Squat, Hip Hinge, Push & Pull
Today we’ll cover the pulling movement. Common exercises include the pull up, row and lat pulldown. The main muscles activated include the Latissimus Dorsi, the big muscle that runs from your armpit to lower back that makes a ‘V’ shape on a well defined body. The Rhomboids, the muscles between your shoulder blades that help pull them together. Finally the Biceps are along for the ride as well.
The exercise we’ll highlight for pulling will be the TRX row. This variation is a great way to learn the movement because it allows you to adjust the intensity very easily. You can also rotate the handles, which enables you to use a neutral grip, which is favorable for shoulder health. Let’s take a look.
Here’s the starting position. Lean back so arms are fully extended. Squeeze your butt to keep your hips pressed forward and keep a tight brace in your midsection to prevent the hips from sagging. I’m using a neutral grip with my palms facing each other.
Halfway through the range of motion. As you pull think about squeezing the shoulder blades together and keep the elbows in tight to your sides.
Once you’re at the top of the row, pause briefly and keep a tight squeeze of the shoulder blades and slowly lower yourself all the way back down. Also, you want to maintain tension on the TRX straps through the entire movement, so there should be no slack in the straps at any time.
Adjusting the resistance on this is very easy. Simply move your feet closer to the anchor point of your TRX to make it harder, or step back to make it easier.
If a TRX isn’t available to you, this can also be done on a Smith machine. The same rules apply about form and adjusting resistance. The main difference is that you will have to use either an overhand or underhand grip since you will be holding onto a barbell instead of handles.
Another benefit of using the TRX is the ability to easily and quickly perform a drop set. A drop set is when you do an exercises for multiple sets in a row, but make resistance less each time. To do this on the TRX version, start with you feet very close to the anchor, perform a set, then take a step back, and do another set, then step back and do another if you really want to make it fun.
Stay tuned for the final part of the series where I’ll go over how to combine the four movements and create a total body workout.