TIP: Upgrade Your Posture With Paused Rows

Yesterday, I watched an elderly woman who was hunched over so much that she nearly looked like an upside down question mark. As the woman slowly shuffled away from us, my girlfriend Nicole asked me "What makes that sort of thing happen?"
Nicole, this is for you. 

Oh, this is also for anyone who's tired of having shitty posture and doesn't want to look like Quasimoto when they're 80.

There are LOTS of factors that play into someone's posture. With one of the most common being the positions that we spend the majority of our time. 

For many, our entire lives are in front of us -- and not in the Tony Robins way. What I mean is our computers, phones, and steering wheels are all directly in front of us. We're slouching on the couch, hunched down looking at our phones, computers, only making the tight muscles tighter and the weak muscles weaker.

It's a Bird... It's  a Plane... It's... A bat?

No, it isn't Batman, it's my favorite exercise in the whole world, the batwing row.

Batwing rows are the bomb dot com for a few reasons - 

  1. When done properly, they almost automatically put your body into better posture
  2. They strengthen your Rhomboids, a small muscle that plays a huge part in stopping the slouch and keeping your shoulders healthy.
  3. Batwing rows are painfully easy.

There are a few very important cues, if you want to see them in action, watch the video below


If you aren't in a space to watch this video, or if you find my writing particularly exciting to read, I'll describe exactly what cues you want to keep in mind when performing batwing rows:

  1. Get long and tall through your mid back - a great trick for this is to take a big breath that travels from your belly to your chest. This helps to cue extension of the spine and helps to make sure we use muscles like our rhomboids instead the commonly overactive traps.
  2. Pull to 90, and no more. Lots of people like to think that a massive range of motion is necessary -- which often times isn't necessarily true. When it comes to rows, I prefer to have clients row to a 90 degree angle in both the elbow and the shoulder, while thinking of 'gluing' their shoulder blades together. Rowing this way minimizes the chances of irritating the bicep tendon which runs directly in front of the shoulder and helps to make sure we aren't doing some kind of weird bicep curl.
  3. Crush the grip. A strong grip = strong shoulders.

How to add these into your workout:

Personally, I like using the batwing row as a 'wake up call' for sleepy upper back muscles. BUT, it can also be used toward the end of your workout (I wouldn't use it as a 'main' lift). Another sadistic -- but effective method is to add a rep or two of batwing immediately after hitting some chest supported rows. 

If you enjoyed today's piece, share it with your friends! 

Thanks for reading

- Stan

Stanley Dutton