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The inverted row is a great functional bodyweight exercise to strengthen your back and core. It is also a great move to help progress you to a full pull up or even increase your pull up strength.
The inverted row is an essential exercise for anyone with a desk job as it can help correct poor posture and alleviate and prevent common injuries, aches and pains caused by sitting hunched over a computer screen all day.
No matter your fitness level, you need to do the inverted row if you want a strong, sexy back and less neck and shoulder pain!
Inverted Row Form:
To do the Inverted Row, hold a suspension trainer strap in each hand or use a bar.
Walk your feet out so that you are leaning back. The closer to parallel to the ground you get, the harder the move will be.
Squeeze your core and glutes and press your chest out so there is tension between your shoulder blades. Make sure you don’t shrug your shoulders and that your body is in a nice straight line.
Then row up, keeping your body in that nice straight line.
Row until your chest comes up to the handles and then lower yourself back down. Don’t let your hips sink as you lower back down or your low back arch. Also, keep your chest pressed out the entire time (make sure you don’t round your thoracic spine at the bottom).
Move in a controlled fashion as you keep tension between your shoulder blades the entire time. Make sure you row low and don’t shrug your shoulders at any point.
Do not bounce off the bottom of your row or use momentum to get back up.
Inverted Row Variations:
A great way to build strength and stability in your upper back is to do an inverted row hold. This move is more challenging than it may seem so you may not want to start a little higher up than you normally would.
To do an Inverted Row Hold, hold a suspension trainer strap in each hand or do the move off a bar. Walk your feet out so you are leaning back. The closer to parallel to the ground you get, the harder the move will be. Squeeze your core and glutes and press your chest out so there is tension between your shoulder blades. Then row up, keeping your body in a nice straight line. Row until your chest comes up to the handles and hold there. Do not let your hips sag or your body arch as you hold. Do not start to turn your hands in and rotate your wrists. Keep your hands and wrists in line with your forearms.
Once you advance to parallel on the inverted row, you can move to a decline variation or slow down the tempo.
You can also really work your core by doing unilateral inverted row variations. You can do a rotational or anti-rotational move to challenge your core in different ways.
To do the Single Arm Anti-Rotational Row, place one hand across your chest and grab the strap in the other hand. Set up in a nice straight line, squeezing your quads, glutes and core. Do not let your body rotate. You want to move in a straight line as you row up and down. Pull you arm in toward your chest. Do not shrug your shoulder as you row. Drive the elbow back and pull your hand in toward the bottom of your pec. You should move as if both arms are pulling instead of letting the side not rowing rotate open toward the ground. To advance (or regress this move), change the incline of your body. The closer you get to parallel to the ground, the harder the move gets.
To do a Single Arm Rotational Row, grab one strap in one hand. Walk your feet forward to put your body at an incline. Reach the other hand up the strap as high as you can with the strap in your hand pulled in to your chest. Do not let your shoulder shrug. Then rotate the hand reaching up toward the ground almost as if you are doing a hanging side plank. Keep your body in a straight line and don’t let the hips sag toward the ground. Keeping your core tight, rotate back to the start. Do not shrug your shoulder as you row. Really feel your lat lock down to keep your shoulders from elevating. To advance (or regress this move), change the incline of your body. The closer you get to parallel to the ground, the harder the move gets.
You can also add variety to the inverted row by changing up your grip. Use a narrow grip. Or a wide grip. Or maybe try a neutral grip (palms facing in). Or even a vaulter grip with one palm facing you and one facing away.
All of these variations will help you improve your posture, gain great back strength all while strengthening your core!