MUSCLES IT WORKS:
HOW TO DO IT
Holding one dumbbell in each hand (or a body bar in both hands), stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent for balance, and hinge forward at your hips to no more than 90 degrees (at 90 degrees your back is parallel to the ground). Look at the ground slightly in front of you to maintain a straight line from the crown (top) of your head through your hips. Hold the dumbbells with your palms facing each other, and your arms slightly bent and directly below your shoulders. As you exhale, pull the dumbbells upward, leading with your elbows towards the ceiling. Your elbows should stay in line with your ribs as you row. Inhale as you lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
SETS & REPS
Do 3-5 sets of 10 repetitions (reps).
Do 1-3 sets at 60 seconds per set.
WEIGHT OR RESISTANCE
8- to 20-lb. dumbbells; 15- to 24-lb. body bar; or resistance band (red, blue, or purple) Most men will start at the upper end of the weight range (or a more difficult resistance band); most women will start at the lower end (less weight/resistance).
Dumbbells, body bar, or resistance band (red, blue, or purple)
DON'T DO THIS MOVE IF
you have low-back problems.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOU'RE DOING IT RIGHT
You should feel the muscles in the middle of your back working during this exercise. To maintain correct form, make sure you engage your abs to keep a flat back in the bent-over position (as much as possible; some people will have natural roundedness in their back that makes keeping a flat back difficult or not possible). To maintain the correct arm movement, make sure that you keep your elbows in line with the ribs as you row.
HOW TO MAKE IT EASIER
If you notice that your back is rounding or you feel discomfort or pain in your low back, do this exercise in a staggered stance. Stagger one foot forward about 12 to 18 inches before hinging at the hips to release any pressure in your low back. You can also do this exercise in a standing position by anchoring a resistance band (green or red) around a pole or shutting it in a door. Make sure you choose an anchor that allows the band to be just slightly below shoulder height (in line with your chest). Stand far enough away from the anchor so that your arms are mostly straightened (keep a slight bend at the elbow) and the band is slightly taut. Keeping your chest lifted and knees slightly bent, row the band backwards, leading with your elbows. Inhale as you release your arms back to the starting position, keeping some tautness in the band (don't let the band become loose).
HOW TO CHALLENGE YOURSELF OR PROGRESS
If you can do 2 additional repetitions per set or complete 60 seconds without fatigue, consider adding repetitions, time, and/or sets. For example, instead of doing 10 repetitions for 3 sets, do 15 repetitions for 3 sets. To increase intensity without changing sets or time, try adding weight or using a resistance band (red, blue, or purple) in the bent-over position. If using a resistance band, stand on the band in the bent-over position as described above. Keeping tautness in the band in the starting position, exhale as you row the band upward, leading with your elbows. Inhale as you return to the starting position.
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