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Breakthrough Fitness

Weekly Workout: Seated Row

Hey everyone, it’s Coach Dom, back with another Weekly Workout. Today, Coach Angelica is going to help me demonstrate how to do the seated row.

If you’re familiar with this blog or our gym, you’ll know that I’m a huge proponent of functional strength, but we do use the rowing machine a lot in our workout routines. Most people don’t think of fitness machines as being great for functional strength, but a strong back and good posture is very functional, and that’s what the seated row gives you.

If you don’t have a rowing machine, barbell rows are a decent replacement, but they can create a lot of strain on your back, which is why we prefer the machine. So let’s dive in and find out how to do the perfect seated row.

Seated Row: Good Form

Start off by getting your form right. Some people try to put a lot of power into this exercise and rock back as they’re pulling. To do the seated row correctly, keep your chest and abdomen against the pad in front of you and lead back with your elbows. This will give you good quality back work.

Exhale as you forcefully pull the handles toward you and inhale as you slowly release them. Keep that control in your arms as you lower the weight.


You might think machines don’t allow you any variation or flexibility, but the rotating handles on a row machine allow you to grip horizontally or vertically, working different areas of your arm.

Our machines also let you do an alternating seated row, pulling each side independently of the other. Another variation on this is to pull the handles back and hold them there for a few seconds. It’s a more intense move that will take your seated row to the next level.

Rise of the Machines

Functional strength is our mission, but machines are not the enemy. There are a lot of great machines out there and we use the row machine daily in our gym. As part of a purposeful workout program, the seated row on a machine can help build back strength, arm muscles, and improve your posture, which is great for any lifestyle.

Stay tuned next week for another Weekly Workout.