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Back Kinesiology

Watch the video with Andre Noel Potvin to learn positions for the row.

Back Kinesiology –  Form and Function of The Back Muscles During a Row

Wide grip Bent Over Row or Seated Row with High Elbows

This is a great exercise to focus really on the mid-back musculature (rhomboids, mid-trapezius and posterior deltoid).  When you perform a pulling movement with the arm high and out to the side (movement in the transverse plane), there is a greater emphasis on the mid-back musculature (rhomboids, mid trapezius) than on the large back muscles (latissimus dorsi).  To maximize the growth of these mid-back muscles, it is important to use a load that fatigues the muscle (still maintaining proper body alignment) in 8-12 reps with 2-5 seconds per repetition.

Narrow Grip Bent Over/Seated Row – with Elbows by Your Side

This is a great exercise to focus really on the large back muscle (latissimus dorsi). When you perform a pulling movement with the arms out front and then drawn in by your side (movement in the sagittal plane), there is a strong emphasis on the large back muscle (latissimus dorsi) with a secondary load on the mid-back musculature (rhomboids, mid trapezius). To maximize the growth of the latissimus dorsi muscle, it is important to use a load that fatigues the muscle (still maintaining proper body alignment) in 8-12 reps with 2-5 seconds per repetition.
Movement in the sagittal plane (arms out front and drawn in by your side).

To transfer the load on the spine and its ligaments, it is important to…

Avoid rounding your spine when bending over to pick-up a heavy object

Contract your spinal back musculature (erector spinae group) to UNLOAD the spinal ligaments (arch your back slightly and pull your shoulders back and down)

The erector spinae muscles need to be functionally fit. This means they must be able to hold the spine in this ‘arched back’ position while you are bent forward at the hips for at least 60 seconds so as to prepare them for daily activities such as lifting a baby out of a stroller or heavy groceries out of the trunk of the car repeatedly.

André Noël Potvin, MSc, CES, CSCS, TFL, is a Clinical Exercise Specialist and Owner of Infofit, North America’s Premier School for Health and Fitness Education.