A Great Back Exercise You May Have Never Tried

Posted by Jason Ferruggia

In the gym today we did one of my favorite back exercises. I don’t know what it’s called because I made it up. Before I get 26 emails from people telling me they made it up or they do it let me state that I made it up in “my own mind,” meaning I had never seen it done before and just came up with it one day. Maybe you did the same and I apologize ahead of time for upsetting you. If I write it in a program I usually call it bent over high pulley rope rows.

It’s a combination of a pulldown, a pullover and a row; the best of all three so to speak. To perform the exercise, get in a bent over position, slightly above parallel and grab a rope attached to a high cable stack. Sit way back with your ass all the way out to counterbalance yourself against the pull of the weight stack. While arching your back, let your arms stretch all the way up overhead. If you do it right, you should feel the best stretch in your lats, all the way from your waist to your armpits, that you have felt in a long time. Be sure to let your scapula spread as far apart as possible. Now initiate the movement with your lats by pulling your shoulder blades down. As you pull the rope in toward you in the plane that a pulldown bar would come toward you in, raise your upper body up a few degrees and then row the rope handles into your waist, an inch or two above your belly button. At that point your shoulder blades should be squeezed back all the way. You should get a great contraction and really be able to feel it more than you can a lot of other back exercises. In the contracted position your upper body should be at about a 70 degree angle to the floor.

This is best done for slightly higher reps as a finisher. If you go very heavy on this your form suffers because it is very hard to counterbalance the weight. I suggest 1-2 sets of 8-15 reps after you have done some other rows or chin ups.

Give it a shot and let me know what you think. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.



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