The inverted row is a versatile and widely available bodyweight movement that can be done nearly anywhere, with very little equipment and set up. In this article we will discuss a few options to perform inverted rows at you home or while traveling, and discuss an effective set x rep strategy for increased muscle and strength.
Inverted Row Options
The combinations of inverted rowing and the tools that can be used are infinite, which is why inverted rows are a great way to train the back and body at home and/or while traveling. Below are some quick and easy ways to set up some inverted rows in your own home/garage/backyard. Please note that some of the set ups can end in falls and potential injury if you do them incorrectly or if door frames and other equipment are not stable. This is not an instructional guide on how to properly set the following options up, rather this can be used to promote general awareness on the various options available.
The TRX® suspension trainer is a great tool to have when looking to build out your home gym or travel bag with a versatile piece of training equipment. Simply using this on the back of door frames, hooking around tree branches, or support beams on a sturdy structure is all it takes to upgrade your home gym. The inverted row can be done in similar fashion to the below bed sheet + doorframe set up, but has the additional bonuses of adjustable straps, sturdy handles, etc. In the below demo video proper setup and execution of the inverted row is shown in the door frame option.
Bedsheet + Door Frame Inverted Row
This set up is so simple, and typically FREE (since most people have bed sheets at their home). In the below video you will see how simple and sturdy this option can be. This option also has a higher demand on grip strength (similar to towel pull ups and rows) as there are no handles to hold. Rather, individuals must grasp chunks of the bed sheet and perform inverted rows while maintaining a strong grip using the forearms and hands. This can be manipulated by having the individual walk with feet forward or backwards to change the angle of the body (more vertical or more horizontal).
Bar Inverted Row
If you find yourself outdoors or in the garage you may come across a stable bar or beam that can be used as a base for the inverted row. While the angles may not be the best (depending on the structure), you may still be able to set yourself up to challenge the back and core by propping your feet up onto a bench/box (such as in the video below). The usage of sturdy, odd objects, and the versatility of this bodyweight rowing option make the inverted row a great go to movement for nearly any place and ability level.
How to Program Inverted Rows
Programming the inverted row can be done in a wide array of reps, sets, and intensities. I generally recommend for most individuals looking for fitness and a good muscular workout, to perform 4-6 sets of 8-12 repetitions using an intensity (how hard the row is) of an eight out of ten. This means that you will feel muscular fatigue yet will not have poor form or breakdown in the movement integrity. Rest periods should be kep to 45-90 seconds for most individuals. You can take things further by rowing for time, or using tempo paces to increase time under tension in this movement. I prefer using a 2-2-2-2 cadence (2 seconds going up smoothly, 2 seconds holding in up position, 2 seconds coming down slowly, 2 seconds holding in down position). This is a great way to increase strength and muscle mass throughout the entire range of motion.
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