Feel the squeeze

Feel the squeeze

A seated cable row is a deceivingly simple exercise, and seems almost impossible to get wrong. I mean, what’s so hard about sitting in a machine and pulling a handle back and forth? The problem is that the majority of people do not realise there is a more effective way of performing this exercise.

Purpose: The seated cable row is probably my all-time favourite back exercise, except for chin ups. I have always liked it because I feel my back muscles working better than any other exercise. A seated row will work your latissimus dorsi, trapezius and biceps.

The problem with this exercise is that it is very easy to stick the pin at a weight that is too easy and throw back 10 reps with a limited range of motion. I want you to stifle your ego and cut back the weight. Feel your back muscles working and don’t let your arms take over.

Don't do this!


Set-up: Most gyms have a low pulley row machine, which you can attach a V handle to. (For those who don’t have this machine, just attach two separate D handles to a low cable machine.) Place your feet on the support platform with your knees slightly bent. Lean forward with a straight back and fully extended arms to grip the handle.

Execution: When most people perform this exercise, they sit perfectly straight and just let their arms move back and forth. The problem with performing it the textbook way is that the only thing getting a workout is your arms.

You actually need to lean forward to move the weight from the starting position, and you want to lean back slightly with a small arch in your back as you pull the V handle towards your waist. Make sure you pull the cable all the way in to your stomach and squeeze your back muscles hard. Hold for one second before slowly returning to the original position. With each rep, pull your shoulders back, keep your chest up and keep your elbows tucked close to your sides.

More like this!


Even though I want you to lean forward and back with the weight, it should be controlled and not a swinging motion. One of the advantages of using a cable is that it allows you to maintain constant pressure on your back muscles throughout the movement.

Feel the squeeze upper body workout:

What is your favourite back exercise?

PS. I’m very excited to announce I will be hosting my first ever giveaway next week, and another very special one just a few weeks later!

PPS. A shout out to my girl Sable who is competing in her first ever comp this weekend! Good luck and we are all rooting for you 🙂

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