10 More Rowing and Upper Back Development Tips
Tip #1. To develop optimal structural balance, I strongly believe that for every set of chin-up done, one should a set of dumbbell rows (for both arms, of course)
Tip #2. Barbell rows done with the bar returning to the floor on each rep strengthen your back, lats and traps more than any other barbell row variation
Tip #3. Grip The Bar Like You Bench Press. For maximum carry-over to your bench press, your Barbell Row should be the exact opposite movement. This means no underhand grip but both palms facing you, using the same grip width as when you bench
Tip #4. Pull With Your Elbows. This simple trick will help you use your upper-back maximally rather than turning your Rows into a biceps exercise. Pull your elbows towards the ceiling instead of merely pulling with your hands and use a thumbless grip to de-emphasize the wrist flexion and elbow flexion over-recruitment
Tip #5. Row Against Your Chest. If the bar doesn’t hit your chest, it’s like doing a partial squat or half bench the rep isn’t completed and you’re not getting the most out of the exercise. So always Row the barbell against your chest. Where exactly? Same position as where you touch the bar on the bench press
Tip #6 Remember that the Barbell Rows isn’t really a TRUE test of your upper back strength and power as the row is only as powerful and stable as your CORE. Since this article is all about rowing movements, not only barbell rows, understand if you want maximum stimulation of your upper back, consider using a chest supported exercise like seated machine rows and T Bar Rows.
Tip #7. Keep Your Upper-back Parallel. Don’t let yourself get carried away by your ego or you won’t get the most out of Barbell Rows. Be strict: your upper-back should be doing all the work. If your Barbell Rows turn into 50° shrugs or you’re cheating with your hips and knees, the weight is too heavy. Lower it.
Tip #8. Open Your Chest. It’s – again – the same position as for the bench press squeeze your shoulder-blades together at the top as hard as you can and open your chest up. You could consider holding the weight at the top of the movement with some lighter weights to get the ‘feel’ of what muscles you are trying to stimulate or use the warm up progressive resistance weights to get the ‘freeze’ reps in before moving onto the heavier ‘touch n go’ reps.
Tip #9 The lats are a large, powerful muscle group. To work all the motor unit pools of this muscle you need to train the muscles from a variety of different rowing angles
Tip #10. One-arm rows because you can brace your upper body with your other arm, thus allowing you to devote more effort to the upper body muscles. Also, using a dumbbell enables the trainee to perform rowing exercises through a greater range of motion that a barbell