Many existing reinforced concrete structures were constructed with substandard characteristics. Low quality concrete, poor transverse reinforcement details and insufficient flexural strength are among the most common deficiencies. While substandard structures are in need of retrofitting, particularly in seismic areas, problems such as high costs and disturbance to occupants are major obstacles for retrofit interventions. Fiber reinforced polymers can provide feasible retrofit solutions with minimum disturbance to occupants. In this study, the basic aim is to investigate the flexural seismic performance of substandard reinforced concrete columns retrofitted with embedded longitudinal fiber reinforced polymer reinforcement without increasing the original dimensions of the columns. In the experimental study, the reference and retrofitted columns were tested under constant vertical and reversed cyclic lateral loads. Three different connection methods of aramid fiber reinforced polymer reinforcement to the footing were investigated experimentally. A significant enhancement was obtained in lateral flexural strength through the proposed retrofitting method. Furthermore, it was observed that the cyclic lateral drift capacities of the retrofitted columns were as high as 3%, which can be deemed as quite satisfactory against seismic actions. The comparison of the experimental data with analytical calculations revealed that a conventional design approach assuming composite action between concrete and fiber reinforced polymer reinforcement can be used for flexural retrofit design. Experimental results also demonstrated that strain limit for longitudinal fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) reinforcement should be remarkably lower in case of reversed cyclic loading conditions.