2 Pulling Exercises for the Back

Keeping the upper back muscles strong is important for good posture and for preventing chronic neck and shoulder pain. Most people who sit a lot need extra work in this area. In your workouts, be sure to do at least as much pulling as you do pushing, if not more.

1

The standing tubing row is a great way to strengthen your upper back and improve your posture.

Grab your exercise tubing and insert the anchor into the hinge side of the door. Stand facing the anchor and split your feet so you’re braced with one foot ahead of the other. Begin with both arms straight ahead, palms facing each other.

Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull your elbows back, keeping your forearms parallel to the floor.

The end position is your shoulder blades squeezed in toward your spine and down away from your ears. Hold the squeeze for one second and then reverse the move back to the starting position.

2

Another common variation of the row is the single-arm row.

Start standing with a dumbbell in one hand. Step forward with the opposite leg and lean forward with a straight spine (no rounding), resting the non-dumbbell hand on your forward thigh.

Perform the rowing movement on the dumbbell side just like you perform the standing row — pull your shoulder blade back toward your spine and pull your arm back, keeping your forearm perpendicular to the ground. Try not to twist your upper body as you pull.

Hold the retracted position for one second and then return to the starting position.

If you find it too difficult to keep your back correct when doing the leaning-over version, try putting your knee and hand (the nonworking side) on a bench, chair, or exercise ball instead.

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