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How To: Inverted Row

Inverted Row
The inverted row is a fantastic, functional back and core exercise that can be performed just about anywhere, be it at the park or by holding onto the bar of your smith machine on a low setting.

For all the newcomers out there I recommend mastering the inverted row before moving on to body weight pull-ups, not only will it assist in developing back and core strength, but you'll become accustom to the movement of pulling through the back and contracting your shoulder blades.

Movement: Compound

Targets: Back & Core

Required: Horizontal Bar

Optional: N/A

Inverted Row Form:

Adjust your smith machine with the barbell at waist height.

Grip the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width, place your heels firm on the ground and maintain a straight body.

Squeeze your shoulder blades together as your move your elbows down and back, forcing your chest up toward the bar.

Pause and contract at the top before lowering yourself back down until your arms are fully extended.

Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Common Inverted Row Mistakes

Using Partial Range Of Motion

Each repetition should begin with your arms fully extended below your torso and end with the barbell up against your torso with your shoulder blades squeezed together.

See also
How To: Triceps Pushdown

Jerking Your Body To Complete The Repetition

The duration of the repetition should be slow and controlled, the top (contraction) portion of the repetition is by far the hardest, and if you're jerking your entire body to get the contraction this is a clear sign it's time to lower the number of repetitions per set.


Not Squeezing The Shoulder Blades Together

Every back exercise comes down to getting the correct contraction - the contraction is a result of squeezing your shoulder blades together and tensing your back muscles as you've pulled the weight towards your torso. You cannot get this contraction without squeezing the shoulder blades.

I feel as if I repeat this point far too often, however for years I was merely training my back without contracting the muscles correctly... needless to say for a few years my back lagged behind the rest of my physique in terms of both size and strength.

Similar & Substitute Exercises 

  • Bent Over Row
  • Seated Cable Row
  • Lat Pulldown
  • Pull-Ups

Any Questions Regarding The Inverted Row? Ask Below!

Scott J.
Scott J.
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

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