Updated: Aug 11, 2018
We are really big fans of suspension strap training. Not only do we have several TRX classes throughout the week, we also utilize suspension straps in our Cardio Pump class and in most of our personal training sessions.
One of our favorite exercises with suspension straps is the inverted row. This 'reverse push up' targets the upper back muscles, arms and even the core abdominal muscles. The inverted row is a powerful exercise because it mimics a pull-up or chin-up movement, but is easier to perform for most individuals. It is also safer on the shoulder joint than a traditional pull up, and can be modified to fit all fitness levels.
To perform an inverted row, you begin by first ensuring that the straps are secured. We have industrial-grade brackets in our roof for our suspension straps, but if you are using straps at home you will always want to double check the security of your anchor point. Then adjust the straps length to fit your surroundings. Having the handles about 1-2 feet from the ground is usually a good length. Grab the handles, back away from the anchor point and lean back. The angle at which your body is at determines how difficult the row will be. If your body is more vertical the exercise will be easier than if your body is more horizontal. The most difficult version of this exercise is when the body is parallel with the floor; the easiest version is when at the end of the pull the body is in a standing position.
Once you are in the starting position with arms extended, begin the pull. Using your arms and back muscles, pull your body into a more upright position and end when your hands meet your chest. You want to be sure that when you pull, your entire body moves at once. A common mistake in the inverted row is bending at the waist and only moving the torso.
Relax your arms and return to the starting position. Congratulations! You completed your first inverted row.
Inverted rows are a great exercise to include in any back routine. They work well as both a warm up or the primary exercise. We like to include inverted rows in our full body circuit exercises, and even in posture-corrective protocols. We encourage all our members to work more of this movement in their regular routine, or to give them a try in their next group training experience.
-Corey Evans CSCS, CISSN