THE BODY-ROW, WITH EXTRA STATIC HOLDS...

Great for posture, arms and upper back musculature...these are a great way to improve your Body-Rows. Give yourself a full 5-second hold at the top of each rep and master that position.

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HOW TO DO BODY-ROWS -- EXTRA STATIC STYLE:

The mechanics of this are exactly the same as in Month 3, but this month we put waaay more emphasis on the top position. Rather than do traditional reps, we pause for 5 seconds at the top of every rep.

HOW TO DO IT
The mechanics are exactly the same as last month, but stop at the top and:

SQUEEZE YOUR CHEST UP MORE — Strive to make it as big as possible.

ROLL YOUR SHOULDERS BACK MORE — the more you squeeze your shoulders back, the more your back will work, the better you’ll look and the stronger you’ll be.

FEEL FOR MORE CONTRACTION IN YOUR UPPER BACK AND REAR SHOULDERS — and it’s not always easy to feel, until you’re really good at training.

HOW MANY?

IF IT’S A PURE STRENGTH MONTH – pick a progression that let’s you do 3 reps.

IF IT’S A MID STRENGTH MONTH — pick a progression that let’s you do 5 reps

IF IT’S A STRENGTH ENDURANCE MONTH — pick a progression that lets you do 6-8 reps.

HOW YOU PEOPLE MESS IT UP...

Two particularly egregious things to look out for:

YOU DON'T HOLD LONG ENOUGH -- Count a bit slower maybe.

YOU GO FOR TOO MUCH -- If you over-shoot on these, you may end up basttling with a progression where you can't quite hit perfect position at the top. That defeats the point of these. Go back a level and make sure it feels perfect.

Then, the errors from the standard Body-Row still apply:

YOU SHRUG – If you’re a modern day human, a modern day human with an office job, a modern day human that hasn’t been taught carefully in the gymnasium, then you’re a high risk candidate for shrugging on these. If you have forward head posture at all – you’re bound to shrug at first. The trapezius muscles will take over the move and your upper back may well be a bit lazy and uncoordinated…

The fix – extreme care and focus to keep a long neck, keep the shoulders down and to generate a mind-muscle connection with the upper back musculature and shoulder blade retractors. Make sure you feel the muscles working and make sure that you get your shoulders right back. Practice light, don’t try for too many and build up really slowly if you struggle at first.

YOU DON’T RETRACT THE SHOULDER BLADES – They should be squeezed back down and together. At the top of the move they should be squeezing towards each other and into the spine as the chest comes up. Don't just pull with your arms and be lazy with the upper back.

YOU DONT GET THE SHOULDERS BACK – If the above errors happen, the shoulders won’t have been pulled back enough. You must feel the whole glenohumeral joint (the bit the arm connects to) being pulled backwards.

YOU DON’T BEND THE ARMS ENOUGH – If you end up hands down by your waist somewhere, you haven’t let the biceps get involved enough. We want about 90 degrees of bending at the elbow.

YOU AVOID THE WORK – If the body doesn’t remain straight (typically the hips sag), you’ve subconsciously shifted your weight so you don’t have to lift it. The only movement should be at the shoulder, elbow and shoulder blades. Not the torso. Naughty.

WICKED CUES!

PUT YOUR SHOULDER BLADES IN YOUR BACK POCKET – Please oh, please, do not take this one literally. It’s a visualisation trick. ‘The Scaps’, pulled down and inwards is our goal. Imagine pulling them towards your back pocket can be a very useful thought. Try it.

CRUSH YOUR SPINE – Squeeze the upper back muscles in towards the spine hard.

CLOSE THE BOOK – Imagine your back is closing up behind you like a hard back book.

SHOW YOUR CHEST OFF – like Arnold. Or Pamela. Whatever works for you.

STAY STRAIGHT. LIKE A PENCIL – so you’re body doesn’t move around while you’re going up and down. Takes a bit of core strength, but not that much.

WHY DO IT TO YOURSELF?!

BODY-ROWS — Will give you great arms, upper back and rear shoulders while being great for your posture and offering you rather nice carry-over strength to your Chin Ups.

EXTRA STATICS ARE GREAT FOR:

EXTRA TIME-UNDER-TENSION — It stops us from racing through messy reps at he speed of light and not getting the effect we think we’ve earned. For best results you need your muscles to be working for a decent amount of time.

VARIETY OF REPS / STIMULUS — We want the body to face a variety of different styles of training to ensure we don’t plateau. Continuously mixing up the speed of reps and the style of strength work helps with this.

EXTRA ATTENTION TO DETAIL — If you try to train properly, and you’re not one of these few very strong and natural athletes who do everything perfectly every time, sometimes you need to slow things down so you have time to get everything right.

DOING BETTER REPS — I’ve seen this for years on Body Rows, people race to the top, barely get there and crash back down again. But it doesn’t work if you don’t do it properly.

So I like to train people to spend longer on it: see it as two movements: 1) Get to the top. 2) Hold – and spend time improving position — longer spine, shoulder blades retracted more, and chest up more. Doing it like this trains in good technique and gives the muscles time to ‘learn to be there’.

ALTERNATIVES...

If you don’t have the equipment, or you struggle to hold your head in line / get neck pain on these, you may need to change them up. If that’s you, the best alternatives (other than seeing a physio about your weak or overactive neck), as ever in order of preference, are these:

--> BACK SUPPORT

—> EXTRA CHIN UPS

—> DUMBBELL ROWS

—> GYM HORIZONTAL ROW MACHINE

—> BICEP WORK

—> RESISTANCE BAND ROWS

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