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With bodyweight inverted row, or body row, I mean hanging by my arms from somthing, the feet on the ground, the body more or less horizontal (head higher), and pulling myself up between my hands.

I keep my elbows close to my body, pointing towards the feet, mostly because it feels easier to stress both sides symetrically that way. When rowing a boat, your elbows point more outward, same for pulling machines in the gym. I don't know about the equivalent free-weight exercise.

  • Does it really matter where the elbows point?
  • What is the best position, specifically for body rows, and why?

Edit to add: My hands are slightly wider than shoulders width apart, palms pointing inwards or to my feet (depending on wherre I do the exercise)

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The exercise you describe is called bodyweight inverted row. – Baarn Aug 5 '13 at 10:29
... except in places where it's not. Got the name from one of Enamaits books, but will change since the longer term is mopre descriptive. – mart Aug 5 '13 at 10:39
Also, @Informaficker, the first "name" of the excercise could be left somewhere in the text. Not everyone looking for info on that exercise will know the name "bodyweight inverted row", mart didnt. We are to be googleable. – K.L. Aug 5 '13 at 11:29
Exercise reference on Known as Body Row, Inverted Bodyweight Row and Supine Row. Wide grip seems to be the normal way of execution, but that doesn't answer either your questions. – Baarn Aug 5 '13 at 15:18
Oh, what grip are you using? I suspect you are using an underhand grip as opposed to the overhand grip for the wide hand placement? – Baarn Aug 5 '13 at 15:20
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Ideally you want the elbows flaring out a bit, as you'll be pulling with your biceps more when elbows are closer in.

Wider grip lets you hit the lats more (which is the point of the exercise) while taking pressure off the arms. Depending on your goal, you can adjust the grip. Supinated (palms facing towards you) grip when targeting biceps and forearms more, pronated (palms facing away from you) for engaging the back.

Also, do what feels more comfortable. You should be able to intuitively grab the bar at the right position for you and your elbows.

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Why do you think hitting the lats is "the point of the exercise"? – zero-divisor Sep 25 '13 at 9:09
@zero-divisor This exercise is basically an easier version of pull-ups. Sure, it's an exercise in its own right and can target many body parts, depending on your grip, but most often it is used as a stepping stone in building your way up to being able to do pull-ups. Pull-ups should engage the lats for clean and economic movement, so inverted rows inherit the lats as the target muscle group from pull-ups. – stealinhorses Sep 25 '13 at 21:35

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