How to Do the Inverted Row Exercise

Easy to scale and implement makes the inverted row an awesome back and core exercise for beginners to advanced.

This guide covers the how to, muscles work, progressions, and variations to keep you challenged while adding variety to your workouts.

Inverted row. recline rows, and bodyweight rows are all the same exercise. The names are used interchangeably.

Watch as BarBend guides you through the Inverted Row.

Inverted Row Progressions:

  1. Alter the tempo
    1. Add a 3 second holds at the top of each rep.
    2. Increase the eccentric
  2. The lower the bar, the more difficult the row.
  3. When you reach a point where the bar can’t go any lower. Raise your feet on a box or bench.
  4. Add weight. Using a weight vest is your best bet.


  • Keep your torso rigid. Shoulders are always square to the pulling arm.
  • Maintain a straight line through the hips, shoulders, knees, and ankles. Don’t let your butt sag. Squeeze your glutes and flex your stomach to keep your body rigid from head to toe.
  • The only difference between this version and the standard inverted row is that you’re doing it with one hand. Everything else remains exactly the same.
  • Pull through the shoulder blades. Imagine pinching a pencil between your shoulder blades.

Inverted Row Variations

  • 1 Arm Inverted Row
  • Suspension Straps – Using suspension straps makes removes stability making your row more challenging and upping the demands on your core.
    • 1 Arm TRX Row
  • Towel – Use a towel as your handle. This will give your grip a killer workout.
    • Rope Inverted Rows are similar. Just throw a battle rope over your pull up bar, grab and go. The thickness of the rope will have your forearms working overtime.
  • Slide – Move side to side at the top to increase time under tension and increases load on one side.
  • KB Inverted Row – This is a tough one. Your grip is challenged to the max.
  • Grappler’s Inverted Row –

TRX 1 Arm Inverted Row

One Arm TRX Row

How to do it:

  • Stand in front of a fixed bar. Grab it with one hand and lean back. Feet flat on floor.
  • Pull your chest to the bar. Start by pulling your shoulder blades and finish by pulling through the elbow.
  • Return to the start position under control.


Inverted Row Slides

Grappler’s Row

Grappler’s Inverted Row w/ KB


Inverted Row Muscles Worked

Inverted rows full under the upper body pulling category. So, they hit the back and biceps.

The core gets a good workout too.

  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Biceps
  • Forearms
  • Posterior deltoids
  • Trapezius
  • Rhomboids


  • Glutes


The exercise that most closely replicates inverted rows are barbell rows.

Bent Over RowOne arm rows are good dumbbell option.

And a seated row is a great machine alternative.

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