Constantly struggle with neck pain? Have tight upper traps and shoulders?
Want a stronger, more toned core? Want to increase the number of pull-ups you can do? (Heck…want to even be able to do one pull up?)
Then its time to add inverted rows to your workout program.
Inverted rows are a great way to work your mid and upper back as well as your core. They can help you correct your posture, which will help relieve pain and injury. And they will help you develop the scapular retraction necessary to perform more pull-ups.
So how do you do a perfect inverted row?
One of the best ways to learn how to do a proper inverted row, is by first performing the Bat Wing or Scapular Wall Hold.
The Bat Wing can be done as an isometric hold and teaches people how to activate their lower and middle traps, which is necessary when performing the inverted row, standing up straighter and/or performing pull ups.
To do the Bat Wing, lean against the wall with only your elbows touching. Press out your chest and pinch your shoulder blades down and back. Squeeze your glutes, core and quads to keep your body in a nice straight line.
You don’t need to walk your feet very far from the wall to feel this move if you are really retracting your shoulder blades.
Hold the move for 30 seconds to 1 minute. As you advance, you may want to walk your feet a bit further out or take the move down to the ground.
Once you activate the muscles in your back using the Bat Wing, you may want to move on to the inverted row.
The inverted row can be done a number of different ways with a number of different grips.
One of my favorite ways to do the inverted row is using TRX or Jungle Gym Straps.
Whatever you use though, the form for an inverted row remains the same.
1. Choose an appropriate incline. The closer to parallel to the ground you get, the harder the row will be. Beginners should start with only a slight incline. Advanced lifters may even want to lift their feet onto a bench as they progress.
2. Keep your body in a nice straight line. Your hips shouldn’t sag toward the ground and your back shouldn’t be super arched. You want to pinch your shoulder blades down and back while squeezing your glutes and drawing your belly button in toward your spine. If you squeeze your glutes and tighten your core, your body will remain straight. Also do not tuck your chin or let your head sag back. You want a nice straight line from your heels to the tip of your head!
3. Do not allow your shoulders to come up by your ears. When you row up, your shoulders should not be up by your ears. If they are, your upper traps are going to get sore and tight from being overactive. You want to use the muscles lower between your shoulder blades to really pull yourself up.
4. Your elbows shouldn’t be up by your ears. While you can use different grips when you row and your elbows don’t have to be directly by your side, they also shouldn’t flare up above your shoulders. You want keep your arms below making a T with your body to really activate the proper muscles in your back.
Once you master the form, you can then play around with inverted row variations.
Try holding the row at the top for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Or try going slowly as you lower yourself down. Count to five before extending completely at the bottom!
What is your favorite way to do inverted rows?
Need help developing or redesigning YOUR workout plan?
Fill out the form below and let us help you this year.
Innovative Results has a variety of killer workouts that keep your mind and your body guessing. Their training is unique and their private gym in Irvine is one of the coolest gyms in Southern California.