I like exercises that work multiple parts of your body, especially when the back is one of them, and that don't require special, expensive, or only available at the gym equipment. This exercise fits the bill.
How to do an Inverted Row
Lay below a bar (or barbell) or other sturdy piece of equipment, as if you were going to do a bench press. Then, instead of lowering the bar to your chest & pushing it back up, you raise your body to the bar & then lower it back down. That's it - simple, easy, effective.
Beginners - make the bar higher, so your body is closer to a 45 degree angle (just a little closer, you don't want to be vertical for this thing), and the exercise will be much easier.
Experts - start with your body parallel to the floor. If that's too easy, start with your feet elevated off the floor. Still too easy - time to do pull-ups instead.
How to do it:
- Lie on the floor underneath the bar (which should be set just above where you can reach from the ground).
- Grab the bar with an overhand grip (palms facing AWAY from you).
- Contract your abs, and try to keep your body a completely straight line. Your ears, shoulders, hips legs, and feet should all be in a straight line.
- Pull yourself up to the bar until your chest touches the bar.
- Lower yourself back down.
Tips & Tricks:
- Don't let your ass sag (on purpose anyway…maybe you have a saggy ass – not my place to judge).
- Don't flail your elbows. Grab the bar with your hands a little closer than you would if you were doing a bench press, and keep your elbows at that angle from your body.
- Pull the bar towards the middle of your chest. Don't pull the bar up towards your throat, or down towards your belly button. Right in the middle!
- Keep your abs tight. Keep your abs tight throughout the whole routine. Your body should be a straight line the whole time, and the only thing moving is your arms
- Think of pulling your shoulder blades together at the top of the exercise.
- GO all the way. Don't half-ass it. Lower yourself until your arms are completely extended, and raise yourself until your chest touches the bar.
A couple of videos to watch:
Joe DeFranco doing an advanced inverted row (notice his feet are elevated.)
Here's Steve Kamb showing no excuses allowed on this one - no gym? use the kitchen table!
Warning - I am NOT a licensed physical trainer, therapist, nutritionist, or a doctor. I am a regular guy who just happens to love exercise and fitness.
Exercise can be dangerous if done incorrectly or in excess. I can't see you, and you can't see me, to know if you're doing an exercise incorrectly, which could lead to injury.
Please Please Please seek help / advice / counsel from a local professional before starting a new program, or before doing an exercise you're unfamiliar with. This information is intended as a guide to point you in the right direction. If you aren't familiar with the exercises described herein, I highly recommend seeking professional advice before trying them.