Moto Rows

Moto Rows


Execution Cues: 

- Set up a cable pulley at about knee height. This can be done on an adjustable tower or on a seated low row fixed pulley. If done on the latter, it's preferable to use a dual pulley that can freely rotate. 
- Attach a single handle to the pulley. If you are setup on a low row rather than tower, try to use a handle with a longer strap or add a few carabiners.  
- Grab hold of the handle and walk back about 6-8 feet to clear room for the range of motion. 
- While holding the handle, slowly crouch down and assume a quasi-quadruped position with both knees on the ground, the off-arm supporting either on the ground or (preferably) up on a bench/box to create more stability, and the working arm holding onto the loaded cable. 
- Take time to gather yourself and ensure you're in a stable position with your working arm outstretched above your shoulders. Knees and hips should be at roughly 90º of flexion. Your pelvis and neck should be neutral. The base position should resemble a rotated single arm cable pulldown. 
- Once a comfortable center of mass has been established (whether with off-arm up or on the floor), begin the concentric by deliberately flexing the elbow and extending the shoulder of the working arm. The elbow path should stay tight to the midline. The rest of the body should be rigid. 
- As you continue through the pull, make a conscious effort to keep your working scapula a bit more protracted than typical to encourage more isolated lat involvement. It should feel like your "scraping the floor" with your elbow as you pull. 
- The terminal point of the concentric is reached when any additional shoulder extension would result in ancillary muscles outside of the lats becoming the primary movers. This is a subjective marker but will typically be marked by the inability to maintain that slight protraction mentioned above. Do not try to continue the concentric beyond this point if your intent is purely lat-bias.  
- There should still be little to no movement in the rest of the body outside of the working arm. Once the concentric ROM has been exhausted, slowly reverse the motion and control the eccentric by resisting shoulder flexion using the lats. 
- Once the motion has returned back to the original quasi-quadruped position with the working arm in full extension and overhead, the rep is complete. 



- Poor Shoulder Mobility
- Poor Proprioception/Body Awareness


- Single Arm Half Kneeling Pulldowns
- Single Arm Cable Pulldowns
- Single Arm Neutral Machine Pulldowns
- Band Moto Rows 


- Quadruped Moto Rows
- Single Arm Braced High Cable Rows
- Single Arm Dante Rows

Volume Parameters:

- Up to 4 sets per session
- Up to 10 sets per training week
- 8-20 rep range

Applicable Intensity Techniques:

- Supersets (specifically when combined with a heavier, power-based unilateral row)
- Cluster sets
- Rest Pause

Programming Considerations:

Effectively combining different aspects of training is never an easy feat. 

All too often, the intention is sound but the execution misses the mark wildly; with the product yielding suboptimal results across the spectrum rather than a combinatory effect. 

In this way, phasic periodization has made a name for itself through selectively focusing on improving one training quality at a time. And though this is boring and not entirely efficient, the logic is sound and time-tested. Breaking up a macro goal into medium-term goals is honestly a pretty safe way to guarantee achievement provided the planning and execution are solid. 

But not everyone wants to wait for a procession of 3-4 month-long mesocycles just to see a payoff. I certainly am not that patient—so more often than not, concessions have to be made in the way of optimizing success rate for a more aggressive approach that aims to improve on multiple qualities at the same time.

There are very few, if any, entrenched playbooks for these hybrid approaches, and data-based decision making will typically give way to more subjective modulation. In other words, you'll need to have a good feel for how to auto-regulate your training if you want to favor efficiency over assuredness. Other than your macro goal, nothing should be off-limits to modification if new information deems a pivot necessary to stay on track. 

I'm saying all of this to express just how challenging it is to chase multiple goals within fitness at the same time. Whether it's muscle gain+fat loss, strength+work capacity, or (as is our case with this week's training) hypertrophy+injury rehab/prevention, something will have to give on both sides in order to make the consolidation work. The key is for the resulting sum to outweigh the necessary trade-offs—a calculated tug-of-war that is not always guaranteed to go the way we intend. Ironically, one of the best ways to actually put your thumb on the scales of success is to go into the program design with the understanding that optimality is intrinsically unachievable. Starting from this assumption and working backwards allows us to more effectively weigh the options/decisions to get to a place within our program design that manages expectations, realizes limitations and capitalizes on areas of overlap. 

Within the Moto Row, we are presented with an immediate conundrum—neither hypertrophy OR injury prevention/management is being optimized. If we were aiming for strictly lat stimulus, something like a single arm machine pulldown would be a much better option. Conversely if we just wanted to control for low back risk through trunk stability work, we would be better served with birddogs or even a plank variation. But this takes us back to our initial problem...

Is it a better idea to aim for independent optimization? Should we focus on one fitness quality at a time? 

Or should we attempt to hybridize the goals with the understanding that neither will be perfect? 

Ultimately, these are questions that every trainee must seek to answer.

Primary Use Case:

- Hypertrophy of the Lats
- Improved Proprioception
- Increased Trunk Stability

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