2017 new fitness journey V: pulling power

Ladies, how to get pulling power


Last week was all about pushing, this week it’s all about pulling.

Mastering the correct technique is essential for all lifters, but this post should offer most benefit to desk workers, as this exercise is wonderful in helping improve posture.

The pull or row

Whether using a barbell, dumbbell or cable, the row/pull movement should be consistent, measured and smooth. The most important aspect is to make sure you are engaging your back muscles. Too often these muscles, especially the lats, are neglected or not properly engaged in the movement, with many individuals yanking the weight with their arms instead.

What you need to focus on:

The first part of the row is to retract your shoulder blades back and squeeze them together, so your traps, rhomboids and lats are engaged

Then you must pull through your shoulder and elbow, maintaining all the tension through your back muscles. Your aim is to bring your elbow as far back as you can, while maintaining tension on the upper back

The primary aim is not to try to bring the bar or dumbbell as close to your body as possible. If this is the focus most people end up yanking the weight and lose all tension in their back muscles, missing the purpose of the exercise. Focus on the muscles the exercise is designed to work. Your aim must be to pull through your traps, rhomboids and lats, with your arms acting as a secondary draw

On the return, make sure your shoulder blades remain tight together, extending the arm out first before then disengaging the shoulder blades to achieve a full stretch

Creating as much tension in your back muscles as possible is the aim, so theses muscles must do the heavy lifting; and make sure you achieve a full stretch to a full contraction of the back muscles.

If initially you don’t have a very wide range of movement, look to improve on this before trying to add weight. To help perfect and improve technique, focus on how you pull in your daily life. For example, when opening a door, engage your back muscles first rather than just yanking with your arm or shoulder. Resetting your body’s default movement pattern for all pulling will both accelerate improvement in training as well as reduce the chance of a shoulder injury.

The reward will be better posture, which just might help your other ‘pulling powers’ too, when it comes to attracting a partner…


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          About the author

Alex is a registered Master Trainer and Nutritional Advisor with Level 4 qualifications in obesity and diabetes. He is also a strength specialist and a Ni Dan in Shotokan Karate.

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