I don't know whose idea it was to make the Seated Prone Row Bench, but it has quickly become my favorite piece of equipment on the market for its versatility. I use it for my rehab, bodybuilding, and strength-based clients.
If someone asked me what ONE piece of equipment to buy to set their gym apart from competitors, the Seated Prone Row Bench would be it…along with the Safety Squat Bar because of their biomechanical efficiencies and ability to cater to a vast population of clients.
There are some clear benefits with how the lumbar spine is offloaded. Therefore, the Seated Prone Row Bench is an excellent option for those returning from injury or needing a training day in their microcycle designed around spine offloading (maybe after a heavy squat or pull day, for example).
Seated Prone Row Bench Setup
The biggest and most underrated benefit to this setup is how it allows the thoracic spine and ribcage position to be manipulated to target the intended area. It can vary from mid/upper back to different portions of lats depending on the angle of pull (though not my first choice for loading that tissue).
Rear delts are one of the most undervalued muscle groups I cater to when my clients are looking to be strong, aesthetic (if you're a physique athlete, you know how important rear delts are), or healthy/pain-free. With the Seated Prone Row Bench, you'll be in a great position to promote pivot across the shoulder joint and localize tension.
The Back Connection
A couple of months ago, Justin Harris and I were out at the compound, and we talked a lot about back training. Justin will talk about how he had a hard time feeling or connecting with his upper back. I had to nerd out with him and show him how the same position he used for his DC rope rows can also be used to find upper back muscles—the setup through the ribcage is inherently similar.
Sam and I saw his eyes have a "THAT'S how that should feel" moment, which was pretty cool—I wish we filmed this.
I can't overstate how important ribcage position is for back strength, hypertrophy, and health. The simpler the setup, the better because most of us can't find ribcage or thoracic flexion.
The Seated Prone Row Bench piece makes it easy.
Other variations you could do on this would include a Swiss Bar Row, Cambered Bar Row, or some variation of a thoracic extension-based exercise. The inherent stability of the bench and its design should allow you to move where you want to and lockdown where you don't.
Appropriately placed in a training cycle, this might be huge for you, no matter your goals.
Dani is a Doctor of Physical therapy, CSCS, nationally qualified women’s physique competitor, and elite level powerlifter in the 123 class. She's the first to admit she pushes the envelope with training, which uniquely allows her to blend principles of rehab with a love for all things iron. Creativity, relationships, and trust drive her to empower coaches and athletes with tools and education from a PT who understands training demands. She can be reached for remote PT services, consults, and training at Dani@MergePerformancePT.com.