Health

This Deceptively Challenging TRX Row Bulletproofs Your Upper Body

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You’ve done rows before, and you know by now that rows build the critical back muscle that protects your shoulders while also giving you that V-taper. But few rows challenge your body the way the Loaded TRX Reach Row does.

An underrated move from Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S, the Loaded TRX Reach Row offers two benefits that few rows have. First off, it challenges you to manage your bodyweight, something that every person should learn to do, according to Samuel. “You can lift all the weights you want,” says Samuel, “but very often, when you’re lifting an external load, you can get lazy with your abs, glutes, and other stabilizing muscles. That can’t happen when you’re challenging yourself with bodyweight.”

Several inverted row variations help you get that bodyweight row work, but none of them can match the other characteristic of the Loaded TRX Reach Row: Rotational challenge. Most exercises (and most inverted rows) keep you in what’s called the “sagittal” plane, with all of your energy pushing you either forward or backward in the same direction that you’re walking. The Loaded TRX Reach Row pushes you to rotate at the waist — and because of the weight you’re using, it will help stretch your abs and hips at the bottom of the move, while pushing your abs and glutes to contract (and contract hard) as you reach a very light dumbbell toward the ceiling.

All of this not only builds that ever-important mid-back muscle. It also sculpts your abs and shoulders, and it might even push your chest more than you may think too. The best part: While you’re using weight, you won’t need to use a big weight. Even a 5-pound dumbbell can create challenge on the Loaded TRX Reach Row. So grab a TRX and find a light weight, and get ready to build your back (and more)!

  • Hang under a TRX, knees bent slightly, feet flat on the floor, abs and glutes tight, your left hand grasping the TRX handle. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, hanging down toward the ground. Squeeze your shoulder blades.
  • (To make the entire move harder, shift your torso so your back is closer to parallel to the ground. To make it easier, walk your feet backward so your torso is closer to perpendicular to the ground.)
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades, abs, and glutes. Now rotate your right hand out and toward the ceiling, tightening your abs as you do.
  • Reach the dumbbell up as high as you can, while you simultaneously row your entire torso toward the TRX cable, squeezing your shoulder blades.
  • Lower with control, then rotate your chest to the right side and reach the dumbbell toward the ground, stretching your abs.
  • That’s 1 rep; do 3 sets of 8-10 per side.

    The Loaded TRX Reach Row is best used near the end of your workout, whether you’re using it as your final exercise on a back day or upper body day. You can also use it as a solid finisher in a total-body circuit, a move that gets you rotating your torso, a function sometimes left out of many workouts.

    For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out his collection of full video workout programs by signing up for our Men’s Health MVP Premium program.

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