T Nation

Rows and Pullups

There seems to be no definitive conclusion on whether Pendlay Rows or Yates Rows are better. There’s also the issue of where should one do pullups till, whether it’s gotta be chin over bar, or if the last part is useless shoulder girdle and just get forehead or top of the head to the bar

Here’s what I’ve been doing:
For Rows: I’m ramping up weight with each set, starting with strict Pendlay Rows. As I go up slowly my torso moves higher and I stop if I have to go over 45 degrees to get the weight up.

It’s harder to measure progress precisely, but I do notice that week by week, I bring up more weight with my strict torso-parallel-to-ground rows, and likewise the last set in the sequence slowly moves up in weight.

Likewise with weighted pullups. I start with strict form and slowly I’m able to pull myself slightly lower. I stop when my forehead is lower than the bar at the top.

I feel like I’m having my cake…err, steak… and eating it too this way.

Yates rows are for the lats. Torso stays LOCKED at 30-45 degrees and the bar is pulled to the belly button. This is best position to pull the most weight. Parallel bent over rows are for the upper back. The lower back will always be the weak link in this position. Two completely different uses with slight overlap.

Pullups should be done with chest held high and elbows pulled baack (dont let them drift together in front of your body). You should aim to hit your chest to the bar. A suicide grip will remove the forearms and biceps from much of the lift. Those are the things to keep in mind with pull ups. Whether ones chin clears the bar is unimportant because limb length and torso length will influence that. Also you can stretch your chin over the bar and it doesnt mean you did any more work with the lats and teres major.

A few things I don’t quite agree with there, Bonez, but overall I agree.

I get more (upper) lat-width out of pendlay rows… Generally more width there…

Yates rows = more traps and some lower lats for me…

Both give me primarily thickness (upper back thickness… Some lower mostly when moving at the hip joint during the rowing exercise, which I find more comfortable than holding the angle statically anyway) because I make scapular retraction and shoulder movement the main part of each positive… Basically work the backthickness musculature through some ROM rather than just statically.

Pullups for bodybuilding purposes… Scapular ROM = more important than total ROM…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3dGVtjjs2o <- perfect. Watch his back musculature. Tape yourself and watch yours.

Full ROM pull-ups with chin over bar are more of a feat-of-strength (or endurance) like full-ROM military press etc… They are not too great when it comes to a specific purpose.

Many end up using way too much arm flexor and rear delt rather than backwidth (and thickness, though those aren’t much of a thickness exercise anyway) musculature. On chinups and especially close-grip chins, you can practically do the movement via arm flexors and rear delts only (some lat but not enough to cause any real training growth/strength adaption), as it is pretty much impossible to bring the shoulders back and chest out when you’re using a very close chin grip… Shoulders stay forward, you end up curling yourself up more than anything…

That being said, a medium-width grip with elbows tucked or semi-tucked can actually hit the lats more than a wide grip with elbows flared (which would be more rear delts + teres etc). Works better on pulldowns though, easier to maneuver the body the right way, on pull-ups many again end up using too much arm if the elbows are in front.

Exercise execution is getting more intriguing. In my Motor Learning class, we’re on the subject of motor skills and touching on how individuals will use different recruitment patterns/muscles to perform the same skill/task. Interesting stuff, especially when applied to the realm of bodybuilding.

[quote]Cephalic_Carnage wrote:

That being said, a medium-width grip with elbows tucked or semi-tucked can actually hit the lats more than a wide grip with elbows flared (which would be more rear delts + teres etc). Works better on pulldowns though, easier to maneuver the body the right way, on pull-ups many again end up using too much arm if the elbows are in front.

[/quote]

Just to try and clarify for myself as it sounds similar to how I perform chins.

When you say elbows tucked, I’m assuming you are saying elbows out in front, right? I usually keep them out in front which causes the torso to move in an arc from the stretch position to contracted, rather than going straight up.

Doing it this way feels sorta like a machine pullover with the exception that the body is moving instead of your hands.

[quote]cueball wrote:

[quote]Cephalic_Carnage wrote:

That being said, a medium-width grip with elbows tucked or semi-tucked can actually hit the lats more than a wide grip with elbows flared (which would be more rear delts + teres etc). Works better on pulldowns though, easier to maneuver the body the right way, on pull-ups many again end up using too much arm if the elbows are in front.

[/quote]

Just to try and clarify for myself as it sounds similar to how I perform chins.

When you say elbows tucked, I’m assuming you are saying elbows out in front, right?[/quote] Yeah. [quote] I usually keep them out in front which causes the torso to move in an arc from the stretch position to contracted, rather than going straight up.

Doing it this way feels sorta like a machine pullover with the exception that the body is moving instead of your hands.[/quote]
Yep, sounds about right.

I definitely feel Pendlays in the middle back. what grip do you use and where do you row to? (I’ve been doing index on the nearest ring and to the bellybutton)

For doing yates rows, locked, do you a) have a sick grip b) use straps or c) do them from pins?

Tried the adjustments with weighted pullups, bringing the chest up, trying to bring scap together. Definitely felt it more in the lats, though could do far less weight and got less ROM

My back work now consists of:
Sunday AM: weighted pullups ramp 2 reps, Pendlay to Yates rows (as I described) 5 reps
Sunday PM: chest-supported rows 5 reps, kroc rows 5 reps then rep-out set of 12-20

Tuesday AM: Chinups 3 reps (close grip, I guess this is more for biceps)

Wednesday: Deadlift variation

Thursday AM: Side-grip Pullups 2 reps. Chin-grip Rows 5 reps

(obviously I do other exercises each workout. Everything upper body (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday AM and PM) is with antagonist supersets, for instance thursday AM is military press from pins at top of head level and side-grip pullups, then bradford press and chin-grip rows)
Tuesday PM I do rear delt work

bump

btw C_C what’s wrong with full-range Military Press for shoulders?

