One of my goals for this year was to be able to perform a pull up on my own. This is not an easy feat! It is very important to grow into this movement gradually as it requires a great deal of upper body strength. I have been working towards developing this ability for the past few months and wanted to share how I started. An inverted row is a great way to begin if you want to perform a pull up or simply desire get stronger using your bodyweight.
Inverted Row Tutorial
Breaking this movement down makes it a lot more accessible and easier to accomplish. It is always about the small steps right? Making strides towards getting stronger in a smart way will help prevent an injury down the road.
The Set Up
To perform an inverted row you are either going to need a barbell or a smith machine. Smith machines are usually found at most commercial gyms in the lifting area. I am using a smith machine in these pictures.
You will want to use an underhand (supinated) grip to perform an inverted row. An underhand grip puts the shoulder in the right position. This is one less thing to worry about! You need to get strong in an underhand position before you consider moving on to an overhand position.
Small considerations such as this will make a world of difference in steadily improving without the worry of potentially getting hurt.
Angle your body below the bar with the elbows straight. Rest on your heels and begin to bring your chest up towards the bar before returning to your start position.
Steps to Activate your Muscles
- Shoulders Back and Down (think about tucking them into your back pockets)
- Core is Tight
- Low abs are engaged
- Elbows are straight
- Booty is tucked under
- Gaze is straight ahead
The lower the bar the harder this movement will become. Start by setting the bar low enough so that you feel challenged, but you are able to perform 12-15 repetitions without a rest. When that becomes oh so easy you are ready to challenge your body further.
You will then lower the bar closer to the floor and change your start position from an angle to a bridge on the floor. The grip will remain underhand and you will bring your chest up to the bar while your lower body performs a bridge. Keep your body neutral and remember to activate all the muscles you need to engage.
Your body will move into a table-top position as you pull yourself up towards the bar.
You can complete various combinations of this exercise at different levels in your workouts. Strive for three sets of 12-15 repetition three days a week. If you are building up your strength you may need to take short rests to get to your desired number of repeitions. Be patient!
I always like to stress than no movement is beyond our grasp. We just have to realize that we need to begin small and work our way up. Rome was not built in a day. A perfect row or a pull up is not going to happen fast. The average gym going bee needs to develop some essential strength first.
Happy inverted rowing!
I always love hearing from you! If you have any questions please feel free to send me an email.