One of the best parts of building muscle is that you have to row to grow. You may have heard this before, but it bears repeating because too many lifters always focus on the mirror muscles. Training the posterior deltoids, upper back, and lats should be a priority when muscle and strength are your goals. And when isn’t it?
But this is not enough because it must also be done well. One trap that some lifers with rows fall into is too much body English. A little body English is okay, but when it’s overdone in the name of being overweight, some of the benefits of bodybuilding and strength are lost.
Also, some may avoid rowing when lower back discomfort is a problem, and the solution to both problems is the row of seals.
With the seal row, you lie on a weight bench and perform a horizontal row, which does two things.
- This relieves the lower back of stress.
- It limits momentum when lifting.
WHAT IS THE GASKET LINE?
You might be wondering why it’s called the row of seals. This is because when you are heavy, your legs kick up and down behind you like a seal. The row of seals has you lying on a weight bench with your upper body on the bench and your leg off the bench. Then you row the bar using your upper back, lats and biceps.
HOW TO MAKE THE SEAL ROW
- Lie on a weight bench with your head at one end and your legs straight at the other.
- Squeeze your glutes to flatten your lower back.
- Grab the bar with a wide, overhand grip and your elbows flare out.
- Begin rowing toward the bench until your shoulder blades are tight or the bar touches the weight bench.
- Pause for a moment, then slowly lower until the plates touch the ground. Reset, then repeat.
TRAINED SEAL ROW MUSCLES
The beauty of the row of seals is that it takes the lower body and momentum out of the equation to focus on the upper body. Here are the main muscles worked by the row of seals.
- Upper back: The rhomboids and trapezius assist in the adduction and abduction of the scapula.
- lats: Your lats pull via shoulder extension, especially when you row the barbell back to the weight bench.
- Posterior deltoids: Your shoulders assist the lats with shoulder extension.
- Biceps: You also work the arms via elbow flexion, as your biceps help the lats and upper back to row and lower the bar.
- Glutes: To stay in a good lifting pattern, your glutes should be contracted isometrically throughout the movement.
3 ADVANTAGES OF THE GASKET ROW
- Get in better shape with your Big 3 Lifts: The upper back plays a vital role in maintaining a neutral spine during squats and deadlifts. It keeps the barbell squat from turning into a hello and keeps it close to you when lifting weights. Additionally, keeping your upper back engaged during a bench press provides a better pressure path for better form.
- Easy on the lower back: Most of the time, rows of seals take the strain off your lower back and allow you to focus on your upper back and lats as the bench supports you. The Seal row is a great variation if your lower back bothers you with regular bent rows.
- More flexible calling: You are in a proper horizontal position to optimally target your hard and heavy back and mid back muscles. Lying down takes all the momentum away to isolate your upper back and lats.
3 COMMON SEAL ROW MISTAKES
To get the most out of the Seal Row, avoid these common mistakes, which will take away the benefits of this exercise.
- Pay attention to your configuration: The weight bench being parallel and high enough to fully extend your elbows is essential. If you need to use weight plates to elevate the bench, make sure the bench is properly secured to them. Make sure there’s no sideways wobble, because falling off the bench is a surefire way to end up in a silly video.
- Watch your elbows: Many row variations require a 45 degree angle between your elbow and torso, but not with the Seal row. It is essential to have the elbows flared, parallel to the shoulders, to focus on the upper back and shoulders and less on the lats.
- Do not move : Your head and chest tend to come off the bench, which extends your lower back. It’s a no-no because the beauty of the row of seals is taking the lower back out of it. Making this mistake adds momentum and removes focus from the upper back muscles.
SEAL ROW PROGRAMMING SUGGESTIONS
The seal row is a great exercise if you want to add variety to your rows or if your lower back is turning the bird on you, and you still want gains. The Seal row is not a technical exercise; almost anyone can do it. The Seal row is for you if you can lie comfortably on your stomach without compensation.
Because generating momentum is difficult, lighten the weight until you find a good technique.
You can use this as the main row variation on upper body days or as an accessory exercise on lower body days to improve upper back strength for Big 3 or Olympic lifts. Here are some general sets and rep suggestions for muscle and strength.
- For hypertrophy: Perform three to five sets of 8 to 15 reps.
- For strength: Do three to five sets of 4 to 6 reps.
Example of hypertrophy:
- 1A. Seal Row: 10-12 reps
- 1B. Refuse push-ups: 15 to 25 reps
Example of strength
1A. Seal Row: 4 reps
1B. Bench Bird Dog: Ten reps on each side
Top 3 Joint Row Variations
Although it has many benefits, the seal row is not an exercise that everyone can or should add to their routine. Some people may not be able to perform it in your gym due to equipment issues. But that doesn’t mean you should miss out on the benefits of grout row. Three are other similar style alternatives to the row of seals, which will help you build your back