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How to Do the Inverted Row – Muscles Worked, Benefits & More

Inverted rows are an ideal workout for beginners, offering plenty of benefits. The convenient move balances the back and front muscles. Read on to find all you need to know!

Steven Hill
How to Do the Inverted Row – Muscles Worked, Benefits & More
Table Of Contents

Historically, pull-ups have been seen as a very advanced exercise requiring an impressive amount of strength and power. But the "down under" version, also known as the Australian pull-up or inverted row, has become a popular alternative to the vertical variety.

This is especially suitable for those looking to build strength in their back, shoulders, and arms but is not ready for a full-body pullup.

The inverted row works similar muscles to the traditional pull-up but from a different angle. It also allows you to control your range of motion to make it more manageable and is excellent when preparing for a vertical pullup.

Moreover, this exercise is designed to improve scapular movement, which is important if you aim to progress on vertical pull-ups. So don't miss out on this one: add inverted rows into your routine, whether as prep work for standard pull-ups or simply as its own exercise routine!

If you want to incorporate this amazing workout into your routine, read on and find out all the benefits, muscles worked, and the correct method to do it.

How to Do the Inverted Row Correctly

The inverted row is an excellent full-body exercise that can help you strengthen your back, core, and arms. By following these steps and performing this exercise regularly, you’ll be able to build strong muscles and increase stability in no time! Good luck!

  • Step 1: Set up the equipment. Position a barbell in a power rack at about hip height and lie underneath it with your feet firmly planted on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the barbell.
  • Step 2: Initiate the movement by driving through your heels and pulling your chest toward the bar to hold yourself in an elevated plank position. Brace your core and retract your shoulder blades as you draw your body up towards the bar until your collarbone is level with it.
  • Step 3: Pause for a moment at the top of the movement before slowly lowering yourself back down to the starting position with control.
  • Step 4: Perform 3 - 4 sets of 8 - 12 repetitions, adjusting the bar height, depending on your strength and ability level. If you’re feeling particularly daring, try adding a slow negative repetition by holding for 3-5 seconds at the top before lowering yourself back down.
  • Step 5: Once you have completed your set, rest for 45-60 seconds and repeat as necessary.
  • Step 6: Always warm up before performing any exercise and cool down afterward. This will help reduce your risk of injury and allow your muscles to recover more efficiently. Stretching and foam rolling will also help to improve your range of motion and mobility, so don’t forget to incorporate these into your routine!

Muscles Worked During Inverted Row

The inverted row is a practical, full-body exercise that targets multiple muscle groups simultaneously and can be easily adapted for different fitness levels. It’s a great way to build upper body strength and stability and work your core muscles. The Inverted Row works several major muscle groups, including the:

  • Back muscles: Latissimus dorsi (lats), Rhomboids, Trapezius.
  • Core muscles: Rectus abdominis (abs), Transverse abdominis (deep abdominal wall), and Obliques.
  • Arm muscles: Biceps, Triceps, and Forearms.

Back Muscles

The lats are the prime movers in the inverted row, working to pull the body up against gravity. The rhomboids and trapezius work together to support shoulder blade movement during the exercise. In addition, these shoulder muscles help pinch your shoulder blades together during the row.

Core Muscles

The core muscles are also actively engaged in the inverted row, providing stability by keeping your torso and back flat throughout the movement. This helps to keep your spine in a neutral position, reducing strain on your lower back and promoting proper technique.

Arm Muscles

Your arm muscles (biceps, triceps, and forearms) also help pull your body up during the exercise. Your biceps and forearms provide a concentric contraction as they pull your arms up towards the bar, while your triceps act as stabilizers throughout the movement. So why wait? Get rowing!

How Does the Inverted Row Make Your Workouts Beneficial?

There are numerous benefits of inverted rows. Some of the most highlighted ones are as follows:

Improved Upper-Body & Core Strength

Inverted rows require you to lift your entire body weight against gravity, making them an effective exercise for building upper-body strength in the arms, back, and shoulders. As a pulling exercise, inverted rows involve your core muscles to stabilize the midsection and transfer force from the arms to the legs.

Better Posture

Inverted rows can help improve your posture by reducing any imbalances in muscle strength between these areas by strengthening the muscles of your upper back, shoulders, and chest.

Improved Grip Strength

The grip is an often overlooked aspect of strength. Inverted rows require you to grip the bar with your hands and hang from it, making them an effective exercise for improving grip strength.

Reduced Risk of Injury

By strengthening the muscles of your upper body, inverted rows can help reduce the risk of shoulder or back injuries by providing additional support for proper posture and lifting technique.

Because inverted rows involve the muscles of your upper body, it is a low-impact exercise that puts minimal stress on your joints and tendons, making it suitable for people who may be prone to injuries.

Versatile Exercise

Inverted rows can be performed with various equipment, such as a barbell, suspension straps, or gymnastic rings. They can be modified to provide different difficulty levels depending on your fitness level.

Improved Cardiovascular Health

By challenging your body with inverted rows, you can also improve your cardiovascular health by increasing your heart rate and burning calories. This makes them an effective exercise for weight loss and overall fitness.

Enhanced Mental Focus

Inverted rows require a great deal of mental focus on maintaining proper form and technique, making them an effective exercise for improving concentration and strengthening your mind-body connection.

Mistakes to Avoid During Inverted Row Exercise

If you want to reap the benefits of doing inverted rows, you need to ensure you are not making any mistakes.

Not Keeping Your Core Engaged

Keeping your core engaged during an inverted row is important, as it will help support your body and keep you in proper alignment. When performing the exercise, focus on feeling a contraction from your abs to maintain stability throughout the entire exercise.

Not Going Low Enough

When performing an inverted row, you want to make sure that you are going low enough to get a full range of motion. Make sure that your arms are straight before you start, and then slowly pull yourself until your elbows reach a 90-degree angle.

Not Using Proper Form

It is important to maintain proper form while performing an inverted row. Make sure that your back stays flat throughout the entire exercise and that your shoulders stay away from your ears. If you feel pain in your lower back, this could be a sign of improper form so make sure you stop and readjust accordingly.

Not Controlling Your Movement

The inverted row is an exercise that requires you to move slowly and with control. This is important because it will help prevent any injuries from occurring and ensure that you are getting the most benefit out of the exercise. Make sure you take your time performing each repetition and focus on keeping your body tight throughout the movement.


The inverted row is an excellent exercise to incorporate into a full-body or upper-body workout, particularly for those new to pull-ups who are unable to perform vertical pull-ups. It is essential to maintain strict form when performing an inverted row; anyone with questions about proper execution should consult a certified personal trainer or physical therapist. Once you have steadily built up your strength by engaging in inverted rows, you should get under the bar more often than before!

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Steven Hill

Steven is a passionate health & fitness writer. Steven has considerable research experience, but also enjoys writing nutrition and workout articles for general readership. Today, it's easy to find health and wellness information. People use many different sites to get the information they ne

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