Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Technique Tuesday - Row

I managed to get to the gym today as my lovely friend Willow took India for a walk for an hour whilst I went to the gym and even enjoyed a quick shower.  It was legs training day for me but since I covered a squat last week I am going to look at a different body part today as part of our technique Tuesday.

Today I am going to talk about a 'row'

 Muscles worked - Rhomboids, Latissimus Dorsi, Biceps

Rows can be done in various positions but the main and great thing about including rows in your workout as a mum is that it will strengthen the muscles between you shoulder blades, your rhomboids, these are the muscles that, when combined with a good chest stretch will help you to stand up straight and maintain good posture.  Which is really important as we spend a lot of time in a
hunched position during feeding, rocking and carrying our babies.

 Stretch your chest and strengthen your back is a great rule of thumb

Rows can be done using cables, free weights or as you can see in this picture resistance elastics.  I will refer to the elastics as they are a great low cost, easy to store and carry piece of equipment that you can use at home or the park in your own workouts.  They come in various 'weights' and you can use them for many different exercises.  Check them out here

Let's look at a few technique points for performing a great row:
(you can do rows standing or sitting, I am going to talk about a standing row as I think it's always good to use as many core stabilisers as possible and this is achieved in this exercise when standing)
  • Feet hip width apart and knees slightly bent
  • Chest up and shoulders down
  • Have an awareness through your transverse abdominal muscles
  • The elastic for this particular row should be attached to something hip height or lower
  • Start with hands face down 
  • Retract your shoulder blades first drawing you shoulders backwards then bend at the elbows to bring the handles in to just below the ribs
  • Focus on keeping your shoulders relaxed and your chest up
  • Breathing out as you bring your hands to the ribs
  • Slowly return to the starting point
  • Just check in at the end of each rep to ensure your shoulders are down and traps relaxed - as mums we have a tendency to have our shoulders up by our ears a lot!
Back exercises are the ones that are often forgotten in our workouts.  If you are in the park it is easy to do push-ups and triceps dips for the upper body and we often neglect the back.  Always try to balance your workouts so if you are including a push-up which works the chest and triceps you need to include a back exercise (which will work the back and biceps).  In fact in a lot of my program planning I choose two back exercises to one chest exercise - as a population and certainly as mums we have tight chests and weak backs so it doesn't make sense to keep training the chest on its own as this will only make us tighter and more hunched over.

To top off a great row include a good chest stretch also - here's to standing up straighter!

Thank you to my lovely models for today - Erica and Kylie :)

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