Back Training – Bodyweight Hanging Row

The hanging row is a great bodyweight exercise for building muscle in your upper back. Similar to the pull-up, it is a great addition to your home workout routine.

The Purpose of this Exercise

The hanging row is a great bodyweight exercise for your latissimus dorsi (lats or upper back) and biceps. With respect to your body, rows are designed to work your lats in the horizontal plane (versus pull-ups, which work them in the vertical plane). When you aren’t a gym member and don’t have a well equipped home gym, you are generally left with few rowing options. Hanging rows can help fill that gap.

Exercise Technique

Think of the hanging row as the exact opposite of the push-up. Instead of pushing yourself away from the floor, you’ll be positioned on your back, and pull yourself away from the floor.

  • Set your exercise bar to a height that when hanging down from the bar, your shoulders are just above the floor. Your body should not rest on the floor in the ‘down’ position. Your exercise bar could be something as simple as a broomstick placed between two chairs.


With your arms fully extended at the bottom of the exercises, your body should be slightly above the floor

  • Grip the bar with hands in pronated position (overhand grip) about a hands width outside shoulder width. Your heels should be the only part of your body touching the floor. Your body should be straight and rigid, and your arms fully extended at the starting position.


Keep your body rigid and straight throughout the exercise

  • Contract your lats and pull yourself up to the bar explosively. Try to pull yourself up until you touch your chest to the bar.


    Pull yourself to the bar with a smooth, controlled motion.

    Do not allow your body to bend at the knees or waist

    • Perform each repetition with control. Your body should remain straight and rigid throughout your set, and you should your movements should be smooth and controlled.
    • For this exercise, you should complete as many repetitions as possible until you hit failure.


    • Hand position:Using a supinated (underhanded grip) will increase the emphasis on your biceps. Using a pronated grip with a wider hand position increases the emphasis on your lats.
    • Raised feet:Performing this exercise with your feet raised allows you to perform the movement at an angle nearer to perpendicular with your body. This builds thicker, more powerful lats that provide greater assistance when performing ‘pushing’ exercises (ie bench press, push-ups).

    Additional Back and Bicep Exercises:

    Listed below are some additional exercises you may want to add to your training program for your back and biceps.

    Additional Bodyweight Exercises: 

    Listed below are some additional bodyweight exercises you can easily add to your home workout program.

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