WALL ROWS | Eliminate Hip Movement for Better Back Engagement

February 17, 2017 by VAHVA Fitness

Different wall row exercises to hit the back from many different angles. Leaning against a wall eliminates hip movement which will allow you to better engage the back!

A lot of people like to do heavy bent over rows and it's a phenomenal exercise for the lats and many other back muscles.

The only problem is that most people also like to use lots of hip drive to lift the heavy weights up which doesn't allow you to engage the back muscles to their full potential.

When it comes to isolating a certain body part, you want to maximize the amount of quality work that is done to these muscle groups. 

When you are using too much momentum and hip drive, you are generating lots of force with your hips and legs which is taking away quality work from the back muscles.

In the previous wall lift video we took a closer look at wall deadlifts. Wall deadlift is likely the best and the only exercise that allows you to isolate the lower back without any engagement of hamstrings or glutes.

In a similar fashion, these exercises will allow you to better target the back and let the targeted muscles do all of the heavy lifting instead of generating force with muscles you don't even want to target.

For the best results, you should use relatively light weights and focus on the perfect contraction of the muscles. 5 to 15 repetitions per set. The main reason why people use hip drive in rowing exercises is because they are using way too much weight.

One great benefit of using the wall is that it also allows you to better engage the thoracic spine which can add size and strength to your middle back.

Wall Bent Over Row

wall row

Bent over row will mainly target the lats but also the middle back muscles such as the rhomboids and middle traps. Your forearm muscles such as the brachioradialis is also worked very nicely when you are using a pronated grip.

To work the middle back muscles, you should aim to pull the shoulder blades back (scapula retraction). The shoulder movement (shoulder extension) alone will mostly work the lats and a bit of posterior deltoids.

You can vary the angle of your body to change the stimulus in your back muscles. One great variation is the thoracic bent over row where you are extending your spine (thoracic extension) while you are pulling the weight up.

Wall Rear Delt Row

rear delt row

Wall rear delt row will primarily target the rear delts but you will also be able to hit the middle traps and rhomboids hard when you pull your shoulders back. 

Barbell version of this exercise is easier to do correctly at first because your arms are fixed and they will travel the correct path easier. Once the barbell version is mastered, dumbbells are the best tool due to their greatest range of motion.

You can also do one arm rear delt rows with a dumbbell/kettlebell, but try to avoid excess rotation of the core.

Wall Facepull

facepull for traps and shoulders

Wall face pull will work effectively the posterior & middle deltoids and upper & middle trapezius muscles. Your biceps are also worked to some degree. 

One of the best benefits of facepulls is that they can help a lot with shoulder mobility when you do them right (light weights and good quality repetitions)

You will also train the external rotation of the shoulder which will strengthen your infraspinatus and keep your shoulders healthy.


samuli jyrkinen

About the author 

Samuli Jyrkinen

Samuli is the ninja behind the scenes (photography, videography, websites, program platforms and more). He has been training religiously for over a decade and has a firm grasp of physical and mental fitness. You will find our story here.

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