Jackie Wright: Two great inverted row exercises
June 10, 2011
Inverted rows are an excellent method of strengthening your latissimus dorsi (i.e. the wide, superficial muscle of the lower part of your back that extends, adducts, and internally rotates the arm), the deltoids (i.e. the shoulders, anterior/medial/posterior), and the biceps (i.e. the anterior part of the upper arm; major elbow flexors).
Additionally, inverted rows may be a stepping stone enabling the individual to eventually perform assisted or full pull ups. One inverted row exercise will be presented this week and one next week. This week the inverted row will be performed on a Smith Machine and then next week, one on the TRX Suspension System.
Prior to attempting either of these rows, you should be able to safely/effectively/successfully perform high-to-low rows from a multi-gym, seated rows from the Smith Machine bar on a bench or modified inverted rows from the TRX. Progress gradually with impeccable form before attempting to perform either of these two featured inverted row progressions.
As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Smith Machine Inverted Row – Bench
• Begin lying supine on a stable weight training bench positioned below the horizontal bar on a Smith Machine.
• You should make certain that you are lying directly under the bar so that your chest is parallel to the bar and the buttocks and the soles of your feet are on the bench with the knees pointing toward the ceiling in a comfortable position.
• Position the bar at a height where the arms are fully extended at the elbow joint and the head/neck and upper back are not touching the bench but you are not “hanging” from the bar. Place the hands more than shoulder distance apart so that when you row or “pull up” to the bar, your arms will form two 90 degree angles (i.e. knuckles face the ceiling/upper arms are parallel to the floor/forearms are perpendicular to the floor) and you feel no discomfort in the neck or shoulder joints.
• Rotate the shoulders back and down, lift the rib cage up, pull the navel toward the spine and pull up your pelvic floor muscles. All core muscles remain engaged throughout the exercise preventing any compromise of the lumbar spine.
• Initiate the movement from the scapula, pulling both scapula toward the center of your spine, keeping your feet on the bench, as you lift the rest of the body off of the bench, “cracking an egg” between the shoulder blades.
• Row straight up to the bar, almost touching the chest to the bar and then lower the body back toward the bench, fully extending the arms at the elbow joint without locking the joint, maintaining the engagement of the lats throughout (i.e. you should not “drop” out of the row, round your spine or hang from the bar as you return toward the bench).
• Avoid touching the bench with the buttocks until the exercise is completed.
• Perform one-three sets of 8-12 repetitions; to a point of momentary muscle failure by the final two reps of each set, two to three times per week.
Next week, we will highlight the next inverted row exercise from the TRX Suspension System.
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness, LLC. She may be reached at her website at http://www.neversummerfitness.com, her email at NSFGL@comcast.net, her blog at http://www.skyhidailynews.com and her Facebook page at Never Summer Fitness.
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