Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bigger Lats without Lat Pulldowns!

The Recline Pull (also known as "inverted rows") is an excellent bodyweight exercise for those that have difficulty with conventional rowing. This exercise can be a precursor to lat pulldowns, deadlifts,barbell rows, or cable rows.

Positioning:Begin with finding a stable apparatus with a bar, preferrably a smith machine.Position yourself on the floor and move the bar (of the smith) to a height just a bit higher than arm length. Once the bar is locked, begin gripping the bar with a overhand grip (underhand grip is optional). Bring your feet close together for difficulty or keep them shoulder width apart for greater control during the pull action.

The Pull:Once your are positioned, pull your body up. The bar of the smith should be lined up wih your chest. Pull your body (not just your torso) to the bar. A distance of 1-3 inches away from the bar is desireable. During the pull, make sure you control the entire body-from feet to your cervical spine. Any weaknesses in the core are exposed during this exercise. Core weakness is evidenced with a lack of abdominal bracing-whereas the torso falls behind the rest of the body (feet contact & hands) during the up phase. I call this having a "heavy butt" syndrome. Although that is not the case, it is a tell-tale sign of weak glutes, TVA, obliques, psoas, and lower back muscles. General weakness include inability to bring the torso up close to the bar--signs of weak biceps, rhomboids, lats, posterior delts, and traps.

Modifications:Obviously, the distance between your feet and the bar create a longer lever once your torso is lifted off the floor. You can modify this by decreasing the lever and bending your knees. Bringing your knees in closer to your butt will make this exercise less difficult for those not strong enough to maintain good form.

Another modification is changing grips. With a supinated grip, the biceps are called upon and less stress is put on the posterior delts and lats. This grip mixed with the bent knee version make it easiest for beginners.

To make things more difficult, the placement of the feet can change including lifting one foot off the floor and held up or placing your feet on a stabilty ball. The use of the stablility ball as a contact for this exercise adds more stress on the core and calls for more control.

It is highly advised that torso control is mastered FIRST before trying any of these advanced versions. There are numerous other variations of the reclined pull (or inverted row), but these are the more commonly used.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah this is a very versatile bodyweight exercise - lots of good progressions - Thanks for the one with the feet on the stability ball, can't wait to try it -


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