T Nation

Bodyweight / Pull

Hi there.

I’ve got a challenge for your imagination at hand.
Basically what I need is a set of bodyweight exercises that resemble a basic “pull” movement pattern.

Now, the chin up / pull up / muscle up is a no-brainer.
The thing is, I’m a martial arts instructor and my average client is not genetically gifted or has extensive experience in any other athletic discipline. When people come to my dojo, the tend to be unfit. That’s why high intensity exercises such as forementioned pull up are far out of scope.

Therefore, I’m looking for a “softer”, more “gentle” alternative that recruits some muscle in the lats and upper back. Since I want my people to be able to practice at home, the exercise needs to be doable with no equipment at hand.

Unfortunately, I can’t think of many such exercises, can you?

I’m really looking forward to reading your ideas.

Cheers,
Lukas

Rows in a door frame? Stand in the door frame, your hands holding to it at about waist level. Bend at the hips (a lot and sit back) and knees (slightly), so that your hands-shoulders-waist are in line.
Pull hard focusing on the lats. Key to the exercise, two words : Scapular retraction. At the top (while standing).

All that I could think about, without ANY equipment at all… Hope it’ll give you ideas.

Cheers, Thor

Or you could try having them start in a bentover row position. Slight bend in the knee, torso bent @ about a 75 degree angle to the floor(chest up, scapulae retracted/depressed), standing on the ban have them pull the hands toward the torso as far as they can w/o internally rotating at the shoulder as this will cause the scapulae to come out of retraction(or unset). Have them pull half way between the belly button and nipple line and return back to the starting position.

In the same rep.,as they return back to the starting pos. make 'em stand straight up, perform a body wt. squat as low as they can go (while maintaining good form)then resetting for the next rep in the bent over position pos. I would have them do sets of 20-30 being that most martial arts rely heavily on muscular stamina and flexibility. I know you wanted a strict back ex., but I couldn’t resist getting a chance to throw some extra cal. burn as well as leg conditioning in there. Legs seem to be the most neglected by most people, too bad…

As said, the door frame row works. I’ve always been a fan of Horizontal Rows. I used to do these between two chairs. I have a pull-up bar, and toss a towel over it for them now for extra grip fun. Here’s the first vid I found that shows the exercise (of course, forget the ball)

They can always one arm row a bag of books or anything relatively heavy around the house.

Have them get a rope and tie it to something heavy (car tire loaded with heavy object/s), then pull it like a sled. This is a form of equipment, but without some form of equipment the quality choices are very limited. Also, why just a pull and no push, you really should work opposing muscles for more balanced development. If your clients come to you for training and the added benefit is fitness, some investment (equipment) should be required. Just my.02…good luck.

[quote]mistabreeze wrote:
Have them get a rope and tie it to something heavy (car tire loaded with heavy object/s), then pull it like a sled. This is a form of equipment, but without some form of equipment the quality choices are very limited. Also, why just a pull and no push, you really should work opposing muscles for more balanced development. If your clients come to you for training and the added benefit is fitness, some investment (equipment) should be required. Just my.02…good luck.
[/quote]

Yes, of course equipment makes life easier. But then “easy” isn’t what T-Nation is all about, is it? :wink:

Now don’t get me wrong on this one: I do have kettlebells, dumbbells, ropes, rubber bands and medicine balls lying around at the dojo. However, here, I’m looking spcifically for a “pull” exercise with no equipment whatsoever. I’ve got my reasons, one of them being the fact that quite frankly I find it embarrassing as a trainer to know, like, only one single exercise that matches that criteria.

The next reason - as mentioned before - is that I want my people to be able to do that exercise anytime, anyplace, so they could for example follow CW’s “Big Back, Big Chest, Real Fast” programm, replacing pushups for [insert an appropriate pull exercise here].

As for the “push” exercise, yes, of course, we do plenty of them. But I could name like hundrets of them, with and without equipment at any point of progression, that’s why I asked for a “pull” exercise.

Besides, “push” and “pull” are not the only patterns. There’s no much more like “stand up”, “roll in”, “twist”,… you could then start to differ between “vertical push/pull” and “horizontal push/pull”, etc.

What I need, is a bodyweight only, no equipment whatsoever needed “pull” exercise at a moderate intensity.

Cheers,
Lukas

[quote]Rasslore wrote:
As said, the door frame row works. I’ve always been a fan of Horizontal Rows. I used to do these between two chairs. I have a pull-up bar, and toss a towel over it for them now for extra grip fun. Here’s the first vid I found that shows the exercise (of course, forget the ball)

They can always one arm row a bag of books or anything relatively heavy around the house.[/quote]

That’s a good one, thank you. I can’t imagine a door frame that will allow for those rows, though (enlighten me, please :wink: ), so I guess that would still need standard household equipment like a table or chairs.

Anyhow, great exercise, thank you.

[quote]Thorpughet wrote:
Rows in a door frame? Stand in the door frame, your hands holding to it at about waist level. Bend at the hips (a lot and sit back) and knees (slightly), so that your hands-shoulders-waist are in line.
Pull hard focusing on the lats. Key to the exercise, two words : Scapular retraction. At the top (while standing).

All that I could think about, without ANY equipment at all… Hope it’ll give you ideas.

Cheers, Thor[/quote]

Sorry, I don’t get it. Any video footage on that one?
Cheers,
Lukas

You could do inverted rows under a table. Just lie down under a table, reach up and grab the tabletop, then pull until their chest hits the table. It would be easier than pullups as you’d be hotizontal with feet on the floor.

[quote]FirestormWarrior wrote:
…No equipment required… …gentle and user friendly… …basic pulling movements… [/quote]

Easy, Dynamic Strength.

As in muscle movement while under tension and post movement isometric tensioning. Dynamic Strength is the name of an exercise system created by Harry Wong, a Kung Fu San Soo Master Instructor.

He has a number of pulling movements that may be of interest to you; a few of which I still use today and a number of ones I have personally used as a military training instructor to help teach proper body mechanics and increasing physilogical awareness in certain military calisthenics movements.

For only USD 6.00 it’s well worth the read.