and the chest pad position to be comfortable. Your feet need to reach the foot rests, your hands should reach the handles and the pad should support your chest.

Adjust the resistance.

Which handles should you use?

Using the narrow handles (where your palms are facing each other as shown at the beginning of the video) will target the largest back muscle: the latissimus dorsi. I would recommend to use these handles if you’re a beginner or willing to shape your mid-back.

The wide handles will put more focus on your upper back and shoulders.

Grasp the handles, keep your back straight, look forward and brace your core.

Pull the handles towards you whilst keeping your elbows really close to your body (if using the narrow handles). Make sure to squeeze your shoulder blades when bending your elbows.

When extending your arms, stop just before the weight hits on the weight stack.

Video demo

Pro tips

  • Imagine pinching your shoulder blades together when bending your elbows.

  • Close your grip (wrap your thumbs around the handles) for more control.

How to tell if you’re doing it right?

You should be able to pull your elbows as far back as you can. If you shrug your shoulders whilst doing it then you need to reduce the resistance used.