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Row, Rows, And Mo’ Rows

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The posterior chain is an amazing machine when you think about it. It has been called the “sit of power” (hence the lower portion of the chain i.e. Hamstring, glutes, lower back region), “origin of power” and many other nicknames.

For guys wanting to bench more, the back is where it’s at! Powerful lat muscles, help improve an otherwise lackluster bench press as do triceps and legs. I want to talk about a well known secret that has eluded many would be “strong guys”, the missing piece to the puzzle and the elusive illusion that allows men to appear larger.

Now enter the row: a very powerful tool that many guys tend to over look, especially newbies to lifting. There are a lot of variations of the row that are beneficial to your back, and honestly I can go on forever…but I’m not, as I am writing this before breakfast finishes cooking. (a lot of care goes into cooking oatmeal pancakes…lol)

We are going to dissect the Barbell Bent Row, my favorite movement and with three hand placements, can really add some size on your frame as well as strength to boot!

Double Overhand (Pronated, palms facing down)

Grab bar a little wider than shoulder width (1nch or so), bend your body at a 90 degree angle (or close as possible to it), chest up and head back, this will force the back into an arch; which is a good arch. Pull the bar to your abdomen and squeeze the lat muscles. Return to start position and execute desired reps/sets.

Gabe’s note: This position allows me to handle more weight and allows me explode more (using momentum to my advantage). Don’t get caught up in your ego, poor form will eventually lead to injury! Work on form, then load the bar.

Underhand Grip ( Supine, Palms facing out)

Same as the DOHand grip, except you are gripping underhanded and here’s the differences. Allows for a greater range of motion. Demands greater form than DOHand grip and doesn’t allow heavier loads. Meaning this is really a good movement as a finisher, to get a deeper burn and really add some definition to your back. There really isn’t much room for momentum here as it will lead to breakdown of form very quickly.

Snatch Grip (Pronated, Palms facing down)

Grab bar outside the ring marking, chest up, head back and torso bent at a 90 degree angle. Pull towards the lower chest/diaphragm area. Some points that you will know noticed about this movement, shorter range of motion (ROM), and taxing on the trap muscles. This is a great movement to add to your arsenal and get some different looks in the gym.

Throw in some lat pull downs, chin ups, and face pulls, you have a recipe for some serious growth. Take what you have learned and apply it to the gym. Hope that helps you guys out!

Sample routine:

  • Barbell Row (DOH): 5×5 (75-85%) aka heavy load
  • BB Row (Snatch-Grip): 4×12 (55-65%)
  • BB Row (Underhand Grip): 2-3×20 (50-60%)
  • Lat Pulldown (wide grip): 3-4 sets of 8-10
  • Lat Pulldown (close -grip): 3-4 sets of 8-10
  • Lat Pulldown (underhand close grip): 3 sets of 8-10

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