By Bill Geiger, MA
1) Which of these is the best alternative to the bent-over barbell row for making a nearly equal exercise substitution?
A) REVERSE-GRIP PULLDOWN
B) ONE-ARM DUMBBELL ROW
C) CLOSE-GRIP SEATED CABLE ROW
D) SUPPORTED T-BAR ROW WITH WIDE GRIP
2) Seated cable rows are a common exercise for back development but you can do them with multiple attachments. Which of the grips below best targets the upper lats, helping develop your V-taper?
A) WIDE, OVERHAND GRIP
B) CLOSE, NEUTRAL GRIP
C) SHOULDER-WIDTH UNDERHAND GRIP
D) THE GRIP MAKES NO DIFFERENCE
3) You can use reverse-grip (underhand) back movements with bent-over rows, seated cable rows and pulldowns. What’s the advantage of doing these kinds of movements on back day?
A) THEY TARGET THE UPPER LATS
B) THEY TARGET THE LOWER LATS
C) THEY ENGAGE THE BICEPS TO A GREATER DEGREE SO YOU CAN GO HEAVIER
D) THEY DISENGAGE THE BICEPS SO YOU CAN BETTER FOCUS ON YOUR LATS
1. The bent-over barbell row uses a wide overhand grip, which allows you to draw your elbows up and away from your body as you pull. The first three exercises utilize either a reverse or close grip. In all those cases your elbows stay close to your sides as you pull, meaning the lower lats get worked hardest. Only with D do the elbows stay out wide and away from your body, making it the best substitute for building your upper lats.
2. Knowing the answer to the first question helps you with this one. Although most bodybuilders instinctively go for the close-grip handle, that doesn’t target the upper lats nearly as effectively as using a wide, overhand grip on a lat bar.
Answer A is correct. Use a variety of handles in a single workout or rotate them over the course of several weeks for optimal back development.
3. The first question also helped you with this one as your elbows stay tight to your sides during reverse-grip exercises, better focusing on the lower lats. With this position the biceps are also called into play to a greater degree. For most trainers this means they can use slightly heavier weights.
Answer C is correct here.