How to Do an Inverted Row

Standard up-rows are the stalwart workhorse of back exercises, but it’s a tough form to execute properly, especially for workout newbies or when upping the weight involved.

Plenty of cable workouts also fit the bill for sculpting hard backs, but to simplify the movement, hit the core muscles and get the benefits of a go-anywhere body weight exercise, inverted rows are a bare-bones exercise fit for any workout routine. Plus, with the popularity of TRX suspension training, this movement becomes more powerful, engaging more stabilizer muscles.

Step 1

Traditionally, the exercise is easiest to execute at a power rack or Smith machine. (For another option, hanging TRX straps or use Olympic rings.) Lying supine on the floor, extend arms and then place a barbell just within that reach. Lie back down on the floor facing the bar with it positioned over the chest.

Step 2

Grab the bar with both hands in an overhand grip as if about to perform a bench press. Body should be slightly elevated off the floor. Tighten abs and pull the chest up towards the center of the bar, again like a reverse bench press. Keep the back and legs straight throughout and balance on the heels. Elbows should not waiver during the movement. Bring shoulder blades together when ending the motion with middle chest touching the bar. Slowly lower body back down, but not touching the floor. Do 10-12 reps. For more of a challenge, elevate the feet with a box or bench.