T Nation

Flexing Chest while Doing Rows?

i have been implementing keeping my back tight doing bench press (and shrugging up), anyone have any thoughts on whether keeping you chest ‘tight’ while rowing or pull ups would produce the same results for you back? i am not talking about rounding forward with the shoulders just a mild contraction.

As a tool to learn how to engage your lats while benching, this actually sounds like a pretty damn good idea. I have a pull day coming tomorrow so I might as well try it and see how it feels.

cool thanks furius… i didnt go crazy on the squeeze as i didnt want to round my shoulders. i got a tiny bit of a burn in the chest on pull downs but i did notice it to feel a little smoother. less so on seated rows.

I think you do it naturally to an extent, but i always tense up lats and traps on bench.

i also just finished a chest workout and shrugged up a little bit during pec flys and felt a difference, i am not going heavy (just started getting back in last month) just working on form… i have also found really firing my lats during dips has helped a lot - my shoulders arent sore and feels way smoother

Tried it today and I found it makes chest supported rows a bit easier and solid feeling. During other pulls, nada.

I don’t understand how you can retract your scapula while flexing your chest…

was mostly out of curiosity and if anyone had tried this. i didnt notice much on either pull downs or rows - i was doing iso lateral pulls downs with 72.5 on each side for sets of 12, so i did a mild chest contraction, no rounding… again nothing special, just something to try.

Isn’t that basically what most powerlifting coaches give as one of the ques on benching?

probably, don’t know as i have never powerlifted or had a PL coach. again just an idea…

you don’t protract your shoulders when you bench, whereas you do retract them when you row

and to be more specific:
the goal of the row is to retract scapula, so the chest must be stretched at the top position - that’s why rows are great for improving posture for most people. Flexing chest is counterproductive because it makes scapula harder to retract. During bench press you have to keep scapula retracted because the bench itself doesn’t allow to move scapula properly as opposed to push ups where the bench does not constrain you. Rowing motion should be compared more to push ups on that issue.

I found today that if I push the scalpula down while retracting I can get a slight chest squeeze and it felt pretty solid and I got a got pump during my rows, but they were chest supported so idk how it’ll transfer over to BB or cable rows. I’ll try it out next back day and report

anyone here know of any companies that develop equipment (ie. bench’s or cable’s) that i could contact for ideas? let me know if you thanks!

You should put the scapula down (depression) on rows -that’s the proper way to do it and to activate the lats more. Scapula down first, then scapula back. Pec minor muscle is activated that way so you may feel the chest.

Hm, well that’s probably why I’ve always felt them more in my upper back than in my lats haha, I’ve always squeezed my shoulder blades together but never really focused on pushing them downwards. The game has just changed drastically