PURPOSE OF EXERCISE: To thicken the upper back. This exercise also helps widen the upper back and, to a lesser degree, adds density to the lower back.
EXECUTION: (1) Standing with feet a few inches apart, grasp the bar with a wide, overhand grip. With your knees slightly bent, bend forward until your upper body is about parallel to the floor. Keep your back straight, head up, and let the bar hang at arm's length below you, almost touching the shinbone.
(2) Using primarily the muscles of the back, lift the bar upward until it touches the upper abdominals, then lower it again, under control, back to the starting position; then immediately start your next rep. It is important to make the back work so as not to make this a biceps exercise. Think of the arms and hands as hooks, a way of transmitting the contraction of the lats to the bar. Don't bring the bar up to the chest area itself; bringing it only to the abdomen reduces the role of the arms. Make sure your first set of any rowing exercise is relatively light to let your back get warmed up. By the time you get to your last set, a little bit of cheating is all right to get you through it, but keep it to a minimum.
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