I am big fan of the Ring Row for fitness. It can be done with a TRX, gymnastics rings, pull-up bar, or a fixed barbell. This bodyweight resistance exercise is easily modified for different levels of fitness and physical ability. I describe and demonstrate the Ring Row for fitness here.
If you’ve reviewed our previous push-up blog post, you may notice several similarities with the Ring Row. Like the push-up, the Ring Row can be modified for any level of fitness. Standing closer to vertical is easier, while closer to horizontal is quite a bit more difficult.
What it does:
Bodyweight rowing activities allow us to build our grip strength, biceps, as well as muscles of the shoulder and back. Another benefit of the Ring Row is that the feet are grounded, especially through the heels. I encourage clients to use that sense of security to balance their muscle use and their breathing during performance of the activity.
Who it’s good for:
The Ring Row is a horizontal movement with arms forward, rather than a vertical one with arms overhead. This makes it a good choice for people who have shoulder or neck issues. The Ring Row is also a good choice for people with spine issues, as the spine is unloaded throughout the activity.
How to get it right:
Backward bending is a common error when attempting to perform the Ring Row. The ideal exercise position can achieved through breathing in, when your arms are straight. This happens at the ‘bottom’ of the movement. You should be able to feel your upper to mid-back filling with air. If you can’t feel this, it’s likely that you are backward bending with your spine. In this problematic position, the lower ribs will also flare upward, further contributing to stress on the spine. Try working on allowing your body to “hang back and relax” first. While here, look for the sense of expansion from breathing in the back of your body. Keep your knees slightly bent. Work to maintain this feeling and ideal position throughout the movement.