Although I adapt pretty well to most exercises I try or practice, I have to admit that pull-ups have always been my area of weakness. Usually I am able to do 2-4 pull-ups at a time (shamefully…) but I know it’s very important to balance out all parts of your body to fully reach your body shape/health goals. So lately I’ve been trying an exercise that has really been helping me work on my upper body strength, as well as giving me more strength to do more pull-ups.
The type of exercise is more properly referred to as “Inverted Rows”. It’s an easier alternative to pull-ups where it slowly prepares and builds your body strength to be able to eventually do pull-ups with more ease. It helps develop your upper-body strength by using your own body weight to pull yourself up. Inverted Rows are going to focus primarily on strengthening your arms, your shoulders, your chest, and even tap into your muscles in the center of your back when you squeeze your shoulder blades together. I’ve also felt it working on my abs, glutes, and lower back muscles but that’s a secondary focus from this type of exercise.
During the exercise you’re mainly using your arms and shoulders to pull your body up, and the part that makes it easier for me is that your legs are resting against the end of the bar so you are not pulling your entire body weight. It’s much easier than doing regular pull-ups with your legs hanging down. I started out with 2 sets of 12 reps once a week, then increased to about 3-4 sets of 15 reps once or twice a week. It’s whatever you feel comfortable with when you start. Started including this routine in my workouts as of two months ago and it has helped me build enough strength to be able to increase the amount of pull-ups I do compared to before. Baby steps…lol.
Just climb up the machine and position your legs at either side of the backrest. Hang from the bar with your arms fully extended shoulder width apart, and tighten your abs and buttocks. Make sure arms are fully extended shoulder width apart, and pull yourself up until you nearly touch the bar. Come back down making sure you are controlling your body as not to drop your back. Repeat the amount of times necessary to finish according to your work-out program.
Some machines at your local fitness centers may not have the proper leg room to this exercise as performed in my video as this machine is not specifically for Inverted Rows. The same type of exercise can also be performed using the TRX Suspender Training Straps at your local fitness center where you rest your feet on the ground, or other specific machines made for this exercise. You may want to check with your local fitness advisors.
I heard this exercise works even better when you use TRX Suspension Trainer/rings which is what I will be trying next. I will update you on the results of this as well.