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Two Common Rowing & Pull-up Mistakes

Two Common Rowing & Pull-up Mistakes

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Rows, pull-ups, & lat pulldowns are common exercises I see butchered daily. Below you'll learn 2 common mistakes made during these movements, & how to execute them more effectively. . . Note 1: This info applies to almost all horizontal/vertical pulling exercises. . . Note 2: I'm assuming by performing these movements, your goal is to target your upper back, lats, rhomboids & the like, as much as possible. . . PICTURE 1: HUMERAL ANTERIOR GLIDE . . What is this? . . When the humeral head (upper arm bone) glides forward, in relation to the shoulder socket. . . Why shouldn't you do this during horizontal/vertical pulling exercises? . . This can cause excessive amounts of stress on the anterior capsule (front) of the shoulder. This takes tension away from the muscles you've intended to train. . . PICTURE 2: WRIST FLEXION . . What is this? . . Curling/bending of the palm down towards the wrist. . . Why shouldn't you do this during horizontal/vertical pulling exercises? . . Many people I train (& observe on the internet) seem to substitute curling of the wrist, for the scapular or shoulder blade movement you want during upper body pulling exercises. . . Although you may feel like you're using full range of motion when curling the wrist, you're probably just putting more tension on your forearms, taking away from the full scapular movement (& back stimulation) you're capable of. . . WHAT TO DO INSTEAD? . . The same cues and strategies don't work for everyone, so I'll just list a few that help the majority of people below. . . 1. Move through the shoulder blades. 2. Maintain slight thoracic/upper back extension during these movements. 3. Push your chest forward when rowing, but keep your ribs down. 4. Shoulders away from your ears. 5. Be aware of the mistakes above (keep wrists straight, and pull front of your shoulders back behind you). . . Also… . . 1. You may need to use less weight if you're not able to use a full range of motion. 2. You may need to unload the movement completely, and understand what it feels like to control/move your shoulder blades into a good position. 3. Take a picture or video of yourself to assess/correct what's needed.

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About Justin Rivelli

Justin Rivelli has been training clients online and in-person at his private gym in Berkshire County, Massachusetts for over 15 years. He specializes in helping 35 to 65 year old adults improve their body composition with well-rounded fitness plans that suit their needs, wants, and lifestyle. You can find out more about him at


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