[quote]Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
A few things I don’t quite agree with there, Bonez, but overall I agree.

I get more (upper) lat-width out of pendlay rows… Generally more width there…

Yates rows = more traps and some lower lats for me…

Both give me primarily thickness (upper back thickness… Some lower mostly when moving at the hip joint during the rowing exercise, which I find more comfortable than holding the angle statically anyway) because I make scapular retraction and shoulder movement the main part of each positive… Basically work the backthickness musculature through some ROM rather than just statically.

Pullups for bodybuilding purposes… Scapular ROM = more important than total ROM…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3dGVtjjs2o <- perfect. Watch his back musculature. Tape yourself and watch yours.

Full ROM pull-ups with chin over bar are more of a feat-of-strength (or endurance) like full-ROM military press etc… They are not too great when it comes to a specific purpose.

Many end up using way too much arm flexor and rear delt rather than backwidth (and thickness, though those aren’t much of a thickness exercise anyway) musculature. On chinups and especially close-grip chins, you can practically do the movement via arm flexors and rear delts only (some lat but not enough to cause any real training growth/strength adaption), as it is pretty much impossible to bring the shoulders back and chest out when you’re using a very close chin grip… Shoulders stay forward, you end up curling yourself up more than anything…

That being said, a medium-width grip with elbows tucked or semi-tucked can actually hit the lats more than a wide grip with elbows flared (which would be more rear delts + teres etc). Works better on pulldowns though, easier to maneuver the body the right way, on pull-ups many again end up using too much arm if the elbows are in front.

[/quote]

Bev Francis Powerhouse(the gym that Vic is training at in the video) is about 10-15min from my house. Maybe I should start training there. I’m gonna look into it.

I’d just like to echo what C_C said, I feel it more in my back when I don’t worry about geting my chin over the bar, or touching the bar on my chest, I just focus on the scalpular retraction and think my ROM looks something like in the video C_C posted, although Ive never filmed myself

[quote]Anonymas wrote:
I’d just like to echo what C_C said, I feel it more in my back when I don’t worry about geting my chin over the bar, or touching the bar on my chest, I just focus on the scalpular retraction and think my ROM looks something like in the video C_C posted, although Ive never filmed myself[/quote]

I tried this today and I definitely think it’s better for back development. Definitely keeps the stress on the muscles the entire time.

I find it funny because my whole life everyone always told me to get my chin over the bar.

C_C What is your opinion on neutral-grip chins, are you saying that they are ineffective or effective? Sorry if you’ve already mentioned it.

wow lol didn’t realize you can go into exercise so much…think I’m gonna try some of these techniques…

I got a question about upper back thickness though…I don’t mean traps though, I mean rhomboids…it seems most people use bent over rows to thicken that up?

I always assumed bent over rows were for the lats, but lately from what I’ve been reading people get more benefit from the rows in the mid back, and doing exercises like pull-ups, rack chins etc. for the lats/lat width.

[quote]rasturai wrote:
wow lol didn’t realize you can go into exercise so much…think I’m gonna try some of these techniques…
[/quote]
Me neither, until some of the more knowledgeable guys here pointed it out.

[quote]rasturai wrote:
I got a question about upper back thickness though…I don’t mean traps though, I mean rhomboids…it seems most people use bent over rows to thicken that up?
[/quote]
I’ve been doing a few b/o bb row variations since last October. It has really payed off. The ‘valley’ running down my upper back has become noticeably deeper. Wouldn’t have thought it possible, since these variations don’t feel as intense as doing a b/o row with about 80° between upper body and hips.

But I also know a few guys who do lots of deads and rack pulls and not much b/o rowing having well developed rhomboids. I guesstimate it’s because of the isometric contraction of, amongst others, the rhomboids when doing deads / rack pulls.

If you’re in doubt, you might want to experiment a bit with an exercise a little bit reminiscent of b/o laterals: pick two dbs, bend over, fix your elbows at your sides and slightly forward, keep a 90Ã?° angle between forearms and upper arms and then squeeze your shoulder blades together. Use a light weight, at first, and go for reps, to get a hang for this movement.

[quote]rasturai wrote:
I always assumed bent over rows were for the lats, but lately from what I’ve been reading people get more benefit from the rows in the mid back, and doing exercises like pull-ups, rack chins etc. for the lats/lat width.[/quote]
ACK.
Took me too long to figure that one out.
Thanks to C_C and a few other guys I finally got the hang of it.
Basically, I’m doing three b/o variations:
a) slightly b/o, wide grip, pronated
b) like a), but more b/o
c) like b), but even more b/o

Sometimes also
d) narrow-grip, Yates-ish, but pronated

Mmm lately I’ve been doing my rows…all my warmup weights are bent over as much as I can, as the weight gets heavier, I obviosuly can’t keep that bent over position, so I raise my torso a bit higher so I’m not as bent over, until I’m eventually 45 degrees. I think this is alright and I’m gettin a lot of stimulation through my whole back.

Thanks for the post FF.

[quote]rasturai wrote:
Mmm lately I’ve been doing my rows…all my warmup weights are bent over as much as I can, as the weight gets heavier, I obviosuly can’t keep that bent over position, so I raise my torso a bit higher so I’m not as bent over, until I’m eventually 45 degrees. I think this is alright and I’m gettin a lot of stimulation through my whole back.

Thanks for the post FF.[/quote]

I’m gonna try this