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  • Mitchell Rothbardt

Rows in 450 Words or Less

Hello, everyone! I took a break last time in my “Exercises Everyone Should Do” series but its back this week with every office workers best friend: Rows. What does it do? – Almost every one of my clients (and probably most of you, as well) sits at a desk all day and, as a result of having their arms in a “typing” position during that time, they have a lot of stiffness and tension in their upper back. The cause of the tension is actually the fact that the muscles in the upper back and rear shoulders are overstretched and the muscles in the chest and front shoulders are tight. This leads to things like headaches, low back pain and feeling of constant tension. The Row is a key exercise in alleviating some of these issues. How do I do it? – There are many Row variations, such as the X-Row and the Seated Row, but today we are going to concentrate on the basic Standing Row.

If you are in a gym, go to a dual cable stack and attach separate handles to each stack. If you are at home you can use a resistance band set in a door jamb.

Set the handles about waist high and grab them. Make sure that your chest is up, your shoulders are down and back, you are looking at a spot just above eye level and your core is tight. Take a step back with your arms straight out in front of you until there is some tension on the cables.

The big key to this exercise is the first move. Squeeze your shoulder blades together behind you and then bring your elbows straight back along the path they are naturally moving in. Be sure not to shrug your shoulders.

This exercise, along with strengthening overstretched muscles and loosening tight ones, promotes good posture and also reminds us how our shoulders are supposed to feel and move. Many times people just lose touch with their bodies due to factors such as a sedentary lifestyle and desk jobs, and don’t even realize the physical position they are in. Proper exercise reminds people how their bodies are supposed to move and feel and the awareness of that is the most important factor in regaining and maintaining good posture.

If you have any questions about Rows or anything else training related, please let me know. I’d love to put together a mailbag type column so fire away! You can email me at or call me at 510-754-7113.

Have a great week and don’t forget to consult a doctor before beginning any exercise program

from the Castro Valley Forum September 23, 2009

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