T Nation

Intensity In Rowing Movements

All kinds of row variations are obviously a very important part of any training routine, however I have problems doing them with high intensity.
Whenever I row(seated cable rows in particular), at a certain point instead of reaching complete muscle failure, my ROM starts shortening more and more as the reps progress.
On the one hand I can still do almost full ROM for the first few ‘hard reps’ so it’s a shame not to do them, on the other, i’m not doing full ROM so I shouldn’t be doing them at all!
In either case, I can’t reach real muscle failure or close to it, which is kind of problematic especially with a routine that mandates failure on a certain(or all) set.
The only way to get the damn thing to touch my stomach is curl up and do exactly what Eric Cressey said is horrible for your shoulders in his latest set of articles.

Opinions or advice on when to stop or what to do about this issue?

bump…?

Start paying close attention to when your range of motion drastically shortens: is it the third rep? The fifth? When you know where it happens, hold that last rep at the top of the contraction, in seated rows for example, hold the thingamabob against your chest, lower your shoulders, maintain the arch in your back, squeeze your shoulder blades together as powerfully as possible until you’ve thoroughly fatigued the muscles, then slowly begin the eccentric (or even better; make muscular failure begin the eccentric). For a row, that’s going to failure. Failure looks different depending on the exercise.

Next time you row, after your last set, rest for a bit. Then, select a heavy weight, and pull the handles to the end of the ROM and hold them there for as long as you can.

Also occasionally do some sets of lower reps with an emphasis on really using good form and holding at the end of the ROM–or even do a few extra half-reps at the hard end of the ROM. Remember, do the holds after you’ve finished all the other rowing you’re going to do.

This technique works well for chins, too. Many people find it easy to pull their throat to bar for reps, but difficult to pull to the shoulders. This sort of technique can fix that with surprising speed–sometimes just a couple workouts emphasizing the end of the ROM.

[quote]-Icarus- wrote:
All kinds of row variations are obviously a very important part of any training routine, however I have problems doing them with high intensity.
Whenever I row(seated cable rows in particular), at a certain point instead of reaching complete muscle failure, my ROM starts shortening more and more as the reps progress.
On the one hand I can still do almost full ROM for the first few ‘hard reps’ so it’s a shame not to do them, on the other, i’m not doing full ROM so I shouldn’t be doing them at all!
In either case, I can’t reach real muscle failure or close to it, which is kind of problematic especially with a routine that mandates failure on a certain(or all) set.
The only way to get the damn thing to touch my stomach is curl up and do exactly what Eric Cressey said is horrible for your shoulders in his latest set of articles.

Opinions or advice on when to stop or what to do about this issue?[/quote]

What you described is muscle failure. Think about the bench press. You start out with the weight with full ROM, and then you hit a wall, get stuck, and can’t complete the ROM. At that point with bench pressing, your spotter would normally help you rerack the bar because of the dangers. With your rows, you continue to try another rep because there is no danger of the weight falling on you.

Also, you have different lever actions workins when you row and can force out some extra ROM when you hit that muscle failure.

-LH

You can also pyramid down - Decrease the weight and reach failure again, then repeat until you’re nice and pumped.