Our Favorite Exercises Part 5: Pulling Variations

personal training

Chest supported rows: Use an inclined bench set to 30-45 degrees. You should be face down, with your feel planted on the floor, chest up and tight lower back. Your arms should be fully extended with the dumbbells in hand. Begin by engaging the upper back and pull the elbows up toward the ceiling. Slowly descend until your arms are fully extended. Don't let your posture slouch, keep your torso straight. 


Single arm dumbbell rows: Using a flat bench, place one knee on the end of the bench, and the hand of the same side at the front. Your other foot is placed on the floor with the weight through the ball/toes. In this position, your torso should be almost horizontal and parallel to the floor - with a flat, or neutral spine. Visualize pulling the dumbbell up by squeezing your upper back, and not your arm - your elbow will follow, and you finish with the dumbbell beside your chest, tightly squeezing your shoulder blade. Descend all the way down so that you feel a stretch through your upper and mid back. Your torso should remain at the same angle the whole time - no leaning or twisting to one side.

Facepulls: Are performed on a cable machine, using a rope - they can be performed seated (like a cable row) or standing. The rope should be attached at just below chin height. Hold the rope with an overhand grip just above the knots. The body positioning is identical to a cable row. Instead of pulling to chest height though, you will pull the rope up to mouth-nose height, hence the name. You should finish with your elbows pointing behind you, and slightly above parallel - not down toward the floor. Your hands should be on either side of your face, and shoulder blades squeezed tightly. Make sure to fully extend the arms when you reach forward to get a full range of motion

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