Upper-body Pull Exercises

 

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Chest Supported Row- Set up on a Chest Supported Row Machine with your feet either on the platform or on the ground.  There are two different hand options, one will be prescribed by your trainer.  As you unrack the weight, let your shoulder blades separate until you begin to row.  On the up phase of the row, squeeze your shoulder blades back and down while pushing your chest out and keep it in contact with the pad.  Continue for the prescribed amount of reps.  If you do not have access to a chest supported row machine you can do the exercise by using an adjustable incline bench and dumbells.  Simply adjust the bench so it is at about a 45 degree angle, plant your feet on the floor and rest your chest on the pad.  The rest of the procedure stays the same, only with dumbells.

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Bent Leg Inverted Row- Start by setting up a bar in a squat rack or smith machine at about waist height or a little higher.  Crawl underneath the bar and grab it so that your hands are about shoulder width apart.  Bend your knees so that your legs are at around a 90 degree angle and squeeze your glutes to lift your hips.  You will hold this position throughout the entire exercise as you row.  Row by squeezing your shoulder blades back and down and driving your chest up to the bar as you pull.  Keep your chest up and your shoulder blades back and down throughout the entire movement.  Make sure you do not shrug your shoulders as you row.  Continue for the prescribed reps.

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Straight Leg Inverted Row-  Set up in a squat rack or smith machine with a bar a little higher than waist high.  Crawl under the bar and grip it with your hands about shoulder width apart.  Keep your legs straight and your entire body in a straight line throughout the entire movement.  Row by squeezing your shoulder blades back and down and pushing your chest up toward the bar as you pull.  Keep your shoulder blades pulled back and down and your chest up throughout the entire set.  Continue for the prescribed amount of reps.

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Bent Row- Set up a barbell either in a squat rack or on the floor.  If you start from a standing position, lower yourself until the barbell is positioned in the middle of your shin.  If you start from the ground pick the barbell up until it is in the middle of your shin.  Your back should be in a neutral position throughout the movement.  It should not round or over extend.  To keep your back in a neutral position, put a slight arch in your lower back and pull your shoulder blades back and down.  Distribute your weight from your mid foot to your heel to help with balance.  Row by squeezing the bar up while pushing your chest out toward the bar.  At the top the bar should touch a little lower than your sternum.  Your arms and elbows should be at a 45 degree angle to your body throughout the entire movement. 

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Dumbell Bent Row- This variation of the bent row follows the same protocol as the barbell bent row (see above) only it is performed with dumbells.  You can either perform the exercise with your hands in a neutral position (palms in) or pronated position (palms down), this will be determined by your trainer.

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One Arm Bent Row-  This exercise has the same procedure as the barbell bent row (see above), only you will be rowing with a dumbell in only one hand.

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Pull-Up (neutral grip)- When doing a neutral grip pull-up your palms should be facing each other.  So, you need to find a pull-up station with neutral handles.  Squeeze the handles and pull by pushing your chest up toward the bar and pulling your shoulders back and down.  Your chest should be up and your shoulders should be back and down throughout the entire movement, make sure not to shrug your shoulders up as you pull.  You can either cross your legs or bend them slightly.  Do not let your self drop on the way back to the starting position, control your body on the way down.  Continue for the prescribed reps.

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Pull-Up (supinated grip)- Form for the supinated grip pull-up is essentially the same as for the neutral grip pull-up (see above).  The only thing that changes is the grip.  For this variation of the pull-up you will have your hands set shoulder width apart gripping the bar with your palms facing toward you.  To make sure you have your hands in the proper position, turn your hands over so your palms are facing up before you grip the bar.  Once your hands are set follow the normal pull-up protocol.

Pull-Up (pronated grip)- Form for this pull-up variation is the same as all other variations, only this time your palms are facing away from you when you grip the bar.  It is also called an over-hand grip.  To make sure you are setting your grip properly, hold your hands in front of you with your palms facing down before you grip the bar. 

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Pull-Up (mixed grip)- This pull-up variation is a combination of the supinated and pronated grip pull-ups.  You will grip the bar with one hand supinated (underhand) and the other pronated (overhand).  All other pull-up form is held constant. 

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Supinated Grip Lat Pulldown-  Start by setting up a straight bar on a lat pull-down machine.  Adjust the thigh pads so that you can get your legs underneath them so they are snug but comfortable.  Grip the bar shoulder width apart or slightly closer with a supinated grip (underhand).  When you begin to pull, push your chest up toward the bar and squeeze your shoulder blades back and down, make sure not to shrug your shoulders up as you pull.  Keep your shoulder blades back and down and your chest up toward the bar throughout the entire movemet.  Continue for the prescribed reps.

