Global Bodyweight Training - Mike Fitch
The Plyometric Body Row: Strength and Power!
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.

Global Bodyweight Training - Mike Fitch
The Pull-Up is one of the standard Vertical Pulling Patterns.

Pulling Patterns

In the GBT System, we group our “pull” 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.

Elastic Energy

In the Plyometric Body Row, the goal is to pull as fast and with as much force as possible.

Global Bodyweight Training - Mike Fitch
Think of your muscles like a rubber band, and make sure not to lose any of the elastic energy by pausing or slowing down!
You’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 you’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 you’re dropping, you will be building elastic energy by the quick lengthening of the muscles. It’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, you’ll lose that elastic energy effect. You’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.

Global Bodyweight Training - Mike Fitch
Use gravity to increase the difficulty level in your Plyo Body Row by elevating the legs
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 – 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:

Published by Mike Fitch

Mike is the founder of Global Bodyweight Training. He has more than 12 years as a fitness professional encompassing a wide range of disciplines which he draws upon to create the GBT system.

Join the Conversation


  1. This is my weakest link! I am really struggling with Pull ups!:-(( I hope I will manage following your stages! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hey Eve, you will get them! It’s all about progression, patience and commitment. Keep me updated

  2. Sweet! Now let’s see it with your feet off the ground. lol… seriously though, that looks like a great exercise to hit all of your mid back. Your video demonstrations are great and I like how you show the progressions and regressions. Something a lot of people leave out.

    1. Hey Brandon, the “no feet” version is actually considered a front lever row and is definitely an exercise that I’m training towards. Thank you for the positive feedback. As you know, bodyweight training is all about progression so it’s important to show people how to regress or progress a movement. Keep training hard my friend!

  3. Plyometric exercises are my absolute favorite. I was never good with physics but I know the forces from fighting gravity are large and in charge. Never plateaued from them

    1. You’re right Colt! I’m a big fan of plyometrics and I think it’s important to train explosive power in all of our movement patterns. Thanks for the comment!

  4. Hi Mike, Great clip! How often would you recommend i practice? Every time i venture to the gym?

    1. Hey Louis, just add it in whenever you are performing your pulling patterns. I wouldn’t recommend doing them in consecutive days, you’ll need some rest, especially since it’s a POWER movement.

  5. Ok, thanks Mike. By the way, i am really enjoying the Animal Flow Workout, it offers a seriously challenging workout!

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