Pulling movements are important for strengthening your back, biceps, and forearms while increasing overall upper body strength. While sometimes overlooked because more popular pressure moves like the bench press take precedence, pushing is as crucial as pushing. Chances are you’ve opened a door or two today, and you can thank the pull-up exercises for making this task easier.
The reverse row is one of those pull-up exercises that can help balance muscle strength between your front and back and can help with posture and stability. Not to mention, it’s a great exercise for beginners or anyone without access to the gym, as you can do it almost anywhere. If you’re still not convinced as to why you should reverse your workout, check out more benefits of the reverse row below.
Advantages of the inverted row
A wider upper body
A A strong back is essential for posture, stability, and can help prevent injury, so exercises like the inverted row that work the back muscles should be part of your training routine. Lats, traps, rhomboids, posterior deltoids, and spine erectors are just a few of the larger muscles in the inverted row, although it also targets the biceps, forearms, abs, and even the hamstrings and glutes.
You can make the reverse row easier or harder, so it’s functionally like any other exercise out there. While you can repeat pull-ups for days, the inverted row works the back at a unique angle and allows for more volume (because it’s usually easier). This is a great move to do at the end of a back workout to really finish off the muscle fibers (so to speak).
The biceps and forearms are two muscles that help to grip strength, and the reverse row works those muscles – hard. By strengthening your grip muscles, you can increase your weight load and, as studies suggest, lower your risk of death. (1) T
The inverted row also allows you to use multiple holds, including overhand, soffit, and mixed grip, each of which has its own advantages. The overhand grip is good for building grip strength and is generally recommended for lighter loads. A sneaky grip usually puts the biceps more into play. A mixed grip helps reduce grip fatigue (just be sure to change hands with each set) so you can perform more relative volume.
It’s friendly for beginners
As a beginner weightlifter, there is no better place to start than calisthenics. The inverted row uses your own body weight, so there’s a lower risk of injury (compared to loading your joints and tendons with weight) and a great way to build the muscles needed for more advanced exercises like weight lifting. leaning row and pull it up.
Since you can do the reverse row almost anywhere, you don’t necessarily have to be in the gym to do it. So if home workouts are more your style, this is a great option.
It is a progression of traction
One of the most difficult bodyweight exercises is traction. The pull-up requires a tremendous amount of relative strength, body weight, control, and stability. Performing a pull-up takes a lot of strength as well as progression and practice.
Since the inverted row mimics the pull-up at a less intense angle (between horizontal and vertical as opposed to fully vertical), this can be a beneficial progression exercise. The inverted row helps strengthen the back and arm muscles, which are the main muscles used in a pull-up.
You will improve stability
Stability is essential for safe and effective weight lifting as well as improvement in daily life. The trunk stability provides support to the spine and the shoulder stability makes lifting to height easier, both of which are improved by performing the reverse row.
It is a compound exercise
Compound exercises are exercises that use more than one muscle group at a time instead of isolating a muscle group like bicep curls. Research suggests that performing compound exercises over isolation exercises has significant benefits in terms of improving VO2max, physical performance, and overall fitness. (2)
Since the reverse row is a compound exercise that targets the back, biceps, forearms, glutes, and hamstrings, according to the suggested study, you may benefit more from this exercise due to the recruitment of multiple muscle groups.
How to do the reverse row
The benefits of the reverse row may have taught you how to build upper body strength or at least give your workout some variety. Either way, let’s walk through how to perform it in this step-by-step guide.
- Find a stable bar or device to sit on. Go under the bar.
- Grip the bar with your preferred grip (overhand, underhand, or mixed) with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
- Extend your arms so that you are hanging low, almost parallel to the floor, and extend your legs, so that they are straight and only your heels are on the floor.
- Keep your body in a straight line with your spine neutral and core tight. Use your back and arms to pull your chest towards the bar.
- Once you’ve achieved a full range of motion, slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.
Variations of inverted lines
It may surprise you that the inverted row is harder than it looks, especially after a few repetitions. There are many variations that allow you to progress, to offer challenges or simply to change the exercise. Check out some of the best below.
The row of rings is extremely similar to the inverted row, but is performed with gymnastic rings instead of a bar. This variation can be more difficult since you have to work to stabilize yourself on the unstable rings. Same as the inverted row, the more your body is tilted in this movement, the more aggressive this movement will be.
Reverse row with bent knees
This variation is exactly what it sounds like: an inverted row with the knees bent. Bending the knees relieves the lower back and makes the standard reverse row less difficult.
The leaned row is different from the inverted row, but it works similar muscle groups. Instead of facing the ceiling, you are hinged on your hips with your eyes looking at the floor. Typically, this exercise is performed with a heavier load for more experienced weightlifters. This can also be done by novice weightlifters with a lighter weight.
Go back up
Once you’ve mastered the reverse line, the pull-up is a natural next step. By working similar muscle groups, the pull is harder because your feet are off the ground and it’s up to you to pull your full body weight up. This advanced pulling motion works your back, biceps, shoulders, and core.
High reverse row
With the inverted row, the more your body is tilted, the more difficult the exercise becomes. Therefore, elevating your feet on a stable surface like a box or bench can greatly increase the challenge.
Whichever reverse row variation you choose, remember that pulling is just as important as pushing and shouldn’t be overlooked. By performing pull-up exercises, you can even increase your overall strength during your push-up exercises. The inverted row increases your ability to perform more advanced exercises as well as build strength, posture, and stability. So wherever you are, try the reverse row and see the benefits for yourself.
- Perna, Frank M., Coa, Kisha and Troiano, Richard P. Estimates of the muscle grip strength of the US population from the 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Survey. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2016; 30 (3). doi: 10.1519 / JSC.00000000000001104
- Paoli, Antonio, Gentil, Paulo, & Moro, Tatiana. Resistance training with single or multi-joint exercises at equal total load volume: effects on body composition, cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle strength. Frontiers in physiology. 2017; 8 doi: 10.3389 / fphys.2017.01105