Tip: A New Way to Row

Get greater activation of the lats and upper back with this exercise variation.

Rotational rope rows are some of the most effective movements you can do on the cable station. Check this out.

Rotational Rope Row

There are several reasons for this. First, the pronated grip allows a greater stretch and elongation of the lats while the supinated position promotes a stronger squeeze throughout the back when moving into the contracted position. This combination is powerful because it improves postural mechanics and spinal alignment. Bonus: It helps you build muscle and strength in the upper back.

Secondly, you can get a greater range of motion out of it than what you would with traditional rows. This increases the recruitment of the lats and upper back.

Third, the rotational position allows more natural scapulohumeral rhythm, making it therapeutic for the shoulder. In fact, I frequently add these for athletes who have shoulder issues and the effects are quite profound.

Fourth, the rotational nature of the rope produces both converging and diverging hand positions at different phases of the movement. For instance, during the concentric phase, there's a natural spreading of the hands (towards the sides of the torso) creating a greater squeeze in the upper back in the fully contracted position. In contrast, the eccentric or negative phase pulls the handles closer together in a converging fashion creating additional elongation and stretching of the lats.

Make sure you fully extend on the eccentric phase without allowing your shoulders to round – excessive protraction is a common rowing mistake.

You'll only need to use about half the weight you'd typically use on traditional cable rows. This combo is highly effective for deloading the joints while also inducing a potent growth stimulus to the upper back and lats.