The Plyometric Body Row (also known as an Australian Pull-Up) is a great way to build speed and power in your horizontal pulling pattern. The Body Row overall is an extremely versatile exercise that can be used to develop strength, endurance and muscle mass. The specific effects you achieve from the exercise depend on the particular variation you choose, as well as volume, reps and tempo.
This plyometric version is one of my favorite variations. The combination of power, speed, and elastic energy makes for a challenging and fun exercise.
In the GBT System, we group our â€œpullâ€ exercises into two Pulling Patterns:
Vertical Pulls include chin-up and pull-up variations. The Bent Knee Pull-Up in this picture is just one of many variations. The ultimate goal in these Vertical Pulls is to achieve one of bodyweight training’s most awesome and challenging exercises – the Single-Arm Chin-Up.
Horizontal Pulls would be cable rows or bent-over rows in weight training, but in bodyweight training are Body Rows.
In both pulling patterns, the major muscles involved are the lats, rhomboids, teres major, and elbow flexors like the bicep brachii and brachiallis. The emphasis on the different muscles changes depending on the body position and hand placement.
In the Plyometric Body Row, the goal is to pull as fast and with as much force as possible. Youâ€™ll ride the force generated from the initial pull as you travel upwards. Then release your hands when your chest is about to touch the bar. There will be a brief moment where gravity will overcome the force from the pull and youâ€™ll begin to fall back towards the ground. At this point, grab the bar again and control the descent, but still allow yourself to drop quickly.
As youâ€™re dropping, you will be building elastic energy by the quick lengthening of the muscles. Itâ€™s very important to pull immediately into the next rep as soon as your elbows are fully extended. This is the stretch reflex of the plyometric (think of pulling a rubber band and then letting it go). If you stop at the bottom, that energy will dissipate. If you allow yourself to decrease your speed, youâ€™ll lose that elastic energy effect. Youâ€™ll also be training your body to move slowly, which is the opposite effect we are striving for.
Progressions and Regressions
The Plyometric Body Row can be made harder or easier using progressions or regressions that are consistent with those of other bodyweight training exercises.
If we want to make an exercise harder we just have to increase the lever or decrease our mechanical advantage. As we demonstrate in the video, with the Plyometric Body Row we increase the lever by straightening the legs, and then further progress it by elevating the legs.
On the other hand, to make an exercise easier, we want to decrease the lever. The more upright you are, the less of your own bodyweight you are pulling. So, to regress the Plyometric Body Row past the starting position shown in the video, we would begin to raise the bar and move the body more upright.
Check out the video below to get going on your own Plyo Body Rows. Remember, speed is the goal so be sure to consciously pull as fast and with as much force as possible. And, of course, form is everything â€“ as soon as you start to slow down or form begins to deteriorate, stop the exercise.
Want to see even more with Body Rows? Check out these other posts and videos: