Inverted Row Progressions

     One of my favorite pulling exercises that we use with our athletes to are inverted rows.  I love them because they offer a whole new challenge for an upper back pulling exercise.  Seated pulley rows are my favorite exercise to start to teach athletes how to properly pull.  That being said, I wanted to offer simple progressions that anyone can use.  It never ceases to amaze me that the general population does not know how to rowing (whatever variation that may be) properly which can help clear up some annoying shoulder problems.  Blast straps or the TRX are great for a variety of reasons…

  • Cables are portable:  We are going to be using these for part of our off-ice training sessions for Team Comcast at the Flyers SkateZone in Pennsauken.  Besides 1-arm DB rows, our younger athletes can learn how to pull correctly with these straps
  • Can be used for rows, suspended push-ups, and even some core work
  • Inverted rows teach help with coordination: having to stay in that rigid position with your glutes squeezed and body tall is more difficult than you think.  A reason why so many people do them incorrectly.
  • Inverted Rows have numerous variations which is beneficial for progression and keeping the exercise exciting.


First progression to use is the incline inverted row.  With all these variations focus on…

  • Chin tucked (Poking chin or head forward is a common mistake)
  • Pulling shoulder blades back and down
  • Glutes squeezed (humping your hips up in the air is not scapular retraction)
  • Lifting your chest to the bar or straps (if you can pull a bar down and touch your chest during benching, you can get your chest all the way up)

*Work your way farther down until you can do them off the bench

*You could also do ISOholds at the top

Suspended or Inverted Rows

Inverted Scap Row

  • One way to teach scapular retraction before you do inverted rows or as an activation exercises to pair between benching sets

1-Leg Inverted Row

  • Added progression to use for inverted rows, but I would opt to use a weight vest with normal inverted rows first before going to 1-leg.

Check out Ben Bruno’s series of articles for the ultimate Inverted Row variety

Five Fun Inverted Row Variations

Five Awesome Inverted Row Variations: Part 2

Awesome Inverted Row Variations: Part 3




Categories: Strength Training

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: