#5. The glute ham raise and back extension row
Here’s another great way to crush your whole posterior chain while also improving form, posture and spinal alignment and promoting optimal extension throughout the t-spine. The glute ham raise itself is more than a hamstring isolation exercise – it also works the gltues, lower back and calves, improves speed and explosive strength and helps decrease the risk of hamstring injury. In addition, it’s superior to traditional leg exercises because of the greater emphasis on the eccentric component of knee flexion and its strong carryover to the deadlift and squat. But when paired with back extension rows, the glute ham raise becomes a taxing movement that can help you stimulate unbelievable growth and strength gains in the mid and upper back because it allows a greater stretch in the lats at the bottom portion, forces you to use very strict form and eliminates faulty shoulder mechanics.
Many bodybuilders perform the glute-ham raise with their feet lower than the glute ham pad, which makes the exercise a lot easier by taking off some of the tension placed on the hips extensors, but if you want best results, the feet should be above the glute ham bad.
#6. The tabletop bent-over row
Before you perform any bent-over row, ask someone to place one or two plates on your middle upper back, then perform the movement. This way you can gain massive form improvements because your back will be forced to maintain its natural arch and spinal flexion will be impossible. Furthermore, just like the quadruped rows, tabletop rows help eliminate excessive momentum and over-rowing with excessive range of motion. But the most unique things about this exercise is that first, it overloads the entire posterior chain without fatiguing the arms and grip, allowing you to hypertrophy your back before the arms, and second, because of the favorable Romanian deadlift-style weight distribution that provides direct tension to the erector muscles, tabletop rows will do wonders for your low back strength.
#7. The single-leg bent-over dumbbell row
Bent-over dumbbell rows are compound exercises that use many of your upper body muscles without placing too much stress on your lower back. This version of the exercise will help you develop strength in the upper back, posterior shoulder region and the arms, while also training your cross-body connection and improving balance. Try to create as much shoulder extension as possible to emphasize the work done by your lats. Also, pulling your shoulders back will give your back muscles a solid base from which to generate force, increase girdle stability and diminish the risk of shoulder injury.
A common problem that many guys encounter when performing bent-rows is that the weight is loaded to the front of the body, which places greater stress on the lower back. This issue can be easily eliminated by performing single-leg bent-over dumbbell rows. Over time, the movement will start to feel more natural than other bent-over rowing variations and you’ll learn to appreciate that it makes it impossible to cheat or get away with poor technique and form. When you start performing single-leg bent-over dumbbell rows, you should be able to handle at least 60% of the weight you usually use for regular bent-over rows. If this isn’t the case, then you will first have to improve your balance, hip function and rowing mechanics, preferably by performing the exercises mentioned above.
This article was originally published on t-nation