Happy Thursday everyone, for those in northeast I know you all have dropped to your knees and thanked who or whatever you believe in that the humidity dropped for a couple days. It was nice to not go outside and feel like I needed to swim through the air.
Alright enough of that, on to the subject for today. Most hammerheads you see in a typical commercial gym are doing bench, bi's and tri's like Gabriel Iglesias eating tacos. Most of them, along with the majority of the developed world, sit at a desk all day. The combination is just begging for an injury.
One thing that is really easy to cycle into any program that's very press or push heavy, is some sort of row or pull. Here's an easy list of those pulls that you can do in most gyms (some of the harder ones perhaps not). There's a million directions to go with these, point being don't start with with a TRX row and feet elevated unless you're competent in some less challenging moves first. Not every list of progressions is perfect for everyone, but it's good to have a starting point at least.
Seated Cable Row: This is a pretty basic exercise that most people can still butcher the heck out of, it's usually 2 big culprits. Rounded back on the extension part, causing flexion in the spine (not something you typically want. Once people get out of bad habit one, they go into bad habit too which is something I call over rowing. yes believe it or not you can pull too far, far enough to the point where the head of your shoulder will slip out of place. Not detrimental if it happens once, but over and over under load can lead to BIG problems.
Face Pulls: These probably can go into the same difficulty as seated rows. I love face pulls to get people out of the habit of having their elbows so tight to their body on a pull. Of course having the elbows super high next your ears probably isn't the greatest thing, so like many things in fitness, the best solution is in the middle somewhere.
TRX/BB Inverted Rows: Love these things, usually most people that start training get a program with these in it, for me at least. If you don't have a TRX using a squat rack and a bar is a pretty good substitute, most gyms these days have a TRX for public use...most. These also tend to have some big fails. Many newbies tend to a bunch of movement in their lumbo pelvic (aka hips) area, their shouldn't be any. There's an easy fix to that, squeeze your glutes and your core while you row, should be a nice straight line. The two big "oh boys" from the seated rows tend to crop up here, see above for ideas on fixing those.
Chest Supported Row: These guys are pretty fool proof apart from the errors already mentioned in variations above. As long as you don't try lay on the bench while it's raised at a 90 degree angle you should be good. Keep the arm/elbow at around 45 degrees and don't "over row" and you're set. Also best not to put your face actually on the best, lay so the only thing actually on the bench is your bench/torso. A face full of bench is just unpleasant.
BB Bent Over Rows: I usually don't throw this at someone until they've been with me for 2-3 months. Yes if you coach the crap out of it you can probably get in the right position...to start. Most people wind up standing up more and more as their grip starts to go. If you can't do a proper RDL or have issues with rounding your shoulders during away, master those first before getting to this. Any error with those will definitely come out when you do these, so make sure you've got those positions and movements on lock.
That pretty much wraps up the list, at least to start. Obviously there are tons of 1-arm variations to go with the stuff above. The stuff on the TRX can be varied and modified to really create some killer moves. Things like Seal Rows and Pendlay Rows are a step above the Bent Over row, but I think if you're starting with the basics the 5 variations above are a damn good start.
Work these into a routine and you'll notice a few things happen; you're shoulder and back won't be barking at your nearly as much, you're upper back will start to look a little more like Hugh Jackman's in Wolverine (temper the expectations just a bit though) and all the pressing variations will improve as well. Yeah there's science behind that too, you can look it up, guys like Eric Cressey's have said it better than I can.
That's what I got today, go out there and get after it!
Jarrod Dyke, CSCS