If you’ve been around the lifting game for a while, you have heard the term, “you need to row to grow.” Rowing, whether a vertical or horizontal pull, helps build a thick upper back, giving you that much-desired wingspan. But vanity is not all the back is good for because a strong and muscular back plays a vital role in and out of the gym.
These roles include:
- Keeping a neutral spine during the squat and deadlift.
- Preventing excessive leaning forward during squats.
- Supporting a better pressing path during the barbell bench press for better technique.
- Reducing the incidence and severity of concussions.
- Supporting good posture.
Regularly adding some variation of rows to your routine will help you look better and perform better, leading to happy and healthier shoulders. Oh yeah, rows also work your biceps hard and heavy.
Why Rows Can Be Tricky
Regardless of the rowing variation or tool, rows should form the foundation of your strength training routine. But many rowing movements can be tricky to nail down because all the action happens behind your back.
Maybe that’s why some exclusively train the mirror muscles.
There are many moving parts with larger muscles driving it, and because you cannot ‘see’ what’s going on back there, it makes it a challenge to know if you’re doing right or not and where everything should be going. Here we’ll clear up a few common mistakes with the row so you can train in the knowledge that you are rowing right.
There are many rowing variations and body positions; you’ll lift with many tools to complete the job. But there are certain non-negotiable to performing the row, and here they are.
- Keeping Your Back Straight: Everyone has different limb lengths, but ensuring your entire back is in a neutral position is vital for good form.
- Shoulders Down And Chest Up: Probably the number one personal trainer cue of all time. Doing this ensures that the correct muscles are doing the work.
- Full Range of Motion: There is a time and a place for partial reps or a shortened ROM, but generally, a full range of motion allows you to get the full muscle-building benefits of this movement.
4 Common Rowing Mistakes
There are slight variances in form within many row variations, but we won’t concern ourselves with that. Here we’ll take a big-picture approach that applies to almost all rowing variations.