Everywhere I look on social media there are 1,000 variations of push ups for us to do while we are stuck working from quarantine. But we can't just do zillions of push exercises, do zero pull exercises, and expect our shoulders to stay healthy.
Rows are insanely important for your shoulder health, neck stability, scapular mobility (unless you like having frozen shoulder), and healthy posture. Without AT LEAST an even ratio of rows to push ups you'll have posture like Quasimodo long before you're free to leave your belltower.
The issue become figuring out how to row when you don't have exercise equipment. The solution ends up being simple. Here's how.
WHY YOU MUST ROW
As us work from home folks slowly move our standard posture from vertical to horizontal, rowing exercises are increasingly important.
Poor shoulder health, and the neck and back pain associated with it, becomes worse over time due to two key factors. The first is poor chronic posture leading to tension in the chest. The second is muscle imbalance due to our home workouts featuring tons of push ups and very few rows.
Row variations build strength in your upper back. Your traps, rhomboids, posterior deltoids, and even the posterior muscles of the rotator cuff all have important postural roles to play. Strength in these muscles holds your shoulder blades in a proper position and stabilize the head of your humerus (upper arm bone) in the center of your shoulder capsule.
Your shoulder joint is the least stable in your entire body. Even though shoulders are classified as ball in socket joints, there isn't a skeletal socket for the ball to sit in. There is a shoulder capsule made of of several joints and a ton of connective tissue. This allows your arm to move in practically any direction, but also leave the joint extremely vulnerable to strength imbalances, disclocations, and a host of other ache, pains, and injuries.
Building strength through rowing (and other horizontal pulling exercises) is paramount to the stability of the shoulder joint, and subsequently, the overall health of your shoulders.
It is an easy 4 step process to perform rows while trapped at home with no equipment.
Step 1 - Create Resistance
Create something heavy by putting books into a backpack or tote bag. Shorten the handles on the bag.
Step 2 - Set Up
Bend at the waist, leaning one arm on a knee- or waist-high surface (chair, trunk, couch, counter, etc.) Engage your abs to make sure your spine is flat from your neck all the way to your tailbone - no arching.
Step 3 - Execution
Pull the bag up to your armpit. Pinch your shoulder blade in toward your spine (retraction) and lower the bag slowly, letting your shoulder blade move away from your spine (protraction).
Step 4 - Rinse & Repeat
Count your reps and repeat until that side is fatigued. Then perform the same number of reps on the other arm.
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