Inverted Row Exercise Benefits
By Mike Thiga author of The Muscle Experiment
Most people cannot do a full set of chin-ups with only their bodyweight but it's not a problem if you use inverted rows to develop that kind of strength in your back and biceps.
Learning how to do the inverted body-weight row will help you quickly develop the kind of strength in your back and biceps you're going to need to do a full set of chin-ups. Don't think that just because you're not able to complete a full set of chin-ups you'll never be able to complete 12 reps, using inverted rows will help a lot.
The barbell rowing movement holding a barbell while you bend at the waist, with your back straight as you pull it towards your chest can be a difficult movement to isolate the back and biceps. The inverted row takes care of this while also adding a decent central core workout at the same time.
Inverted rows are also called the reverse bench-press because you grab the barbell as if you going to press it but you pull your upper body towards it instead. It can be done easily on a Smith machine where you adjust the barbell, with no bench underneath so that your body with legs straight and resting on the floor. You can also use a broom and two chairs.
You then pull your chest towards the bar as you pull yourself forward keeping your stomach tense and both legs straight. This inverted rowing movement then works all your back muscles, your biceps and your traps all at the same time increasing the strength you can use in your back.
Doing just pushups will not work your back muscles and will not keep you away from injuring yourself. If your objective is to be able to do a full set of chin-ups or pull-ups, then you need to start by doing more balanced movements to increase your upper body strength.
Start by lying on the floor under the bar. You should set the bar just a little above where you are able to reach from the ground. You grab the bar using an overhand grip (palms facing away). You then contract your abs, keeping your body in a straight line. Your ears, your shoulders, your hips, your legs, and both feet should be in a very straight line.
You then simply pull yourself up until your chest reaches the bar. You then slowly lower yourself back down again. A more advanced version of inverted rows would be to do it when both feet are elevated. If you're unable to pull yourself up, then set the bar higher so your body lies at about a 45-degree angle.
Never let your ass start to sag downwards, always keeping your body dead straight.
Don't allow your elbows to flail outwards. Make sure you grab the bar with your hands just a little closer than they would be when doing a normal bench press, keeping both your elbows at that same angle to your body.
Always pull the bar towards middle of the chest. Don't ever pull the bar up to your throat, or down to your belly button. Only in the middle!
Keep your abs very tight throughout the complete routine, the only thing that should be moving is your arms.
Think about pulling both your shoulder blades tightly together when you're at the top of this exercise.
Always lower yourself until both your arms are both completely extended, raising yourself until your chest gets to touch the bar.
Note: For more information checkout The Lost Secrets of Bodyweight Training