The pull-up is a classic exercise for strengthening your back, an area athletes neglect too often.
If you can't pull your bodyweight—and there's no shame in that—here’s one alternative that can help you reap similar strength benefits.
What it is: Inverted row
Recommended by: Teena Murray, Louisville director of Olympic Sports Performance
Why and how it helps: An inverted row is like a horizontal pull-up. The exercise targets the lower and upper back muscles and shoulders, all of which are critical to strengthen to help reduce risk for injury.
The pulling motion is necessary to balance front-body training, which involves a lot of pushing. However, pushing motions need to be balanced with pulling movements to develop even strength. The last thing you want is an area of your body to be overly built, which can increase risk for injury.
How to perform inverted rows
Start with your knees bent and feet on the ground; set the bar as you would a bench press
• Lay on floor face up so bar is above chest
• Place hands shoulder-width apart on bar
• Pull chest toward bar
• Lower to start position
Sets/Reps: Perform 2 sets of 5-6 reps; rest for 60-90 seconds between sets
Perform exercise 2-4 times a week.