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Muscle Building and Bodybuilding Topics related to muscle building, bodybuilding, including training and fullbody workouts. If you are looking for great advice on gaining muscle this forum is for you.

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Old 06-03-2011, 08:58 AM   #11
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My only advice is second hand from a pro strongman that I know, and is of course only talking about strength...
"Pullups are 100 times beter than pulldowns, weighted pullups are 10 times better than BW only, and chest supported rows are 10 times better than any other row."
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Old 06-03-2011, 10:58 AM   #12
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My only advice is second hand from a pro strongman that I know, and is of course only talking about strength...
"Pullups are 100 times beter than pulldowns, weighted pullups are 10 times better than BW only, and chest supported rows are 10 times better than any other row."
Completely agree. I'd even argue that pullups with a leg on a chair/bench helping you up are preferable to pulldowns. I did the former when my wife and I did P90X, and I really think it was better than even moving the same amount of weight on a pulldown machine.
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Old 06-03-2011, 11:20 AM   #13
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Second, use heavy weight. I am not a fan of mind muscle and that sort of thing. Row/pull as much as you can. Don't worry about slowing things down to feel. Practice the above while moving heavy iron. I am now up to 215 on dumbbell rows and 315 on barbell rows and can still pull using the above style.
If you go heavy enough on rows, you won't NOT be able to use your back -- your arms just won't be strong enough. In the past few months I've started doing heavier dumbbell rows (using the 125lb dumbbells, my gym doesn't have anything heavier). I don't focus on anything, just yanking that b*tch up to my chest level and catching it on the way back down, and let me tell you, my upper back, traps, forearms, and to a lesser extent biceps are TRASHED the next day. And that's only from 2 max effort sets.
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Old 06-03-2011, 12:18 PM   #14
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If you go heavy enough on rows, you won't NOT be able to use your back -- your arms just won't be strong enough.
That's true. Heavy weight invokes contraction for rows and pulls. Just the act of standing (traps and lats), hanging (lats) or bending (lats) and holding the weight engages the lats, as it attempts to hold the arms/shoulders/etc. into place. This contraction, or contracting action is much more intense than anything we could try to create through lighter weight and mind muscle.
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Old 06-05-2011, 09:49 AM   #15
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That's true. Heavy weight invokes contraction for rows and pulls. Just the act of standing (traps and lats), hanging (lats) or bending (lats) and holding the weight engages the lats, as it attempts to hold the arms/shoulders/etc. into place. This contraction, or contracting action is much more intense than anything we could try to create through lighter weight and mind muscle.
Then the question becomes, how much cheeting is acceptable? Legs will begin to take the load for the back involuntarily on heavy rows, unless they are chest supported.
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Old 06-05-2011, 11:07 AM   #16
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Then the question becomes, how much cheeting is acceptable? Legs will begin to take the load for the back involuntarily on heavy rows, unless they are chest supported.
That was always my issues with most back stuff, especially bent over rows. That's why I did the slightly lower weight pulldowns, really emphasising the stretch and the squeeze. It wasn't mind-muscle connection, but rather knowing how it feels to use the back muscles. Now I can use rows and pullups and really feel it all, much better than before.

I know it kind of goes against the ethos of this site, but it worked for me. I didn't have to do it but a few times.
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Old 06-05-2011, 12:15 PM   #17
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Then the question becomes, how much cheeting is acceptable? Legs will begin to take the load for the back involuntarily on heavy rows, unless they are chest supported.
Depends entirely on goals.

Going ultra heavy and heaving the weight has helped quite a few people bring up their pull from the floor, it gives the lower back a good deal of work.

Going light and concentrating on the back muscles also had it's obvious advantages.

What I don't agree with though is if people are rowing while virtually standing up, the so called Yates Row it's turning the lift into a bastardised Shrug. People who do that are just kidding themselves.

Also I don't agree with heaving and cheating the weight up if the goal is a strict contraction of the lats/traps. Again, people who do that are just kidding themselves.
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Old 06-05-2011, 12:31 PM   #18
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Then the question becomes, how much cheeting is acceptable? Legs will begin to take the load for the back involuntarily on heavy rows, unless they are chest supported.
Here's how I do my rows -- my only difference is that I don't go nearly that heavy and I don't use straps:


Since one of my knees is braced on the bench, there's a limited amount that my legs can contribute. They may help in getting the weight moving off the bottom, but my grip, biceps, and upper back do the majority of the work. Rows done in this fashion DO become a full-body exercise to a point, but believe me, your upper back will take the brunt of the beating.
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Old 06-05-2011, 12:49 PM   #19
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Just my 2 cents. My size and strength improved greatly once I overcame the "strict form" only mentality and started hitting my back movements with heavier weights and a different variations. Some of these lifts included Power Shrugs, heaving BB Rows and even Yates Rows from time to time.
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Old 06-05-2011, 01:07 PM   #20
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Then the question becomes, how much cheeting is acceptable? Legs will begin to take the load for the back involuntarily on heavy rows, unless they are chest supported.
I just want to clear this up a bit. I don't cheat. I explode. Some guys do the slow, no explode style row. I don't think that style is of much value. On the other side...a cheating row to me is a row that involves moving the weight with the entire body. I don't do that. I explode using strict form and proper mechanics.

I don't cheat much at all. I explode the weight off the ground. I am still able to hit 215+ Rows. I don't see exploding as cheating. I don't muscle the row up with my legs, or other body parts, but I do explode it with the prime movers of the lift. I am not one of these guys doing one inch cheat rows and calling them rows, no offense meant to anyone...

Here I am:



If I were to cheat, I would be doing 270+ dumbbell rows.

I performed 315x5 barbell rows recently and they were as strict as a nun's sex life. They were also explosive. I don't do the stand up style rows with limited ROM...again, no offense to anyone. Mine are Pendlay from the ground.

What I am against is the mind-muscle connection rows that completely zap the power and explosiveness from the row. I don't think a row has to be devoid of explosiveness to be strict. I feel all my rows, and pull with strict, but explosive mechanics.

Elbows back. Shoulders back. Contract.
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