You bust out pull-up after pull-up and fail to see the results in your back muscles. Suddenly you come to the realization that you need to shake up your routine.
The Inverted bodyweight row can do just that, and much more with the key advantages they offer you.
Table of Contents
- Why They’re Easy to Learn
- 5 Pieces of Gym Equipment that are Perfect for Bodyweight Rows
- 10 Surprising Muscles Worked by the Inverted Bodyweight Row
- How to Prevent Serious Injury with this Exercise
- How to Target Different Muscles (By Tweaking Your Grip)
- 3 Special Grip Variations to Transform the Exercise
- How to Increase the Difficulty (With a Partner)
- Final Thoughts on the Inverted Bodyweight Row
Why They’re Easy to Learn
This workout carries a lower risk compared to many other workouts as you can grasp the form relatively easily.
You just need a solid bar that falls a bit lower to the ground than a pull up bar. Then duck under the bar, grab it firmly with both hands, then move your feet outward, and pull up.
This works very similar muscles to a standard barbell row so make sure you keep your core tight while you preform this exercise.
5 Pieces of Gym Equipment that are Perfect for Bodyweight Rows
What makes inverted bodyweight rows so cool is that you can do them almost anywhere. All you need is the right equipment.
You can grab onto these pieces of equipment:
1. Rope rings
In this variant you substitute the bar with 2 ropes, attached to the ceiling, that have rings (grips of some sort) at each end.
You can help iron out any muscular imbalances (i.e., a muscle smaller than its counterpart) since it requires each of your muscles to work more independently than they would with the conventional bar.
2. 2 Ropes Without Rings
Use the same setup as the rope ring configuration except with no grips. So now you have to grab the bare ropes.
Ropes without rings prove a more difficult challenge for athletes than the ringed variety. As your forearms have to work extra strenuously when they lack a steady surface to grab onto.
3. Smith machine
You may have noticed an odd machine with a fixed bar attached to rails. Gym goers dub that the smith machine.
It has an underrated use that many call its best. Since you can adjust the height of the bar it makes a perfect contraption for your bodyweight rows.
Just make sure the bar stays locked down prior to each set. Otherwise you could get injured.
4. Jungle Gym Bars at the Park
Make sure the bars stay devoid of children, otherwise they could trample your hands.
5. Racked Barbell
As long as you have a standard power rack and barbell, you can tackle this exercise too. Just rack the barbell, grab from underneath and start rowing.
Just make sure you don’t jerk around too aggressively or you might accidentally throw the barbell off the pins and go plummeting to the ground.
10 Surprising Muscles Worked by the Inverted Bodyweight Row
Inverted bodyweight rows work a myriad of muscles in your back, core, and arms.
It especially targets the following muscles:
- Lats (lower back muscles that help you pull)
- Rhomboids (muscles that retract the scapula towards your spine)
- Mid/lower traps (supports the weight of your arms and moves the scapula)
- Posterior delts (the back portion of your deltoid muscles)
- Biceps (helps control the motion of your shoulder and elbow joints)
- Brachialis, biceps brachii, and brachioradialis (forearm muscles)
- Rectus abdominis (the muscles that make up your “6-pack”)
- External abdominal oblique (core muscles on side of abdomen)
- Internal abdominal oblique (work in tandem with their external variant)
- Transverse abdominis (envelops the spine, deepest muscle in your core)
How to Prevent Serious Injury with this Exercise
You need to stay alert when you rep out inverted bodyweight rows. Since even though this exercise carries relatively few risks accidents can happen.
So exercise caution and follow these steps:
- Refrain from any jerking movements
- Keep your reps smooth
- Make sure your lower back stays center and straight
- Double check the bar to make sure it locks in place
- Wear shoes that fit as well as provide the necessary traction for rows
- Maintain proper grip
How to Target Different Muscles (By Tweaking Your Grip)
You can simply switch your grip variation to alter many workouts. This mantra applies to inverted bodyweight rows as well.
You can tweak and change a variety of factors:
When you grip overhand your palms face away from your body as you grab the bar. While an underhand grip means your palms face directly towards your body when you grip the bar.
You work your forearms extra hard when you use an overhand grip. Whereas an underhand grip takes some pressure off of your forearm muscles so you can concentrate more on your back and bicep muscles.
Narrow grips minimize pressure on your biceps so you can maximize the pressure on your back muscles, where as wide grips provide a more strenuous workout for your biceps.
A false grip helps you gain strength in your forearms. With this grip you grab the bar as you normally would except this time you refrain from wrapping your thumb around the bar, and instead keep it to the side of your other fingers.
3 Special Grip Variations to Transform the Exercise
The TRX inverted row is a killer exercise for the back and arms pic.twitter.com/el32D8pK7K
— Yoga Girl (@FitCoachFL) May 17, 2019
You can also use special types of grips that have even more of an effect on your workout than just the simple changes mentioned above.
1. Hammer Grip
You can utilize a hammer grip for bodyweight rows when you use ropes. Simply keep the rope grips vertical during each set.
This grip especially works your wrist extensors, the muscles on the back of the forearm that work your wrist and fingers.
2. Hook Grip
To give yourself extra grip you can use the hook grip which means you wrap your thumb around the bar and then wrap your index, middle, and ring fingers around your thumb to hold it there.
Warning: This kind of grip is painful for beginners so don’t expect it to feel comfortable at first.
3. Alternate/Mixed Grip
You can use an overhand grip in one hand and an underhand grip in the other to gain a slight advantage, so you can crank out a few extra reps than you normally would. Keep in mind that people often report mixed results with this grip though.
How to Increase the Difficulty (With a Partner)
If you want to make this exercise even more difficult you can have a partner grab and lift your legs off the ground. Just make sure you trust them to keep their grasp steady.
It also doubles as one of those cheesy trust exercises if you want.
Even if your friend flakes on you, many gyms have ropes that hang over horizontal slots to hold your feat in lieu of a trustworthy partner.
Final Thoughts on the Inverted Bodyweight Row
Bodyweight rows have a place within your strength routine. They provide you with an almost unparalleled level of accessibility.
Even if you struggle to make time for the gym you can still fit these into your schedule. As you can do them anywhere you stumble upon a solid bar to grab onto.
And if you’re looking for a full bodyweight workout program to build incredible strength without needing a gym membership then click here to check out our detailed review of one of the most popular calisthenics programs every created, Convict Conditioning.