This month, Kenneth Mitchell, head trainer at Anytime Fitness, turns the focus to the upper body with the body weight inverted row. To most gym goers, the pull-up is the most commonly known exercise to increase upper body strength, but not everyone can perform a pull-up safely and properly so an alternative is the inverted row.
“The inverted row is a great strength-based exercise as it works your upper body’s posterior chain and can be used as a tool to progress you towards a pull-up,” says Kenneth. “Add the move to the day you work on your back to strengthen your latissimus dorsi, posterior deltoids and scapula muscle groups.”
Inverted rows can be done with a low bar, or even using a broomstick at home, as the move requires you to lie flat and pull your body up, towards the bar. The inverted row is a compound move that strengthens all of the muscles involved in scapular retraction, forcing your body to engage numerous muscles at once as you perform the pull. These same movements are also necessary to complete a pull-up, so as you train with the inverted row, you can soon progress to master the pull-up.
This exercise can be modified until you are able to pull your full body weight to the bar. To make the exercise easier, arrange the bar higher up off the ground or bend your knees and provide extra support with a 90-degree angle in your legs. You can also play around with your grip, making it wider, closer, underhand, and overhand. If you want to make the exercise harder, place your feet on an elevated surface to complete the move.
Follow Kenneth’s guided steps to try this move on your own or visit him at Anytime Fitness, located on Market Street in Camana Bay for more information on strength training.
STEP BY STEP
You’ll need a bar to perform this exercise. Use either a Smith Machine or a squat rack in the gym, or a swing set or a broomstick at home.
Begin by positioning the bar at chest level.
Take a slightly wider than shoulder-width grip on the bar and position yourself hanging underneath the bar.
Your body should be straight with your heels on the ground and your arms fully extended with your quads and glutes engaged. This will be your starting position.
Begin by engaging your shoulder blades together (retract down and back) then by flexing at the elbows, pulling your chest towards the bar. Slightly pausing at the top of the motion, return yourself to the start position.
Repeat for eight to 12 repetitions.
Keep your chest open and breathe in as you pull up, and breathe out as you release back to the starting position. Imagine driving your elbows behind you and squeezing your shoulder blades and try thinking about the whole body firing as one to bring about more stability.