Strong, powerful athletes generally have big, strong backs. A commitment to the proper pulling movements will enhance overall strength dramatically, as well as have a huge effect on posture and overall body composition. Pulling movements consist of rowing and deadlifting patterns. While rows target the lats in a primarily upper-body movement, deadlifting patterns are a total-body lift, as the athlete picks an implement off of the ground and lifts it to a standing position.
To perform a proper row, follow these rowing principles:
We can execute a row with a number of different instruments, be it a cable machine, a barbell, an elastic band, or a suspension trainer. All are beneficial and appropriate. Mix and match to develop a strong, powerful back. Avoid machines, as we want the body to work as a comprehensive unit rather than isolating individual muscles. In real-life situations, when we pull, we work across the entire posterior chain, so train that way.
Deadlifts involve simply lifting an object off of the ground. There is no faster way to become systematically stronger. It is a simple, primal movement everyone should frequently execute. There are two different kinds of deadlifts (standard and Romanian) and two stances (regular and sumo). While the standard deadlift allows knees to bend, a Romanian deadlift puts greater load on the hamstrings, using a big hip hinge with little knee bend. The standard stance places feet inside of the hands and is a “longer” pull as the athlete bends over more. The sumo stance places the grip inside of the feet and is a “shorter” pull as the athlete’s spine is in a more erect position.
No matter the stance or style, the deadlift consists of four steps and principles:
Incorporate a variety of pulling movements into your training program. Deadlift once per week and perform rowing movements twice per week. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring your back in favor of “sexy” exercises like the bench press, as you will develop an unbalanced composition. Deadlifting and developing the ability to execute big pulls is one of the fastest ways to develop musculature and build a strong, balanced body.