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Deep Dive Into Resistance Band Rows

Resistance Band Rows

Good evening, I wanted to go a little more in-depth Resistance Band Rows. You can see this exercise over on my Instagram & Facebook.

Resistance Bands

Before we look at the row aspect, we need to realized using resistance bands can affect the body differently than using dumbbells of even body weight. When using external resistance like dumbbells, the weight becomes easier to manipulate the closer it is to the center point of mass. You can feel this by holding a book with your arm out extended and holding the book in close to the chest. The weight is far easier to hold the closer it is to the body. However, when you pull and stretch the resistance band it will increase in strength. This will apply an opposite maximal load on the range of motion. This can stress out the joint if the body is not used to the load. My recommendation if you are new to using resistance bands is to start off slow and listen to the smaller joint in your shoulder’s, wrists, and elbows.

Rowing Movement

Now we can take a deeper look at the row movement itself. For those who may be unfamiliar the row is an upper body movement that involves the arms, shoulder, core and midback muscles bracing back together to pull the body towards an object or an object towards the body. This would include exercises like pull-ups, bent over rows, and activities like pulling a bow or rowing a boat.

When we combine the row and external resistance like a band there is more required to row than just pulling your hands back. I talked earlier this week about the “triangle of the mid back”, with the top point ending at the back of the skull and the two sides extending out to the elbows and through the midback. All the muscles in the “triangle” are required to have a proper rowing movement. A great way to feel this is to lay down flat on your back, brace the core and drive the elbows, midback, and head into the ground. You will feel the muscles in the shoulder contract along with the core to hold the body close to the ground. This is what then end of the row should feel like. Having all muscles in the “triangle” working together. When you pull only the elbow back you can notice the shoulder blades want to pull forward putting unwanted tension on the smaller joints in the neck.

Mobility and Stretches

If you find it hard to move the shoulders and midback muscles in the way desired I recommend working on two movements to increase shoulder mobility and dexterity. Supine Y Raises & Shoulder Protraction/Retraction.

When performing the Supine Y Raise, start off by laying down flat on your back. Next draw the arm up over head into a Y, allowing the shoulder blades to move against the ground. Work to relax the arm against the ground overhead bringing the shoulder blades together. Repeat this movement 10-15 times allowing the ground to give some feedback to the shoulders.

When using Protraction/ Retractions for a warmup start off down on the hands and knees. To protract the shoulder start by pushing the arms forward allowing the shoulder blades to slide away from the spine. Retraction of the shoulder blade is the opposite, drawing the shoulder blades inward together towards the spine. When we row, we want and aspect of controlled protraction and retraction with each repetition, so this movement is great to warm up stiff shoulders and back.

In Conclusion

The row is a compound exercise, meaning you are using more the one muscle group at a time. We need to make sure we use all the muscle in the “triangle of the mid back” that are necessary to performing a proper row. This exercise does focus the lats and biceps but if the rotator cuff, midback and the muscles stabilizing the neck aren’t being used we really are not utilizing this exercise to its fullest potential.

When we change the external resistance from body weight or dumbbells to a band, we need to know it will affect the muscles and joint differently. Change reps and weight accordingly to the new stimulus.

If you are having trouble or extended soreness when doing this exercise, try to mobilize the shoulder and mid back with the Supine Y Raises and Shoulder Protraction/Retractions.

Stay tuned for another deep dive into the movements of the body with your truly,

- Justice Rowland

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