The seated row is considered to be one of the most popular alternatives to the barbell row. Typically performed on a cable machine, the setup up and execution of the movement allows you to target the lats and rhomboids more effectively without stressing the lower back. But what do you do if your gym’s cable machine is out of service/fully taken up/non-existent?
By using a barbell, a power rack and a resistance band. You can fashion your very own seated row “machine”! The use of a resistance band allows you to maintain continuous tension throughout the movement, much like how the cables and pulleys work.
To make the movement more streamlined, I’d recommend putting some light plates on the barbell. Now, the point of adding weight is NOT to make the exercise more challenging. Rather, it is to elevate it off the ground so that you can focus purely on rowing.
Location and equipment courtesy of TripleFit
If additional resistance is required, you can try upgrading to a thicker band or using multiple ones to increase the intensity of the movement. Thanks to the accomodating resistance afforded by the bands, the muscles of the back are forced to work harder at peak contraction, which is often where all the “magic” happens.
Experienced rowers will tell you that merely yanking the weight simply will not do; you need to squeeze it at the top end of the movement and release it under control for rows to work their best. Focusing on the eccentric portion of the exercise is one of the best ways to stimulate new growth, so feel free to apply tempo!
Banded seated barbell rows tend to work best at the tail-end of a workout, after all the major compound movements (deadlifts, rack pulls, chin/pull-ups, etc.) have been done. Finishing with a few sets of high-rep rows will elicit a tremendous pump on your back, flushing the muscle with blood and nutrients.
Alternatively, this seated row variation can also be used to teach beginners the basic upper-body mechanics of rowing. More specifically, you’ll be able to focus on driving the bar back with your elbows as opposed to the hands. Now get rowing and growing!