Rows: Best Progressions & Why They’re Important

shoulder dowel drill

The skill of shoulder packing is often introduced to gym newcomers during their first few visits. It is something that everyone needs to be aware of in order to maintain optimal shoulder health, especially in a general population setting. The person doing the TRX rows while their shoulders slowly get pulled from their sockets are just a quick drill away from cleaning up that shoulder position. Rows are a great compliment to any horizontal push movement like a bench press or pushups. Like Cal says in “Talladega Nights”, they “go together like cocaine and waffles”.

TRX Rows: You're doing them wrong
TRX Rows: You’re doing them wrong

The following will outline the importance of proper rowing progressions and how to go about obtaining maximum shoulder health.

Understanding “packing the shoulder” is a key principle moving forward for every new trainee. Incorporate the KISS principle here.

Skill: Shoulder Packing

Cue: “Shoulders back and down”, “Put your shoulders in your pockets” etc

Dowel Drill: Demonstrate unpacked shoulders versus packed. The latter will allow the trainee to be lifted as one line off the ground instead of coming up with shoulders first followed by the torso.

Rowing Progressions:

1. Half Kneeling Single Arm Cable Row

At the Training Room we start a newcomer off with a half kneeling single arm row. This allows the client to focus on the task at hand, rowing while maintaining a packed shoulder position.

2. Bench Batwings

In order to buildup a clients horizontal and vertical pulling ability, we include batwings to on a bench with kettle bells or dumbbells. Scapula control and rhomboid strength are huge benefits from batwing isometric holds.

3. TRX Rows

TRX Rows will then challenge the client to maintain optimal shoulder position while the difficulty increases over the course of training several training sessions due to the incline decreasing.

4. TRX Batwings

5. Feet Elevated TRX Rows

6. Feet Elevated TRX Batwings

e. Single Arm DB Row

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