Your back is made up of a large amount of muscles both big and small, and no back routine is complete without a wide variety of exercises. It is not enough just to do deadlifts and heavy rows, a real back routine will take advantage of many different angles and exercises. The two basic types of pulling exercise include the Horizontal Pull and Vertical Pull, both which you need to include in your workout program because they work on different muscles of your back to certain levels.
Pull-ups, chin-ups, and inverted rows are all functional movements which work the various muscles in your back effectively, and can work towards giving you that amazing V-shaped physique you have always dreamed of!
General Benefits and Uses of Pulling Exercises
The basic difference between the inverted row, pull-up and chin-up is that the inverted row is a horizontal pull while the other two are vertical pulls. This changes the muscles worked drastically, but they have many cross-over effects.
By including both types of movement, you will be able to work your back effectively; as all types of pulling exercises prevent neck, shoulder and also upper back pain. These types of exercise also help to improve your posture, and they are good for preventing pain and injury from prolonged sitting.
In performing a basic inverted row workout, you will need a suspension trainer or a best free standing pull up bar. In comes the TRX.
Benefits of TRX Training
Developed by a former Navy Seal and a Stanford MBA graduate Randy Hetrick, Total Resistance Exercise (TRX) is a kind of resistance training which incorporates utilizing bodyweight exercises where several multi-planar and compound exercise movements can be performed. It is a unique way of training and one that can effectively can shock your body for muscle growth, as well as muscle strength.
The goal of this form of resistance training is to develop balance, strength, joint stability and flexibility simultaneously. The level of resistance can be increased or decreased by adjusting your body position, and it is actually safe for individuals of all fitness levels. One of the advantages of it is that there is nearly no fixed position at all, almost every exercise can be transitioned in some way to fit your fitness level. It does not expose the joints and tendons to the risks of stress that is common with traditional “suspension” forms of training, and is extremely viable even for recovering from injuries.
It is important to know that this is dependent on the safety precautions you take, but there are ways to train almost literally every part of your body with the TRX.
Central Features of TRX Training
There are several core values that make up TRX training, and knowing about these core values will enable you to fully appreciate the training programs and potential benefits of the TRX.
- No matter where you are, TRX training helps you to achieve your goals and makes training more interesting. The TRX is extremely portable and can be used easily while traveling, but is just as viable being added in to your weekly routine at your normal gym!
- With TRX training, you are empowered to use minimum level of effort to achieve maximum results with effective methods. The TRX is absolutely a train “smarter” instead of “harder” method of training, although it can be used for very difficult movements as well!
- TRX training provides scalable and versatile tools that is easy to use by anyone, and anywhere; to perform exercises that will help improve your body in a wide variety of ways. The difficulty level of any movement can usually be adjusted, and it is a great method for working your way in to more advanced training styles.
- TRX is unique and generally fun form of training, keeping you focused as well as enjoying what you are doing. It is far from monotonous and an exceptional training style for those who become easily bored!
Based on the results of studies to determine the effects of TRX versus traditional resistance training programs on measures of muscular performance in adults, results indicate that TRX training actually improves muscular fitness variables in middle aged adults and younger adults that are associated with resistance training at comparative or better rates! The report therefore suggested that TRX could serve as a useful training program for individuals in search of extra training options to enable them gain endurance and muscular strength.
Along with this, it is also important to understand that the TRX is not just for beginners, as advanced training movements can be difficult to perform for even the strongest of athletes. It literally is a wide-ranged, multi-purposed, masterpiece of fitness equipment!
It is a very suitable activity for those who suffer from frequent back pain because this system is capable of strengthening it. The TRX is commonly used in physical therapy now because of its ability to make you work with, and against gravity. Adding this in to your routine before a problem arises can effectively limit your chance for injury or chronic pain.
Again, TRX suspension training is very much designed to work all of your muscles stabilizers (those that maintain proper posture during training). This lowers the risk of injury, especially in people who follow training routines repeating strength exercises (weights). Personally, the TRX has done wonders for my shoulders and knees over the years. Basketball has put a large amount of strain on these two areas of my body, but consistent TRX training has managed these pains and weaknesses exceptionally.
Almost everywhere in the world that I have gone over the past few years I have found a TRX, and it has been valuable in every situation for maintain strength and stability throughout my body!
