How to Do Bodyweight Rows at Home | Tips & Benefits

This exercise is sometimes referred to as “Australian pull-ups” or horizontal pull-ups. It corresponds to the slang name of Australia – “down there”. Who invented this beautiful exercise is not known for sure. But a lot of specialists use it in physical therapy, children’s gymnastics, crossfit and fitness workouts for many years. The movement will help develop the lateral muscles of the back to those who do not yet know how to pull up from the bar, or do it technically incorrectly – with a swing.

How to do rows properly

Starting position

  • Set the crossbar at waist level, or a little higher if you are a beginner and it is difficult to perform the movement from a lower position;
  • It is necessary to fix the projectile so as to eliminate the fall;
  • The grip is straight, a little wider than shoulder width or adequate width of the shoulders;
  • The body is straight, the pelvis is aligned, the hip joint is straight, and the muscles are taut;
  • Wrap your fingers around the bar, palm resting on the bar;
  • Abdomen taut and neutralize excessive lower back flexion


  • Bring your shoulder blades together against your spine and move your shoulders away from your ears;
  • Pull your chest up to the bar while continuing to bring your shoulder blades together and tense your lateral muscles;
  • Touch the bar, then lower your body back down;
  • Contract the muscles as you exhale, lower as you inhale;
  • Do the required number of repetitions while maintaining a straight body position and tightened glutes
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Pay attention

  • Pausing at the peak of the contraction will help you strengthen the lateral muscles better, and get rid of unnecessary movement;
  • Lowering should be relatively slow; just relaxing your muscles and lowering under the weight of gravity is not a good strategy;
  • Upward jerks and pelvic thrusts are not allowed;
  • It is necessary to turn off the legs as much as possible, not to involve the pelvis, hip joints and not to push with the legs


  • Rest your toes on the barbell pancake or plyometric box, it will help eliminate inertia and prevent slipping;
  • Pull up with your chest to the bar, the biomechanics of the movement is most similar to the inverted bench press, so the exercise will be useful for beginners bench pressers and just for those who want to learn to activate the muscles of the back and squeeze more;
  • Linger on top statically, this will strengthen the body muscles faster. The back is naturally quite strong, it just needs to be turned on, static will help the athlete progress and move more quickly to more challenging exercises;
  • Go up smoothly, and try to go down on 4 counts, that is, twice as slow;
  • If you have problems with grip, try to put your palm on the bar completely, make your grip deeper, do not work in a manner that involves in the movement “extra” muscles;
  • Don’t try to strain your biceps more, working them is not the main purpose of the parallel or horizontal pull-up;
  • Avoid pushing with your feet off the ground in order to progress faster
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  • Pull-ups with a narrow reverse grip. This movement involves more biceps and forearms due to its biomechanical nature. The exercise allows strengthening arms and forearms as much as the back, but it does not contribute to long-term progress in the development of the back muscles;
  • Pull-ups with a narrow straight grip. Involves the toothed muscles and makes the shoulders work, but also works the lateral muscle better at the same time;
  • Australian pull-up with wide grip. The most common variant, which develops the lateral. This variant you can perform with both straight and reverse grip, and involves the back most actively. Working out the muscles of the back will be even more active with the reverse grip, as the elbows of the athlete will be automatically pulled down to the belt;
  • Pulling up in training loops. This option is convenient because those who wish to do it can include the rear deltoid bundles as well as the lateral muscles of the back. Pulling up in loops works well for those who are just beginning to train, because you can stand close enough to the place where the projectile is attached and reduce the load so that it is optimal for a beginner. It is enough to perform the movement with the forearms pressed against the body, and you will achieve maximum activation of the lateral muscles of the back.

Which muscles work

In beginner programs, the exercise is present as one of the stages of preparation for the classic pull-up. The movement allows you to create an athletic V-shaped torso. The exercise helps to activate not only the muscles of the back, but also the muscles of the forearms and the palm, strengthens the grip, and prepares for the performance of all pulling movements.

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Working muscles:

  • The lateral and rhomboidal muscles of the back;
  • Trapezius and round muscles;
  • Biceps and forearm muscles;
  • Abs, glutes, and leg muscles as stabilizers

Beware of mistakes

  • Working in a part of the amplitude, not including the muscles of the back at the expense of pushing the legs;
  • Bending the legs at the knees, and pushing the pelvis to the bar;
  • Uneven movement, i.e. pulling with one arm and half of back;
  • Sparse shoulder blades at the moment of peak contraction;
  • Lack of rigid fixation of feet, “riding with legs”;
  • Delayed breathing during the exercise;
  • Haste and sloppy pace

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