Inverted Rows (Recline Rows) Exercise Demonstration

Discover the how and why of the inverted / recline rows.

Back Exercise Video Demonstration – Inverted Row

A great back building exercise.

Other names for inverted rows:

  • Recline Row
  • Body Weight Row
  • Inverted Pull Ups
  • Supine Row
  • Horizontal Pull-ups


I’m a big fan of bodyweight exercises. When it comes to back training nothing beats pull ups. But those are tough.

Not everyone can do a pull up.

But everyone can do a supine row. This makes it a great substitute for the pull up. With the progressions below it’s easy to incorporate into any workout program no matter your fitness level.

Inverted rows are compound exercises just like pull ups and other DB back exercises. I prefer Suspension rows to DB exercises because they’re closed chain (the body moves not the weight).


How to Do Inverted Rows

Technique is everything. Even though inverted rows look simple there are still a few critical points in need of attention.

  1. Ears, shoulders, hips, and ankles make a straight line.
  2. Squeeze your glutes.
  3. Pull your body up by pulling your concentrating on pulling your elbows back. Squeeze your shoulder blades together.


Muscles Worked

Inverted row is a compound exercise that targets every major back muscle.


  • middle trapezius
  • rhomboids
  • latissimus dorsi


  • Rear Delts
  • Biceps

Common Row Errors

As with any exercise recline rows can go wrong. Below are a few of the more common mistakes made.

  • Letting your butt and hips sag. Fix: Squeeze glutes.
  • Arching spine or throwing chest up to touch bar. Fix: Make exercise easier... reduce reps/incline
  • Pulling with arms, instead of upper back. Fix: Think pull elbows.
  • Not touching the bar to your chest at the top. Fix: Make angle less steep.
  • Not keeping your legs, butt, back and neck tight and straight. Fix: Squeeze glutes and core.

How To Progress Inverted Rows

Bodyweight weight rows are great to keep in your program because they allow your scapula to move freely.

After a while they’ll become too easy. When that happens their muscle building effect diminishes.

Remember, progressive overload is the key to success. Doesn’t matter what exercise you’re doing. It needs to have a planned approach to increasing intensity.

Outlined below is a bodyweight row that will take you from beginner to advanced.


Inverted / Recline Rows Progressions

1. Angles

The first step in progressing the row is all about angles.To make this exercise more difficult change your angle so that your shoulders get closer to the floor.

2. Grip

Different gips make a difference. Below are 3 different grips listed from easiest to most difficult.

supinated, underhand grip

neutral, palms facing grip

pronated, overhand grip

use fat grips

3. Hold

Adding an isometric hold to the top will make this exercise more difficult because it increases time working and you’re doing more work at most difficult portion of the exercise. With your chest touching the bar, pause 1 -3 seconds before returning to the start position.

4. Feet Up

Once you’ve maxed out on incline, it’s time to elevate the feet. Take your feet as high as you need to. If you want to play around with drop sets do a set with elevated feet. When you fatigue immediately put your feet on the floor to continue the set.

5. Add Weight

Adding weight is the last progression. Below are different methods for adding weight:

    • backpack
    • chains
    • weight plates
    • weight vest

5. Remove a point of Contact

Holding one leg off the ground will cause the core to work more. The same is true if done with one hand. Going to the single arm version also increases the load without adding weight or going super steep.

In the video below you’ll see Eric Cressy demonstration the one arm inverted / recline row.


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