Majority of my training is based around compound, multi-joint exercises.
Those that provide the most bang for your buck, so to speak.
Within these, I find the inclusion of body weight exercises (such as pull ups and push ups) extremely beneficial for promoting good quality movement and enhanced trunk stability.
One bodyweight exercise that I don’t believe gets the recognition it deserves is the Inverted Row.
The inverted row is the bodyweight equivalent of a bent over barbell row, but arguably less complex, as it’s easier to maintain a solid neutral spine.
Pretty simply, you lie flat on your back and reach up to a bar (or a TRX), and pull your chest towards the bar.
Why the Inverted Row?
There a few great reasons for incorporating the Inverted row into your training program;
They require minimal equipment – no dumbbells, weights or benches are required. They can be done outside or inside any gym, and they are really easy to set up.
They can be progressed and regressed really easily – you can either increase the height of the bar or TRX, or bend your legs to regress the exercise, or add load to progress the exercise.
The also improve trunk stability – During the inverted row you are required to maintain a neutral spine while, as such it directly works the muscles of the trunk. Maintaining a neutral spine also requires strong glute contraction to keep a neutral pelvic position.
They crush the upper back – As the rowing movement is fairly horizontal, the muscles of the upper back (think romboids, traps rear delts) really drive the movement. These muscles play an important role in maintaining good postural alignment (and are often missed in a lot of other exercises).
They aren’t particularly technical – they are safe to perform, and as such can be performed to failure safely. As such, inverted rows are Ideal to incorporate into your program when training for hypertrophy
Keep the spine neutral. Really squeeze abs and glutes to hold a tight, neutral spinal position.
Keep the chest up tall and really drive the middle of your chest towards the bar (or TRX).
Keep the elbows relatively close to the body. The grip is likely to be closer than that of a bench press.
These should be done on your upper body days, either before any pressing to warm up and activate the muscles around the rotator cuff / shoulder girdle. This will promote greater stability to the shoulder joint during pressing. Or at the end as a way to really fry the muscle of your upper back (for those back gainzzz).
I typically like to aim for 2 sets of 8 (not to failure) if done at the start of a workout, or 3-4 sets of 10-12 when done at the end of a workout.
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