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Hanging or horizontal rows.

Description: This is a rowing exercise, also called a 'lat pull'.

Motions trained: This trains two motions. Pulling towards the chest and lowering the arms. This last motion is almost done ismoetrically.

Main muscles used: Latissimus dorsi, biceps
   Other muscles: deltoids, abdominals, hip extensors (if the legs are extended).


How to do it: Do a lever and while remaining in that position, pull yourself to the bar, staying tucked in a nice ball.

How to work up to it: Rowing machines are an ok start. Find a low bar someplace that you can almost reach while lying on your back. Use that to support your lower body. Start first by just moving your upper body, then progress by keeping your body straight, forcing your abdomenals to work. When you can do a good 10 of these in a row with your body straight, consider trying the hanging version. You should also do levers and hanging leg lifts to get the other components down. When you feel that you are more or less ready, have a friend give you a helping hand on the tailbone. You should try to lift yourself off his hand, but he should help if you are wobbly. Have him help you up, then do negatives. Once these feel fairly solid, add in positives.

Ramping it up: Gradually work on extending your legs. To do this, splay them out in the chinese splits first, since this gets the hip muscles involved, but does not too drastically alter your center of gravity, which would vastly tax the deltoids. Now over the course of a few months, bring your legs together.

There is not a one-handed version of this – there can't be. But you can use a towel looped over the bar. The hand that grabs that can be made to contribute less by grabbing lower. You can also use two towels if you want lots of fun (?!) trying to stabilize.

Do's and don'ts: Don't get your hips too high, try to keep your back parallel to the floor. Don't underestimate the straing on your lats and deltoids to hold you.

Comments: This is a grand exercise and if you get the legs extended, looks impossible to observers. You will note that there will seem to be some motion back and forth as you do these, all on the axis your spine is on. That is natural and your body is just following the path it must: It is rowing machines that force an unnatural path. I find that if I use a rowing machine with my bodyweight piled on it, I get elbow pain, but have never experienced it in a hanging row.