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Re-Invent Your Rowing Technique

When you hear the term "row," it should be synonymous with some form of pulling motion. There are two forms of pulling patterns: vertical pulling and horizontal pulling. For example, think of pull-ups as a vertical pull and a bent-over row as a horizontal pull.

In the group fitness setting, I see A LOT of less than stellar rowing form that likely contributes to the overwhelming amount of shoulder injuries/limitations I see. From my perspective, and for no fault of their own, most people don't perform pulling movements correctly or just haven't been coached properly.

As described to me by one of my strength & conditioning mentors, Eric Cressey, you want to visualize the scapula "sliding across the rib cage" as you reach forward or outward then pulling back and "tucking it in" on the backside of the ribs. The scapula, or shoulder blade, should be able to move freely in order to keep the ball-and-socket function of the shoulder working properly.

Often times, I see clients keeping their scapula "locked down" where only the arm is moving. This is ineffective in keeping the shoulder joint healthy in the long-term because it creates more of a lat-dominant rowing pattern. If that person is already lat-dominant, then you risk causing muscular asymetries.

You ever notice lingering neck and shoulder pain or headaches after training your upper body when doing overhead pressing or pulling movements? Next time you train, pay attention to your shoulders. Keep them down and away from the ears while also maintaining upright posture. This sort of alignment is ideal for proper form when it comes to rowing and pressing overhead.

Here is a great example of proper technique in a horizontal pulling exercise:

Here is an example of a vertical pulling exercise. Take note of how "freely" my shoulder blades move on each repetition.

For the visual learners reading: does this make more sense? I hope so!

Really make sure to keep an eye on this next time you're training your upper body. A lot of good form over time can do wondrous things and may even fix some issues or pain you are having.

Conversely, imagine how it would go if you continued to use faulty technique in your horizontal pulling and vertical pulling. How do you think that would work out in the long-term? What do you think that would do for your posture?

All I'm saying is that you should really look into out-sourcing your fitness needs to a seasoned professional, someone who will make sure you're not wrecking your shoulders. Make sure to fill out my 'Contact' form to apply for one of my Online Coaching Programs for a more balanced training approach with an experienced coach. From there, I'll take care of the rest!

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