Seated Straight Leg Banded Row
How to Do the Seated Straight Leg Banded Row | In-Depth Guide [VISUAL LEARNERS]
Proper Form, Common Mistakes, & Variations | Home Resistance Training
VIDEO TUTORIALS HEREWRITTEN TUTORIAL + IMAGES BELOW
MAIN MUSCLES WORKED IN Seated Straight Leg Banded Rows
The "lats" as they are affectionately called...lol just kidding - anyway, "lats" is short for Latissimus Dorsi which is the widest muscle of the upper body and the largest muscle of the back .
OTHER MUSCLES WORKED:
- Middle and Lower Traps
- Serratus anterior
- Teres major
- Rear deltoid
WHAT & WHY
BENEFITS OF TRAINING THE lats
Other names for this exercise: Seated Resistance Band Row, Banded Seated Row, Seated Row Band, Seated Row Exercise
WHAT WE'RE DOING TODAY
ALL WE'RE DOING:
In a bent over position, we're going to pull that band to our hips.
WORKIN' OUR BACKSIDE
Sometimes we think of our backside as just the bottom half of us don't we! But today, we're working our OTHER backside- the top half.
The seated straight leg row will work the latissimus dorsi muscle - which translates to “widest back”, it is most commonly called the lat muscle. The lat is shaped a little bit like a wing, and it can pull the arms in close to the body. The exercise is done in a supported position so you can focus on really feeling the lat working. In the movement we are doing today, you will be pulling the upper arm back and in close to the body.
Please note: If you saw the words "widest back" and panicked, let me clarify- you will not get a wide back from these exercises. What you WILL get is more definition in your back along with a healthier walking stride and better posture.
WHY DO WE EVEN CARE?
BIG MUSCLES ARE TYPICALLY IMPORTANT
Bigger isn't always better, but on our bodies, when something is large, it usually means it's either really important, has a lot of different actions it's involved in, is connected to lots of bones and muscles, or all three.
So being that the latissimus dorsi muscle is the largest musce of the entire upper body, it's very important, not only for healthy movement of the shoulder, but also to hold us in an upright position.
CONNECTS WITH A BUNCH OF BONES & MUSCLES
The lat attaches to the spine, the shoulder blade, the pelvis and the arm - it even has a connection to your gluteus maximus - or buttock muscle. That's 5 places!!
Just knowing this tells us something about how important it is to work this muscle.
TEACHES US HOW TO USE THE LAT TO KEEP OUR TORSO DURING ARM MOVEMENTS
Learning how to use the lat to keep the torso still and move the shoulder blade back while you pull your arm back can help prevent future upper back, neck and shoulder pain.
UNLESS YOU'RE A WORKOUT PRO YOU PROBABLY HAVEN'T EXERCISED THIS MUSCLE MUCH
The history that many of us ladies have with exercise, including myself (I only started doing these lat movements about a year ago), is such that we likely haven't done exercises that specifically work this muscle. We've probably done lots of squats. We've probably done some on our knees pushups even though we absolutely hated it. We've probably done some lightweight bicep curls even. But not much back stuff. Not lat stuff.
So, now that we know it's a big important muscle, we can finally give it the attention it deserves and catch it up to speed with the other body parts we HAVE been working on an off for the last twenty years.
EVERYDAY LIFE &
HOW WE USE OUR LATISSIMUS DORSI IN EVERYDAY LIFE
1. PULLING THE ARM DOWN (EXTENSION FROM FLEXION)
- Swimming - it’s called the swimming muscle because it does all 3 motions of the crawl stroke
- Cross country skiing
- Chopping wood
- Golf swing
- Pulling heavy items towards you
- Pulling a door closed
- Pulling weeds
- Hugging someone really hard
2. PUSHING YOUR BODY UP WHILE KEEPING THE ARMS STABLE
- Using crutches
- Pushing down to get out of a chair
- Pushing yourself out of a pool (hands on edge of pool)
3. MOVES AND STABILIZES THE SHOULDER BLADE
- Pulls the shoulder blade down (scapular depression)
- Holds the shoulder blade down to provide a stable base for your arm to work off of
4. HOLDS THE TORSO IN A HEALTHY UPRIGHT POSTURE
5. STABILIZES THE LOW BACK
- When lifting, carrying, heavy arm and leg use
HOW the Seated Straight Leg Banded Row SHAPE OUR BODY
Building the lat muscles contributes to what they call a “V-taper” - it adds to a more hourglass-ish, slim waist appearance.
Confident and healthy upright posture.
This version of the seated row is done with the legs out straight. This allows you to anchor the band around the feet and sit upright. This is a good choice for those with difficulty bending over to do the lat row, ie if you deal with poor balance or stability, lower extremity or core weakness. Using a band allows you to easily adjust the level of difficulty. You can also “preload” the amount of tension - starting with some tension on the band so that the latissimus dorsi will need to work harder. This exercise uses a band and the feet to anchor the band, so it can be done virtually anywhere.
How to Feel What Muscle is Working
Option 1: While standing, take one hand across, and touch near the bra line, just under the armpit. Actively press your shoulders down and elongate the torso/spine up, feel that muscle moving/contracting. That is part of your lat muscle.
If you don’t feel anything you can try it this way:
Option 2: While seated, take one arm across - but just below their breasts, and feel the lat just under the armpit. Take your arm on the side you are activating and push the hand down into the seat of the chair. Like a seated press-up. If your shoulder blade is elevated or in slight protraction you will not be able to get a good lat contraction, so be sure to pull your shoulder blade back and down, THEN push down and in with your upper arm. You will feel a strong lat activation just below your armpit along the side of your body.
PROPER FORM: Seated Straight Leg Banded Row
EQUIPMENT, SETS & REPS
Main set (3: Light/Med/Heavy):
X-Heavy Band (I recommend getting this too if you plan to use resistance bands frequently).
