When it comes to upper body workouts, it’s definitely a much more appealing prospect to have a buff chest and built arms than it is to have a strong back, at least on a surface level. But according to fitness expert Ilija Jahura, working out your back muscles is just as crucial to ensuring healthy posture, avoiding injury, and developing your relative strength.
One of the best exercises for targeting not only your back but your arms, lower body, and core is the inverted row. This one simple workout can prove incredibly fruitful to lifters of all kinds, from beginners to experienced weightlifters, powerlifters, and more.
How to Do an Inverted Row
To do an inverted row, you’ll need a barbell and a squat rack or smith machine. Set the barbell high enough so that you can lie beneath it, and suspend your body off the ground with your arms at full extension. Only your heels should be touching the floor.
Once you’re poised off the ground, you’re going to use your core, lower back muscles, and glutes to keep your body perfectly straight while you pull yourself up toward the bar in a sort of horizontal pull-up motion. As a matter of fact, the inverted row is also known as the Australian pull-up.
The peak of your upward motion will be when your chest has just about reached the bar but is not quite touching it. Make sure to keep your body perfectly straight, hold for a moment, then slowly lower yourself back down into the original position and repeat.
Muscles the Inverted Row Targets
The number one target in the inverted row is the back, but when done correctly, it can work out a wide range of muscles all over the body, including your:
- Erector spinae
- Posterior delts
Inverted rows also target the infraspinatus and teres minor, which are muscles in the rotator cuff.
Tips for the Inverted Row
In practice, the inverted row is quite simple, but it’s also easy to do incorrectly. Doing inverted rows inaccurately can lead to you not getting the best workout you can or potentially harming yourself. Follow these tips to avoid both of those scenarios.
Overhand Grip Is the Best Option
You can actually use either an overhand or underhand grip for the inverted row, but overhand tends to be the most comfortable and practical. Position your grip a little bit wider than shoulder width.
Engage Your Core
With this workout, it can be easy to rely too much on your upper body, your arms, or even your legs when what you really want to be doing is engaging your core and glutes to keep your body perfectly straight.
Get the Bar in the Proper Position
You should be able to lift your body off the ground with your arms at full extension and only your heels touching the floor. Also, make sure that when you reach the peak of your row, it’s your chest that is nearly meeting the bar, not your neck.
Who Is Ilija Jahura?
Ilija Jahura is a fitness and health expert based out of Kelowna, British Columbia. His main goal is to help his clients become the best possible version of themselves both in the gym and in life.