Tip: Rows for Pros

Here's a new way to do the seated row and a favorite of NFL athletes.

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If you're looking for a potent mass builder for your entire back, try this modified drop set on the seated row. Besides making you freakishly strong, this is one of the most effective hypertrophy protocols I've ever used with my athletes. Here I have two of my NFL athletes, Jarius Wynn and Fernando Velasco, performing this protocol as we prepare their bodies for the season:

  1. Start the set by holding the weight in the stretched position (arms straight) for 10-15 seconds. Too easy? Here's the catch. You'll use a weight that's heavier than your max row and hold it there.

This is technically called a "supramaximal eccentric isometric" since the movement starts in the stretched position, it's held in place, and it's over your max. So just set your spine and shoulder blades, then hold the position with your arms fully extended and your back tensed.

Most lifters should be able to hold at least 25-30% more weight than they would typically use for rows. This creates an incredible amount of mechanical tension and muscle damage for maximizing growth, particularly because of the combination of overload and stretch.

You'll feel every muscle in your body as you hold this, not to mention your upper back will feel like it's getting annihilated. This is also really good for posture and spinal alignment because you're resisting incredibly high levels of flexion forces acting on the spine.

  1. Follow that hold with a drop set, decreasing the load by about half. Blast out smooth reps with additional pauses in both the contracted and stretched positions. Because the nervous system will be potentiated and hyper-activated from the prior heavy loading, the reduced weight for the rows will feel lighter.