Studying the thrust of the horizontal block – we train the lats with high quality

ByJoe Louis

May 31, 2021
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In addition to heavy basic back exercises, there are a number of formative exercises that allow you to target specific muscle groups. For the development of the broadest muscles or wings, a horizontal block pull (another name for this pull is frontal) is perfect.

The meaning of the exercise and muscle work

The horizontal row in the block machine is one of the must-have exercises on the day when you train your back. Thanks to the variation of the grip, you can pump your lats from all sides. This is great when you’ve already built up some mass with basic exercises and want to shape your muscles.

During the exercise, work:

  • The latissimus muscles – they carry the bulk of the load.
  • The biceps – helps to pull the weight by bending your elbows.
  • The extensor muscles of the spine, which are responsible for straightening the back .
  • In addition, the trapezius muscles, large round, rhomboid, and posterior deltas are included.

If the exercise is done incorrectly, the biceps or lower back will work, and the lats will tighten in the last queue. Therefore, pay special attention to technique.


Seated block row to the waist, also known as rowing row, is performed in a special block trainer. Usually the machine has a bottom and top block. The upper one can be pulled behind the head or to the chest, and we will pull the lower one to the belt.

Do not confuse, the barbell pull to the belt and the horizontal block pull are different things. The first exercise is basic mass-gaining. The second is more formative, it is done while sitting.

So, let’s start doing the exercise:

  1. Set the desired weight (for men – 10 kg, for women – 5). Now we will do a warm-up with light weights.
  2. We rest our feet on special supports, bend them at the knees, find a comfortable position (it can be from small to 90 degrees). We keep our back straight, there is a natural deflection in the lower back.
  3. Stretch our arms forward and grasp the pre-installed handle.
  4. Pull the weight towards ourselves until the body assumes a perpendicular position to the floor. From this point we start doing reps.
  5. Straighten your shoulders, bringing your shoulder blades together, pull the handle towards your stomach. You should feel the load in your back, not your biceps. We’ll come back to this later.
  6. When the handle touches the belt, hold this position for 1 second. In this position, you have your shoulder blades as close as possible.
  7. Then release the weight back. In the classical technique, the body remains stationary. If you perform the exercise by tilting the body forward following the weight, then you should not bend over too much and round your back. Even if the tiles on the treadmill are not completely down. During the entire exercise, the deflection in the lower back is maintained, and the shoulder blades remain pressed. The difference between the two techniques is described below.

Техника тяги горизонтального блока

When, during the exercise, you tilt your body forward while lowering the weight, and then pull it back again during the next lift, you force the back extensors to contract. … These are long muscles that run along the spine. The broadest muscles (namely, the exercise was originally intended for their development) are responsible for bringing the arms to the body. That is, the lats work exactly when you pull your elbows back.

Therefore, if your goal is actually the broadest, fix the body in one position and work exclusively with your hands, without leaning forward following the weight. If you want to force your entire back to work, leaning forward will help you stretch your muscles better for the next rep. But remember that in this case there will be a risk of injury to the lower back.

Do 10-12 repetitions in 3-4 approaches with a working weight.

How to choose a working weight

To correctly choose the weight with which your back muscles will grow, you need to listen carefully to yourself during exercise:

  1. Take a light weight, do 4-5 reps with it. Add 5 kg, do 1-2 times. Add pancakes to the simulator in this way until you feel the load. If the load is felt, but still light, go to the 2.5 kg step.
  2. Now do 12 repetitions. If you cannot, rest for 3-4 minutes so that you can again adequately assess the weights. Taking a short break will prevent your muscles from restoring their energy reserves, and you will misinterpret your sensations.
  3. When you feel that your weight is normal, work. In the next workouts, add 2.5 kg each, guided by your feelings. And do not expect quick results, muscles grow slowly – be patient. Your perseverance will be rewarded.

Major mistakes

The horizontal row in the block trainer, if performed incorrectly, will turn from a useful and effective exercise into a harmful and even dangerous. Violating the technique, you risk tearing your back muscles, getting lumbar osteochondrosis, pulling your biceps.

The technique was developed taking into account physiology and anatomy in order to minimize the risk of injury and pump muscles.

  • The back is round. The horizontal row in the block machine implies static tension of the back extensor muscles. In a straightened position, the back does not receive a critical traumatic load, and in a rounded state, the lower back suffers greatly.
  • Looking down. You need to look forward so that the spine is in the right condition.
  • We pull the weight with our hands. There are special exercises for biceps, why swing them here? Pull the weight with your back. To do this, we first pull by bringing the shoulder blades together. We bring them as much as possible, all the way. Then we bring the weight with our hands. Thus, starting from the back, you will eliminate the prevalence of biceps in this exercise.
  • Excessive forward bends. You don’t need to work your lower back, moving like a pendulum. The deadlift of the horizontal block is not done with the lower back, but with the lats.
  • Jerks. Remember to do the exercise slowly and thoughtfully. Feel every movement, listen to which muscles are working. After all, who, if not you, will do this? No one else can besides you.
  • Pushing off the rests with your feet during exercise is not a good idea. Because this is natural cheating. And a waste of energy. The weight is distributed between the muscles of the trunk, and the back does not work.

Выполнение горизонтальной тяги

Exercise options

You can pull the weight to different places with a narrow and wide grip, using different handles.

Grip Features

The classic gym offers us 3 handle options that allow us to pull weights with three grips:

  1. Narrow Grip Rows with palms facing each other. In this case, the middle part of the broadest muscles works.
  2. Row with a wide grip, palms inward. This grip allows you to pump your upper lats.
  3. The curved bar, designed to pull the upper pulley, allows you to engage the outside of your lats by holding on to a wide grip.

Pulls in different directions

Pulls of the lower block to different parts of the body force different parts of the back muscles to work. This feature is useful for creating a personalized contour of your back:

  1. The pull of the lower block to the waist allows you to load the mid-lats. In general, this movement option is standard, it is recommended by most coaches. So, pulling the block to the belt can be one of the exercises in your bottom of the back. Another name for this exercise is the belly pull.
  2. The groin pull allows you to work your lower lats. This is the most difficult exercise, as the bottom is always weaker than the top (judge for yourself by the volume).
  3. Seated Rows are a common option for beginners. Sometimes this can be a sign that you have taken on a lot of weight and cannot complete the exercise, bringing it to the belt. If you pull towards the chest, then you know that the upper part of the lats is swinging more.

Recall that the exercise is done while sitting, not standing. Therefore, most of the muscles are isolated. However, the legs are a little tense to prevent your pelvis from moving with the weight.

Pulling for girls

The triangular back does not look good for girls very beautiful, you see, so when working with this exercise, girls should not chase weights. You just need to tighten the lats, to tone them up. Work on quantity, doing 12-15 reps in three sets. Take your time, let the muscles work smoothly.

You shouldn’t vary with different bars and pull them to different parts of the body. Do the classics – it pumps your lats almost evenly.

When shouldn’t you do deadlifts?

When your lower back hurts, you can do this exercise by wearing a special orthopedic belt. It is necessary to protect the sacro-lumbar spine from unnecessary stress. Let your lats swing and keep your lower back safe.

If your elbows hurt while pulling the lower block, stop doing it. When performing the exercise, the shoulder muscle is connected to the biceps, which can be pulled. It will heal for a long time, causing discomfort only with a significant load.

Тяга широким хватом