Strong Back: How to Perform an Inverted Row Correctly

There are many exercises to choose from when looking to build strength across the back muscles. Maintaining a strong back improves posture, mobility, performance, and may reduce the chance of injury. These muscles, collectively, play a big role in just about any athletic event and, of course, needed to help pull weight in the gym.

Muscle Groups Used

There are six major muscle groups to focus on for back development. For our purposes today, we are looking more at the superficial rather deep muscles that comprise the back.

  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Trapezius
  • Erector spinae
  • Rhomboid
  • Levator scapulae (rotates part of the shoulder joint inferiorly and helps flex the neck. 
  • Serratus (two muscles that assist with respiration).

The wonderful thing about inverted rows, they can be done anywhere and work the majority of the back muscles. You also have the option of performing the exercise off a Smith Machine, or with an Olympic bar set-up. I use to do the exercise using a TRX strap that hung from a tree in my yard as well as in my garage. The point is, it’s a versatile exercise and there is more than one training option to choose from. In this article, however, we will look at the machine inverted row.

Machine Inverted Row

The movement can be done with either the body starting off on the floor, just the feet on the ground or up on a bench as well. If new to the exercise, begin with body resting on the floor as your starting position. Progress by keeping feet on the ground or resting on a bench. Keep in mind when performing the action, to maintain a tight, rigid body throughout the set. Keep the abs and glutes engaged as you perform each repetition.

How to Execute the Movement

1.) Begin by positioning a barbell across a rack at about waist high.

2.) Then position yourself underneath the bar, grabbing it with an overhand, shoulder-width grip. Keep your body extended straight out with heels on the ground.

3.) Pull up with your elbows, driving your chest towards the bar until you feel a stretch in your mid back and the chest touches or is near the bar.

4) Hold this position for a 2-second count then slowly return back to the starting position.

5.) Repeat for as many repetitions and sets as desired.

Final Thoughts

This is one of those exercises that is more challenging than it looks. Whether you do it pulling the body off the floor, have the feet on the ground, or place both feet on a bench, one thing is for sure. The body has to remain completely straight without collapsing at the waist! If this is too difficult, try bending one knee, keeping that foot on the ground. The rest of the body remains straight like a board. You can cheat a bit if necessary by pushing off with that bent leg until you build more strength.

Stay Strong Together

Try the award-winning Jefit app for your next workout. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for planning & tracking your strength workouts. Named best app for 2022 and 2023 by PC MagazineMen’s HealthThe Manual, the Greatist and many others. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app also has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and has a feature to share workouts with friends. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *