This is my favorite movement to strengthen the back in a pulling/rowing motion. It's a staple of the Chinese Olympic lifters.
This exercise will take the lower back out of the movement, and you can't really cheat. By focusing only on your back you'll develop more contractile strength and a superior mind-muscle connection.
- Always hold a slight squeeze at the top.
- Don't rely on momentum to get the weight from point A to point B. Focus on a quality contraction of the back muscles.
- You can do the movement with kettlebells, dumbbells or a barbell. They all work and you should rotate through all of them. Become strong in all types of rowing motions. The pulling angle with a bar will be different than the one with a dumbbell, especially if you use a neutral grip.
- Perform sets of 6 to 8 reps for a few weeks, then add weight and drop down to 4 to 6 reps, but only when you've built a solid mind-muscle connection with the back.