Inverted Rows are a great exercise to build upper back strength and endurance! Training your back is unbelievably important, especially if you spend a significant part of your day sitting at a desk or driving. Because we live in a 'forward dominant' society, many of us tend to have forward-rounded shoulders, tight chests, and head-forward postures. This can lead to headaches, tired and sore neck muscles, and even limited shoulder mobility. Training your back, and particularly your upper back can help balance out strength imbalances between your chest and your back and to mitigate many of the above issues.
Inverted rows are easily adaptable and can be done using rings, a TRX apparatus, or even a barbell on a squat rack. Here are a few tips you will want to keep in mind to make sure this exercise as efficient and effective as possible:
- Wrap your hands around the rings; with your arms straight, you'll want your shoulder blades directly under the straps of the rings.
- Imagine you are doing an inverted plank. Squeeze your bum, tighten your abs, and lock your pelvis to your ribcage. You want to move your whole body as one unit.
- Start this movement by pinching your shoulder blades together, back and down towards your pelvis. You'll want to 'double-chin' yourself to keep your spine long, with your shoulders away from your ears.
- Once your back is engaged, start pulling with your arms, slowly and smoothly until your chest is at the level of the rings/TRX/Barbell. Try to avoid curling your chest up at the top - rather, pull your whole body up as one unit.
- Reverse this movement on the way down. Remember to stay tight at the bottom; don't let your bum droop towards the floor.
In terms of difficulty, the closer you get to standing, the less of your bodyweight you'll be supporting and the easier the exercise will be. On the other hand, the closer you get to the floor, the harder the exercise will be. I usually program these in sets of 5-15, with the progression and reps dependent on the fitness level of my client.
Give this exercise a try, and see how it feels! Happy pulling friends!