The inverted row should be a staple in any gym routine. It is essentially the exact opposite of a pressup and works the upper back and arms pretty hard while you maintain a nice rigid body position. Like any exercise that involves lifting your bodyweight, the inverted row has quite a decent level of strength required before you can even do one, let alone use it to get stronger. There are variations though normally involving suspension straps but equally can be performed on the set up showing. These normally have your feet on the ground and can have knees bent so that you are at less of an angle rather than the parallel version shown. It is very simple to perform and brings some much needed balance to your routine to go along with all the pressing. It helps strengthen the upper back and postural muscles which are often overstretched and neglected.
Everyone knows what a pressup is and most likely there has been a time in your life where you could bash them out or where working towards one. They can be pretty effective up to a point when you are starting strength training and there are a few ways that you can both make them easier or harder depending on your current ability.
The hanging leg raise is great for working the abs in a way that transfers to many sporting and performance-based activities. They are required to hold a strong isometric contraction which is vital for transferring force during the prior mentioned activities. The legs create the resistance and having them straight out makes things tonnes more difficult. Remember to keep good control, especially eccentrically on the way down to get the most out of these. Make sure you have mastered the hanging knee raise before moving onto these.
The hanging knee raise is a great exercise for not only working the abs and bracing but integrating the active hang and pullup strength. You better have a decent level of upper body strength as you will be required to hang from a pullup bar just to be able to do this exercise. If you can hang, you should be able to do some good work through your core but your strength will dictate how controlled and how many you can do.
The Good Morning is a hip hinge movement and is very similar to the Romanian Deadlift in terms of execution. The only difference is where the weight is loaded and thus how it challenges the muscles involved. A well-executed good morning relies on a good hinge pattern. It can be inherently risking due to the forward lean and placement of the weight on the back so it is important to take this into consideration before planning it within your routine.
The Romanian deadlift is a great exercise to develop the hips and posterior chain. It is one of the foundational hip hinge movements and should be mastered to form the basis of any power development exercises. The Romanian deadlift can be a tricky one to pick up but it is always a good place to start for those newer to any form of deadlifting and always provides a useful tool for developing muscle and strength in the glutes, hamstrings and lower back.
The seated row is a useful machine as it allows you to focus on the muscles of the upper back and arms with more isolation than other forms of row. Other rowing variations tend to rely heavily on the core, spinal erectors and legs to keep you in a stable position to pull from which can sometimes hamper and limit the work out the muscles you are trying to work can get. The seated row allows you to brace against the chest pad while sitting tall so that you can place the focus firmly on the bigger upper back pulling muscles and those of the arms.
The Squat Jump is a great exercise for power development but this is the first one that I’d classify as intermediate to advanced. It is really only appropriate if you are training for sports or athletic performance as your primary outcome. More advanced athletes looking to develop power and particular how fast they can develop power will find the loaded squat jump a very useful tool. You must make sure that you have a strong squatting pattern and sounds jumping and landing mechanics before even considering loaded jumps like these as the forces start to multiple putting you at a higher risk if you are not in control.
The chin-up is the ultimate upper body pulling exercise. It requires a lot of strength to do though as unlike most other resistance exercises, we can’t change the load – we weigh what we weigh! It works the muscles of the upper back and the arms while the whole body has to work on keeping tight and maintain tension so that it can be transferred from the working muscles.
The lunge pattern can be a tricky one to learn, it is essentially a single leg version of a squat so a lot of strength and control is required before you are able to do them unassisted. When you are ready, the reverse lunge is a great place to start. It sets you up square and encourages you to load the right muscles and keep good alignment throughout. There are many variations to how you can load it from using suspension straps to assist the movement all the way to loading weight through a barbell on your back.
Allan Young is a Personal Trainer and coach educator in Glasgow who operates Strength Coach Glasgow and is a 4x Scottish Champion Olympic Weightlifter.