Single Arm Braced High Cable Rows:
- Adjust a cable pulley to roughly head height. Attach an individual D handle to the cable and set-up a ~60º incline bench about 6 feet from the base of the stack. The “head” of the bench should be facing the cable. Choose the desired load.
- Grip the D handle firmly and lift the weight off the stack. Carefully backpedal to the same side of the bench as the intended working arm (i.e. right arm-right side of the bench). Place your contralateral knee on the bench seat with your contralateral hand on the raised head of the bench. Take a wide stance with your ipsilateral foot and plant it firmly on the floor.
- Take a moment to find your stability. Your torso position should be relatively upright with the cable pulling your arm at a ~30-45º upward angle. Brace your abs, find a neutral pelvic position, stabilize/level your shoulders using your off arm, and allow the load to pull your working scapula into protraction and elevation. Your wrist should be neutral.
- Begin the concentric by extending your shoulder and flexing your elbow. Aim to pull the handle towards your hip. Keep your abs braced throughout, but allow for subtle trunk lateral flexion.
- Continue this movement of shoulder extension and elbow flexion until you have exhausted the range of motion. The end of the ROM should be marked by the inability to get further shoulder extension. The upper arm will typically end in line with the torso or just further to maximally shorten the lat. The wrist should still be neutral here.
- Once you’ve reached the terminal end of the ROM, slowly and carefully mirror the concentric through the eccentric. Allow the load to pull your shoulder into flexion, elbow into extension, and scapula into elevation
- The rep is over once you’re back in the start position, stable, and your lat is lengthened.
- Once the set is over, carefully remove your knee from the bench and walk the load back to the stack.
Single Arm Seated Low Cable Rows:
- Using a seated low row cable station, attach an individual D handle to the cable. (Note: These can be done seated on the floor as well but I’m going to proceed with breaking down the pre-built seated low row variation)
- Grasp the handle in your working hand, sit on the bench, and place your feet on the foot plates. Maintain a flat, neutral spine with and brace your abs.
- To begin the set, unrack the weight by extending your hips and bear the load with your working arm. Your elbow should be fully extended with your upper arm perpendicular to your torso. Shoulders should be level/symmetrical, abs braced, and scapula protracted. Your hand/wrist should be pronated.
- Take a moment to find your stability. Initiate the rep by extending your shoulder, flexing your elbow, and pulling the handle towards your belly. Your wrist should rotate from pronated to neutral through the concentric. Your shoulder blade should be actively retracting and depressing. Allow for subtle trunk rotation and lateral flexion.
- Continue this movement of shoulder extension and elbow flexion until you have exhausted the range of motion. The end of the ROM should be marked by the inability to get further shoulder extension or scapular retraction. The upper arm will typically end in line with the torso or just further to maximally shorten the lat. The wrist should now be neutral.
- Once you’ve reached this point, slowly, and carefully mirror the concentric through the eccentric and allow the load to pull your shoulder into flexion, elbow into extension, and your scapula into protraction. Your wrist should rotate back to pronated.
- Once the set is over, carefully hinge forward until the weight settles on the stack once again.
- Unilateral, cable row that primarily targets the lats
- Each rely on externally-generated stability
- Both have components of trunk anti-rotation that can act as a limitation or prerequisite
- Mechanical tension/overload in the 8-15 rep range generally will be the most effective for hypertrophy
- Similar intensity techniques can be used though the unilateral nature makes them more challenging (clusters, rest pause, load drops, etc)
- Both are relatively low-skill and low-risk movements
- Each train the lat through intermediate fiber lengths (though the High Rows allow for more lengthening)
- High Rows are predominantly a lat variation while Low Rows involve more mid-back due to the emphasis on scapular retraction.
- Low Rows are unsupported and, thus, more low back intensive compared to the High Rows which have the off-arm bracing and providing stability.
- High Rows can be performed safely with lower reps and higher intensities because of the above.
- High Rows have a larger spacial footprint and a more complex setup/execution.
- High Rows are a vertical/horizontal pull hybrid which leads to greater lat involvement. Low rows are more purely a horizontal row.
- High Rows are more modifiable and adjustable to individual differences compared to the fixed nature of the Low Rows.
- Low Rows are easier to substitute within a program whereas High Rows have a more unique (and challenging to replicate) profile.
Primary Use Case for Single Arm Braced High Cable Rows:
-Hypertrophy of the Lats
Primary Use Case for Single Arm Seated Low Cable Rows:
-Hypertrophy of the Lats, Rhomboids and Mid/Low Traps