Inverted Rows

Posted on: April 20, 2015
Tags: Physical fitness, Specialty training,

Exercise of the Month: Inverted Bodyweight Rows              

By Explosion Trainer, Tom Rabold


I’m a huge fan of compound exercises, and love exercises that don’t require a lot of knowledge and expensive equipment. That’s why I love the inverted bodyweight row and all of its accompanying variations. This exercise is excellent for all fitness levels, and is one of the best exercises to help improve posture. If you’ve been doing just pushups and bench presses, you need to start doing equal work with your back to stay in balance and away from injury.


What is an inverted bodyweight row? It has been referred to as the ‘reverse bench press’ because it is the opposite of a bench press. You grab a bar like you are getting ready to bench-press it, but instead of pushing the weight away, you pull your body up towards the bar. This is great because you get to use your body weight, and there’s no extra stress on your back.


Inverted rows help to strengthen your lats and biceps along with all the stabilizer muscles in between, in particular, the lower and middle traps, and rhomboids. The body needs to be balanced, or equally strong both on the front and back of the body. When the backside of your body is not balanced with the front side of your body, it contributes to a slouched posture, which in turn may cause shoulder pain. The inverted bodyweight row is a fantastic rear deltoid (shoulder) exercise as well, which if strengthened can really improve shoulder health.


Bodyweight rows are easy to setup and perform. Really all you need is a barbell and your body. To perform the exercise, you lie on the ground directly underneath the bar and grab on. Next you lift your butt off the ground by squeezing your glutes and then tighten your abs so that you are now a straight line from head to toe. Now begin the exercise by pulling your chest up as you simultaneously pull your elbows back, and ideally finish the exercise with your elbows even with the side of your ribcage.


That is the basic exercise, but you’re not limited to just that move. You can make the exercise easier by raising your body higher off the floor, or harder by lowering your body closer to the floor. Also, raising your feet up on a bench or chair works great. If you’re really crazy, you can even wear a weighted vest while you do the exercise. The possibilities are endless!!