SUGGESTED STARTING WEIGHT FOR WOMEN:
Moderate resistance level band.
SETS & REPS:
2 sets of 8 - must fatigue the muscles.
Moderate pull - with control and back stability, and slower return to the starting position.
BODY POSITION FOR THE Seated Straight Leg Banded Row
Sit on a chair without arms or a bench. Preferably close to the edge of the chair so that you are able to lift the arms up without the chair being in the way. It may be necessary to do one arm at a time if the seat of the chair is too wide.
LEGS: Straight out to the front
FEET: Heels resting on the floor, ttoes off the ground.
BAND: Anchor an elastic band securely around the arch of both feet holding one end in each hand.
HAND/GRIP: Comfortable grip holding one end of the band in each hand, palms facing in (called neutral grip).
BODY STANCE: upright posture - space between the tops of the shoulders and the earlobe, sternum lifted, chest open. You should be able to draw a straight line down through the earlobe, top of shoulder, and hip (from the side).
ARM: Arms by your sides, can be about 8 - 10 inches in front of your hips. The band should be taut.
NECK: Neutral and relaxed throughout the movement.
HOW TO DO
HOW TO DO Seated Straight Leg Banded Rows
CUE: There will be a strong tendency to pull your arms up as they go back (and using your upper traps). Focus on pulling your elbows down as you pull your upper arm back.
Pull your shoulder blades in and down your back and hold them still as you pull your upper arm down and back, leading with the elbows
Continue to pull the upper arm back until your elbows and hands are behind your hips.
Pause and squeeze the lats at the end of the range - think down and back. Return to the starting position and repeat.
HOW TO SAFELY GET OUT OF THE EXERCISE
From the starting position, release the band, and stand up.
WHAT TO AVOID WITH THE Seated Straight Leg Banded Row
Guess what? Good news! Many avoids are the same for most movements. Once you learn the basics, there's really only a few extra avoids for each individual movement.
1. Avoid elbows flaring out
AVOID: Avoid letting the elbows flare outwards from your body as you move them upwards.
- This will cause the back of your shoulder muscle (rear deltoid) to do more of the work and the latissimus dorsi to do less of the work.
WHAT TO DO:
- Pull elbow in close to body.
2. Avoid rounding your upper back or shoulders
AVOID: Avoid rounding your upper back or shoulders
- This can lead to neck, shoulder injury or damage over time and can result in using the wrong muscles (upper trap).
WHAT TO DO:
- Please watch the video clip to see the difference between shoulder blade protraction at the starting position vs. letting the upper back drop too far.
- Check posture and form in mirror
3. Avoid Straightening Or Locking The Knees Of Standing Legs
AVOID: Avoid straightening or locking the knees of standing legs
- This tends to decrease the lumbar curve, pull on the hamstrings and decrease the muscle activity of the legs.
WHAT TO DO:
- The knees should be soft, locking the knees puts stress on the knee joint and can make it more difficult to maintain a neutral spine [n/a seated].
- If you feel pressure or discomfort in the low back or knees - try bending the knees.
4. Avoid rounding/Arching your back
AVOID: Avoid arching(extending) or rounding (flexing) your low back
- Can lead to muscle strain or low back joint injury, it will also decrease the activation of the targeted muscles. Maintain a neutral spine position.
- Pressure or discomfort in your low back.
WHAT TO DO:
- Maintain a neutral spine position to prevent low back joint injury, muscle strain, or damage over time.
- Troubleshooting suggested fixes:
- Poor core strength: activate your abdominal muscles, or do choose a position with more support.
- Poor back extensor strength: choose a position with more support.
5. Avoid Leaning Back
AVOID: Avoid leaning back
- Leaning back increases the stress on your low back.
- If the shoulders are behind the hips then you are leaning back; may also feel low back or hamstring discomfort.
WHAT TO DO:
- Sit up tall and upright.
5. Avoid pulling hands up
AVOID: Avoid pulling arms more upwards
- This will end up working your bicep muscles more and not your lats as well.
WHAT TO DO:
- Keep your hands down towards your hips and think about pulling BACK behind you, rather than up. The elbow can bend to some degree but you should still be more focused on moving back vs. up.
SPIFFILICIOUS FACTS ABOUT MUSCLES & MOVES
The latissimus dorsi is sometimes listed as an accessory breathing muscle. This means that in times of stress, or heavy breathing, it can help to expand the rib cage during breathing in (inspiration).
The broad latissimus dorsi has attachments to the lower 6 thoracic vertebrae, all of the lumbar vertebrae, and the sacrum (triagular bone at the base of the spine) through the thoracolumbar fascia. It also has attachments to the lower 3 or four ribs, the inferior angle of the scapular and the humerus.
Weak lats can cause upper, mid and lower back pain, shoulder pain, even pain down your arm. Tight lats can limit movement of your shoulder blade and your arm, and cause low back and shoulder pain.
ALLLL MUSCLES & WHEN
ALL MUSCLES WORKING & WHEN DURING THE Seated Straight Leg Banded Row
The core (transverse abdominis, quadratus lumborum, obliques, erector spinae, rectus abdominis) muscles are active to maintain a neutral spine and stabilize the body against the resisted movement of the arms.
The scapular retractors and depressors (rhomboids, mid traps and lower traps) initiate the movement by bringing the shoulder blades together and down the back and holding them stable.
The latissimus dorsi, teres major, triceps pull the upper arm back into extension. The latissimus, teres major adduct (moves the arms towards the midline) the arms slightly.
As the arms are lowered back to the starting position the lat, triceps, teres major, and muscles of the shoulder blade, work eccentrically to control the movement against the pull of the resistance band.