The Mighty Stu wrote:
I totally wrecked my lower back once, and it hurt even to do DB rows laying prone on an incline bench. What I figured out was that if I took a flat bench, and propped it up a bit to make it higher (some have adjustable legs, others will need some wooden blocks), you can lay perfectly flat, face down, and have a preloaded barbell underneath… Row away!
Bingo! This is precisely what I do and it brought out my back thickness a treat, as well as not aggravating my lower back muscles. There is no cheating with the lower back with this setup really.
I also do my reverse flyes on the same bit of kit. I usisally superset widegrip pronated BB rows with pronated grip DB rev flyes.
As a bonus to using a setup like Stu describes, you can either keep your chest and chin, etc in close contact with the bench, to focus on those ‘typical’ upper/mid back muscles (rhomboids, traps etc), or, if your back allows, you can extend the upper chest away from the bench as you bring the bar up (controlled form though of course), giving your thoracic paraspinal extensors (iliocostalis lumborum pars thoracic, longissimus thoracic pars thoracic - yes those are actually the full names of two of the three ‘erector spinae’ muscles).
These are the kind of muscles only ususally worked fully in an OH shquat, for example, so it’s valuable to train them on the bench, both for aesthetic and ‘functional’ reasons IMO.
I was thinking of trying exactly this thing. since I don’t go to a gym I don’t have the option of using any of those great machines. The bench/barbell combo sounds promising, though. I tried bent dumbell rows and they were pretty uncomfortable.
I’m actually thiking of breaking down and getting a membership somewhere just so I will have a wider selection of exercises.