Choosing the right row variation can be essential to achieving key results for yourself or your clients.
The common different row variations include:
- Barbell rows: A great exercise which requires the ability to brace and hold a posture whilst you move. Naturally, this requires far more core stabilisation than machine work. For variations here, focus on barbell type, positioning and range of motion (pendlay rows, row to pins, T-bar rows, one arm rows etc).
- Machine rows: Less core activation is required but with a greater potential for back muscle activation. It is important to focus on squeezing and stretching to increase activation. Tempo manipulation and grip alteration is a great idea for machine variations.
- Inverted rows: These involve you hanging on either a TRX, rings or a barbell. Use your own body weight as resistance and body positioning to alter the difficulty. This version recruits the lat muscles more than other variations, but less in the rhomboids and traps. Think plank posture plus pull.
Be careful combining macrocycle (overall training period) phases with heavy volume of both deadlifts and barbell rows. If you do incorporate both, think carefully about where you place each exercise in the microcycle (week). Deadlifting with a fatigued low to mid back from heavy rows the day before isn’t ideal. Typically, aim for barbell rows on upper A (Monday), then deadlifts on lower B (Friday).
Yours in health,
Glen Carroll / Clean Health Master Coach & Educator
Clean Health Fitness Institute
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