I was blown away by some of the comments on my giveaway post. You are all very flattering, and I can’t express how much it means to me to know how much I’ve already helped. I really do wish I could individually coach you all, but I have some posts coming up which I think will benefit those of you who are confused about where to begin. Because you are such a convincing bunch, I’m pleased to announce I picked not one, but TWO winners.
First up, I picked a winner using a random number generator:
I also hand-picked another winner. I was touched by a lot of your stories, so this was not an easy decision at all… Congratulations to Kerry! Can both of you please send me an email? Thanks!
T Bar Rows
On to the topic of the day… As you can probably tell by now, I’m a big fan of using rows to build back strength. I have previously posted about seated cable rows and single arm cable rows, but I also love using the T bar. A lot of people shy away from these rows because they do not have the specific equipment, but I’m here to show you that you can do them with nothing but a barbell and a plate.
Purpose: A T bar row will target your latissimus dorsi muscles. It will also hit your biceps, traps. rhomboids and rear delts. A T bar row will feel more challenging at the beginning of the movement as you work against gravity.
Unlike a traditional bent over row, where the bar moves up and down in a straight line, a T bar row can be thought of in two parts. During the first part of the movement, the bar moves horizontally and will feel heavier. As the bar gets closer to your body, it will move in more of a horizontal arc, which makes it feel lighter and causes you to engage the muscles in the upper back more than the lats.
Set-up: If you have access to a proper T bar machine, then you luckily only need to worry about loading plates on to the bar. Because you are supported in this position, this is the ideal set-up for those worried about lower back injuries.
Some gyms have a device called a landmine or grappler (pictured below), which you stick one end of the barbell into. Load up the other side with plates, straddle the bar (facing towards the plates) and secure a V-handle around the bar as close to the plates as possible.
The final option is to make your own! If you are lucky enough to have a training partner, try sticking one end of the barbell into a weight plate lying flat on the ground. Get your friend to place their foot on top of the barbell so it doesn’t slide out. This is what I do with my clients.
If you’re on your own, simply stick the end of the barbell in a corner of the gym. Your gym probably won’t appreciate it if you scratch up the walls, so try padding the bar with a towel.
Execution: Regardless of your equipment set-up, you must ensure your back is kept straight throughout the movement. Your lower back may have a slight arch to it, but ensure it does not round at any point during the exercise. Your back should be at a 45 degree angle to the floor. Bend your knees slightly and keep your chest up.
From an arms-extended position, pull the bar towards your upper abdomen. Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement, hold for one second, and then slowly lower until your arms are almost fully straightened. Keep your elbows tucked in to your sides throughout the exercise.
Blitz the back workout:
Have you tried a T bar row before? How do you do them?