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Pronated Grip Lat Pulldown- Start by setting up a straight bar on a lat pull down machine.  Adjust the thigh pads so that they are snug to your legs but comfortable.  Grip the bar with a pronated grip (overhand), the width of the grip will be determined by your trainer’s prescription.  When you begin to pull, push your chest up toward the bar and squeeze your shoulder blades back and down, make sure not to shrug your shoulders up as you pull.  Keep your shoulder blades back and down and your chest up toward the bar throughout the entire movemet.  Continue for the prescribed reps. 

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Seated Row- This exercise can be done with several different attachments for the machine, which implement you use will be determined by your trainer’s prescription.  The form essentials, however, will stay the same no matter what attachment is used.  Start by gripping the attachment with both hands while keeping your legs bent and your feet planted on the foot rests.  Straighten your legs so that they are still slightly bent while still gripping the attachment.  You will arch your lower back slightly to keep a neutral spine and make sure that your torso stays upright throughout the entire movement.  Once you are in this position, let your shoulder blades separate while staying upright.  To pull, pull your shoulder blades back and down while pushing your chest out toward the attachment.  Be sure not to shrug your shoulders up as you row.  Continue for the prescribed amount of reps.

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Cable Face Pull- Start by setting up a rope attachment on the top level of a cable attachment machine.  You will grab the rope with a neutral grip (palms in).  Step back and lean back slightly, you can either keep your feet square or stagger them slightly.  Your shoulders should stay square to the machine.  You will pull by squeezing your shoulder blades back and down, pushing your chest out and keeping your elbows above your shoulders.  You should pull the rope directly toward your eyes, allowing the rope to separate on each side of your face.  Be sure not to shrug your shoulders up as you pull.  You want to feel as though the muscles attached to your shoulder blades in the middle of your upper back are doing most of the work.

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One Arm Dumbell Row- Set up on an exercise bench with one hand and the knee of the leg on the same side of your body posted on the bench.  Your other leg should be wider than shoulder width apart straight directly out to the side.  Your free hand will be rowing the dumbell.  Make sure to put a slight arch in your lower back to keep your spine in a neutral position.  To row, squeeze your exercising shoulder blade back and down as you pull the dumbell directly into your rib cage.  Your elbow should be tight to your body the whole time.  Make sure not to shrug your working shoulder up as you row.  On the down phase allow your upper back to rotate as you lower the weight, but keep your lower back stable.  Continue for the prescribed amount of reps.

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Dumbell Shrugs- Start by grabbing two dumbells of equal weight and hold them at your sides.  You will keep your shoulder blades pulled back for the entire movement.  Make sure you keep your head up throughout the movement as well.  From here, shrug your shoulders while keeping your shoulder blades pulled back.  Continue for the prescribed amount of reps.

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Lateral Raises- Start by grabbing two dumbells of equal weight and hold them at your sides.  Raise the dumbells by squeezing your deltoids and traps.  Keep your shoulder blades pulled back, and though you are using your traps to raise the weight do not shrug your shoulders to raise the weight.  You want the dumbells to travel in a direct line up from your sides, you will finish with the dumbells parallel to the ground with the outsides of your hands rotated up.  Continue for the prescribed amount of reps.

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Front Raises- Start with two dumbells of equal weight at your sides, from there you will keep your arms straight and raise the dumbells using your deltoids until your arms are parallel with the ground.  Your hands will stay in a neutral position (palms in) throughout the exercise.  Return the dumbells down the same path and continue for the prescribed reps.

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Standing Rear Delt Flys- Start by grabbing two dumbells of equal weight and hold them at your sides.  Bend your knees and bring your chest down toward your legs until your torso is about parallel with the ground.  Make sure to keep a slight arch in your lower back so that your spine stays in a neutral position.  You will complete the whole exercise from this position.  You can either keep your arms straight or bend them, this will be determined by your trainer.  Lift the dumbells straight up from the side by squeezing your shoulder blades together and pulling with your upper back and deltoids.  Make sure not to shrug your shoulders as you lift the dumbells.  Raise the dumbells until your arms are parallel with the ground, lower the dumbells back down the same path and continue for the prescribed amount of reps.

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Seated Rear Delt Flys-  Seated rear delt flys follow almost exactly the same protocol as standing rear delt flys (see above).  However, you will obviously be seated for this variation.  It works best if you sit at the end of an exercise bench with your knees bent and a slight arch in your lower back so your spine stays in a neutral position.  Allow the weight to travel underneath your legs when returning to the start position.

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Standing Alternating Dumbell Curl- Start by grabbing two dumbells of equal weight and holding them at your sides.  Stand erect with your chest out and your shoulders back, hold this position throughout the entire exercise.  Your hands will start in a neutral position (palms in) and rotate to a supinated position (palms up) as you curl.  Keep your arms in the same position throughout the movement, do not swing the weight or shrug your shoulders to aid in curling the dumbell.  Return the dumbell back down the same path and finish the movement with your hands in a neutral position before beginning the next rep.  Continue for the prescribed amount of reps.

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