Although this is not an aerobic sport, TRX also helps you lost weight because of the large amount of muscles worked in each movement. Since you are forced to work different muscle groups than you normally would with traditional training methods, it substantially increases muscle size and heart rate to cover the exercise and the energy requirement of burning fat from your body.
When talking specifically about inverted rows or pull-ups, TRX training is amazing because you can do variations of both at whichever level of training you are; and gradually work your way up to more difficult levels while ALSO using more conventional methods. You absolutely can substitute this in for either, but it also can go along with. I often perform TRX inverted rows multiple times per week simply because of the improvements in grip strength, as well as shoulder health, that it gives me. It is a very helpful warm-up exercise since there is limited strain on your joints!
Furthermore, every single TRX exercise will improve your ability to perform high reps of pull-ups since it improves your core as much or more than anything else. Core strength is vital to blasting out high reps of good-form pull-ups, and the TRX is incredible at improving this.
Muscles Worked Through pull-ups and Chin-ups
Pull ups provide you with intense challenges that are quite difficult for training regardless of your strength levels. They place a great emphasis on your major muscles in your upper back, and when you are able to build these muscles you will develop a wider torso and a great physique. Pull ups have several programs that can be used, and it may be difficult to choose the best program that is suitable for your fitness goals. My two favorite programs for building pull-ups are Every Minute on the Minute Training, and a simpler approach of performing 50 total pull-ups in as few of sets as possible.
This can also be applied to chin-ups, since they are performed similarly.
Chin-ups are underhanded or supinated in grip, although both of them are effective in working your lats they still have specific benefits which will determine your choice. I personally recommend people to only do supinated chin-ups or pull-ups since I strongly believe underhanded chin-ups can put excess stress on your elbows that is not necessary. It is commonly believed that chin-ups work your biceps more effectively, but this has been proven wrong on many occasions. The difference between underhand chin-ups and supinated grip chin-ups or pull-ups is generally negligible, and the best advice you can take is to just do which one you are most comfortable with overall.
Difference between Inverted Row, Chin-Up and Pull Up
Despite the shared features, there are some differences between pull ups, chin-ups and the inverted row. Some of the differences include:
- Pull-ups have a vertical position while inverted rows are a horizontal pull, which implies that different muscles are targeted from different angles.
- Although both of them work your rhomboids, mid and lower traps, lats, shoulders, biceps, your core and forearms, pull-ups focus more on your lats, while inverted rows place emphasis on your mid and lower traps and your rhomboids.
- Chin-ups and pull-ups have generally more positive impact on your shoulders and chest due to the retractions necessary, while inverted rows primarily work a wider-scope of back muscles.
- The difficulty level of inverted rows is more easily interchangeable, helping you become better at chin-ups and pull-ups over time.
Along with these movements, people commonly confuse the fact that the traditional “lat pull-down” is just as effective for working your back muscles. In some ways this is true, but in others it is a far inferior movement. The good thing about traditional lat pull-downs is that you can utilize a large amount of weight and work muscles which are limited by your body weight through pull-ups. The bad side, however, is that you get little to no core engagement, and it isn’t very functional for your body overall.
I am not saying don’t do lat pull-downs, but for athletes it can definitely add quite a bit of “heavy” muscle which isn’t functional in your sport. I have found one variation which I personally I like, as it engages your core quite a bit more and has more overall benefits to me! You can see it below.
Dependent on your current level of fitness, all three of these exercises have a place in your routine. I do have some generally simple advice for you however. The first piece of advice which I would like to share is that you should never ever compromise form on a single rep of these. Although these are bodyweight exercises, the strain on your joints can be just as much when doing weighted training, if performed incorrectly. Ensure proper training habits early and do not force reps out unnecessarily. I am all for pushing your limits in strength, but not at the expense of joint health. Next, I really do recommend working primarily with pull-ups and inverted rows, as chin-ups can be seriously damaging to your elbows overtime.
Chin-ups may seem easier for you in the beginning, but overtime this will wear on you. If you make a concerted effort from the time you begin working with these exercises to focus on the absolute best form possible with the safer movements, you will assuredly have far better results. Lastly, don’t be afraid to add weights to your movement over time. Challenging the stability of each movement in different and unique ways will help you build an immensely stronger body overall, so as soon as you are comfortable go ahead and attack these movements!
Go ahead and add these movements in to your routine in whichever way is best for you, because they are three unique movements which will help you build the body of your dreams!