Last week I talked about Dumbbell Rows, adding a back/pulling exercise to our list of movements. It is very important to include such exercises to help counteract the amount of chest or pushing exercises that frequent so many programs. It will help to strengthen and stabilize the shoulders and shoulder girdle, and aid in developing proper posture: upright with chest up and shoulders back and relaxed. With so much time spend sitting at our computers or hunched over our handheld devices, we want to avoid the hunched-forward drooping of the shoulders and the resulting back and neck issues that can result. As usual, be sure to check with your doctor and a qualified trainer on how to properly and safely integrate exercises into your exercise program before doing so.
Progressing from the DB Row, where we had one arm being supported on a stability ball or a bench, we are going to do a standing cable row. You don’t have to use cable machines for this exercise, you can even use tubing as resistance.
Stand facing the machine and ready yourself in a good, loaded position: feet flat, legs loaded, hips down, head and chest up. Hold the cable handle with one hand, arm extended so even in that position, you are holding the weight suspended from the weight stack (if you are using tubing, then you always want resistance from the start to the end of the motion). Slowly pull the handle back to your upper abdomen, keeping your head and chest up. Don’t rotate the torso (that is a progression that we can add further down the line), but pull using your arm and squeeze your shoulder blades together when the handle nears your abdomen. Slowly lower the weight by extending the arm back to the starting position.
Keep a pace that will have constant tension throughout the movement. Don’t use momentum to whip the weight up and down. Make sure you keep good posture throughout the exercise as well…your torso musculature has to work to stabilize you during the motion. As a result, not only are you working the back and biceps (causing the pulling of the weight), your legs and torso are getting work in as well!