Inverted row exercise

Inverted row

Exercise details

  • Target muscles: The back in general
  • Synergists: Latissimus Dorsi, Middle and Lower Trapezius, Rhomboids, Teres Major, Teres Minor, Infraspinatus, Posterior Deltoid, Pectoralis Major, Brachialis, Brachioradialis
  • Dynamic stabilizers (not highlighted): Biceps Brachii, Triceps Brachii (long head only)
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Pull

Starting position

  1. Adjust the height of the Smith machine bar so that it’s a little higher than arm’s length from the floor.
  2. Lie under the bar with your legs and body straight.
  3. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip that’s a little wider than shoulder width.


  1. Keeping your legs and body straight, exhale as you pull your chest up to the bar.
  2. Hold for a count of two and squeeze your back muscles.
  3. Inhale as you lower your body until your arms and shoulders are fully extended.
  4. Repeat.

Comments and tips

  • In a comparison by Canadian scientists of the inverted row, the bent-over barbell row, and the standing one-arm cable row, the inverted row was found to elicit the highest activation of the latissimus dorsi, upper-back, and hip extensors. The exercise was also found to place far less stress on your lower back, making it ideal for people who have back problems.
  • In the inverted row, your biceps brachii and the long heads of your triceps brachii act as stabilizers only, not as synergists.
  • To make the inverted row easier, either raise the bar higher or perform the exercise while sitting on your buttocks.
  • To make the exercise more difficult, either wrap a chain around your torso, wear a weighted vest, or elevate your legs so that they are almost level with the bar. If you elevate your legs, you can also safely place a weight plate on your abdomen.
  • You can perform the inverted row at home by lying under a chair, holding the chair’s sides, and pulling yourself up.
  • Also known as the body row, supine row, Australian pull-up, and fat-man pull-up.
  • See also the underhand-grip inverted row.

Inverted row video


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