The reverse row isn't a complicated move, but there's still plenty of room for error in the reverse row. Progress and regression can easily occur depending on the experience of the trainee. That, plus the fact that it's an excellent movement for the forearms, biceps, upper back, and lats, is why it should be included in almost every workout program in some form, form, and form.
It's not as sexy as a pull-up or pull-up, but it's easier, works similar muscles, and most lifters can do more reps of the reverse row than the above exercises. What does that mean? It means more impressive back wins for you, but only if you do it right. We're not talking about small mistakes here, but about mistakes that prevent you from getting the most out of this excellent exercise.
Let's understand how to do it, what is needed for reverse row and four common reverse row mistakes that prevent your wins.
Let's row to grow, baby, with these fixes for common reverse row mistakes!
How to do the reverse row
- Place a dumbbell on the bar in the squat rack at a height where your body is off the floor when you extend your arms.
- Lie under the dumbbell and align it with your lower chest.
- Grasp the dumbbell with an overhand or underhand grip slightly wider than shoulder-width and straighten your legs while staying on the floor.
- Tighten your glutes and perform a hip extension to stand with your body in a straight line from head to heel.
- Draw your lower chest toward the bar by bringing your shoulder blades together.
- When your shoulder blade is fully contracted, lower it until your elbows are straight.
Form fixes for reverse row errors
- Grip strength because if you can't grab it, you can't tear it.
- Your core and glutes are strong, so you don't buckle in the middle like a deck chair when you reverse row.
- front shoulder and elbow discomfort as the barbell locks you in an under or over grip; it can aggravate already damaged joints.
- A good amount of shoulder and chest mobility to keep shoulders down and chest up and spine neutral.
note: Some of the above can be circumvented by backtracking the reverse barbell row by placing the barbell higher on the squat so that gravity plays less of a role.
4 Common Reversed Line Mistakes and Fixes
The reverse row is less technical than a barbell squat or deadlift, but there are a few things to watch out for to get the most out of this excellent exercise. Here are four common mistakes to watch out for when doing reverse barbell rows.
lose wrist position
If you lose neutral wrist position and start pulling with bent or "broken" wrists, the load shifts more to your elbows and shoulders, which can cause them to flip you over. Also, it tires your grip strength and limits the number of repetitions you have to perform.
Fix it: Keeping your wrist straight is simple advice, but sometimes it's not easy. There are a few things you can do if wrist flexing is a problem. First, remember to pull your elbows and not your hands. Two wrist straps or a grip assistant will work, or keep your wrists neutral using a soccer bar, 90 degree grips, or a TRX variant.
Pull up to your chest
For best results, pulling on the lower chest is best. Pulling on the upper chest decreases lat attachment, increases activation of the upper back, and can lead to shoulder lock.
Fix it: During the build phase, take the time to align your lower chest with the barbell. If you find that you're pulling your chest up too far, stop and reset the exercise so your lower chest is in line with the barbell.
Think of the reverse row as a moving inverted plank, or more specifically, a Chinese plank. If you lose tension with all of these exercises, you lose good position due to arching in your lower back. If you lose tension in your glutes, your body will sag and all the benefits of the reverse row will be lost.
Fix it: Let's state the obvious from the start: tighten your glutes. Crack a walnut between your cheeks or any other sign that tells you to work your butt. If you lose tension, stop the set, rest, and then resume.
Incorrect hand position
Reverse rows require a grip that's wider than shoulder width because you don't want your upper arm to hit the side and block all range of motion. Similar to a push-up, you need a 45-degree upper arm angle.
Fix it: When setting up, take your time to find the best grip and make sure your hands are NOT directly in line with your shoulders.