Friday, November 9, 2012

Post on Pendlays

Since all you nancy boys are complaining about the music being too loud.


  • Don't do shitty rows.  The whole point of the fucking row is to work your rhomboids and mid-back, with the lats to a lesser degree.  When you start using cheating and english you turn it into a mini-deadlift/shrug.  This is fine if you want to work the low back and traps....oh wait, that's what the fucking deadlift is for!  Use the row for what it is supposed to be used for.  
  • You don't need to use much weight to properly work the rhomboids and mid-back.  The row, regardless of what you have read or been told, is not a "power" or "strength" movement where a shit ton of weight has to be piled on for it to be effective.  I don't know of a single fucking event in strongman or powerlifting where they ask you to do a row for a single.  The truck pull would be closest and guess what, they have to do a lot of "reps" in that shit.  
  • If you think I'm wrong, try this.  Drop your hips lower and raise your chest and use some english/momentum to do the row.  Do your first set this way.  After that, keep your hips high and your torso parallel to the ground, arch your back hard on the pull and use no momentum.  Which one did you feel the entire midback contract hardest on?  That's the point.  Working the mid-back.  NOT your ego.  I can do rows with 405 if I want, just as shitty as you please.  It would serve zero purpose.  
  • When in doubt, go lighter.  
  • Notice the sweet arch I get on the pull.  This is key to getting a full contract in the back on a row, chin, or pulldown.  If the weight is too heavy, you won't be able to arch hard.  You will start raising your torso to either initiate or finish the movement.  Again, go lighter and work the actual back.  Not your ego.  
  • Back to the arch, this is another reason to stay light on the row.  If you are squatting and pulling heavy in the same week, and are being stupid about your weight on your rows, the low back just takes more of a beating.  When I am squatting and pulling heavy I actually prefer to go to a db row, or chest supported row.  The low back takes a long time to recover.  It's my belief that a fatigued low back is what causes a lot of guys to think they have that broscience bullshit of "CNS burnout".  The low back and hips are the REAL core of your body.  When it is fatigued (muscularly) you are going to notice a significant drop in strength on the big movements.  That area needs to recover.  The squat and pull provide plenty of stimulation for the erectors, so there's no need to pile on even more with heavy shit rows.  Truth is, you could throw a single plate on each side and do some sets of 20, getting plenty of work in for the back without killing the low back.  I know a 900 pound deadlifter who does this.  
  • Cliff notes for doing the row this way - 
    • Hips high
    • Pull with the elbows and squeeze the mid-back
    • Pull to around right below the chest.  
    • Once you stop feeling the contracting in the mid-back, and start throwing in body english reduce the weight.  You should always be able to squeeze everything together back there and feel a strong contraction.  

41 comments:

  1. THE MUSIC IS TOO LOUD!

    Paul You are the MAN. Keep banging. Thanks for all you do. Men will be men once more with you at the helm.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeez sorry for bitching about the music, but thanks for the text version of the instruction!

      Delete
    2. No carbs since Monday. I'm ready to kill old people.

      Delete
  2. Some notes from Pendlay himself on the rows
    http://pendlayforum.com/showpost.php?s=ff3e47f00242f8b3ed9e387c6ccee411&p=13402&postcount=8

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "At no time is there any movement of the hips or knees, no hip extension at all, all that bends is the middle back and the shoulders and elbows."

      He wrote that. Since some people like to be fucking argumentative about it.

      Delete
  3. Great post as usual. What are your thoughts on a slight pause at the top, holding the weight for a second? Thanks again for everything you write.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think it's needed if you are staying parallel to the floor.

      Delete
  4. There's no doubt in my mind that countless impressionable young men may have been confused by the man rowing with a perfectly still & flat back in that loud angry video.
    Thanks for the text version. Nobody has ever misunderstood someone else in writing, so this is clearly the way forward!
    Have an horrendous weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anyone who bitches about Anthrax "Only" being too loud..Fuck me running. Try a selection by Sting next time. FWIW I understood every word. Thanks for the clarification Paul.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like the fact that Paul listens to good music. All I needed was to see Paul doing the exercise and I knew I had work to do. Excellent posture.

      Thanks for the text. I'm going to try the sets exactly as outlined so I can feel the difference.

      Delete
  6. So does this mean "Kroc rows" are over-rated at best?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No I think that db rows are excellent. However, if you're going to do the barbell version, in my opinion, this kind is best.

      Delete
  7. Right on, thank you.

    Do you see a difference in kroc rows and dumbell rows? To me kroc rows just look like shitty form dumbell rows, but maybe I'm missing something.

    Do you ever use db rows where you apply more of a twist when rowing or do you pretty much stick to very strict rows no matter what type you do? Also, I think your website here is awesome and I appreciate you taking the time to do it. I would like to know how I can buy something you sell to support the cause, I clicked on the link for the book but it said it was unavailable. Not a fan of ebooks. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kroc rows have nothing to do with form. They started off having to do with high rep sets of db rows. That's how they originally got defined. When Matt did a set of 35 or whatever with a 175 pound bell. They were named kroc rows because of the high reps. Still, just a db row. If you go back and watch that set, Matt's form was really strict. I personally thought his rows went to shit as he got heavier and was simply cheating the weight up. didn't seem to help his deadlift too much.

      Delete
    2. The books on amazon are back in stock.

      Delete
    3. Paul sorry to hijack your response brother but do you have any of the 'Death is winning' thirts in XXL?

      Delete
    4. not right now dude, in fact I'm almost out all together. It's time for a new shipment and I will get some XXL and XXXL.

      Delete
  8. Makes sense.

    I had never heard of a kroc row until I read Wendler's book. Likewise, I had never heard of pendlay rows until I came here. The few videos I saw was Wendler doing heavy rows for like 10-15 reps and Matt doing rows with a 300 pounder. I didn't get it but these guys are much bigger and stronger than me so I figured I was late to the party.

    15 years of lifting weights and things get new names when I'm not looking. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Paul,

    Glenn actually showed me how to do his style of row a few different times and he always emphasised finishing the row with a thoracic arching of the back. I have a video of him performing the movement I will link below. In his demonstration video Max did not do this extension even though Glenn says do do it. I am writing this not to be pedantic, but simply to mention that Glenn sees this as a key part of the movement that strengthens a part of the back that only usually gets to worked isometrically. Here is thelink, after him rowing you will also see another exercise he showed me to get a stronger upper back also. It is unusual, but very good for getting a stronger upper back for people like weightlifters who pull a lot from the floor.
    http://www.weightliftingepiphanies.blogspot.ie/2010/07/fridays-flippant-schedule.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why didn't I like of that? Glenn is a smart dude.

      Delete
  10. One thing I've noticed both in your video and in Barry's is that the hips are actually a bit higher than the shoulders throughout the row (Barring after the T-spine extension when Glenn did them). Seems like an interesting cue to try, and it's something I've never seen mentioned anywhere.

    Relevant to the above: On the subject of not doing them with excessive weight so as to properly work the rhomboids: Any thoughts on the possibility of doing "deficit" rows, given adequate hamstring flexibility? (Say, with a crapton of smaller plates, for example)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mainly to stretch out the rhomboids more via scapular rotation, hopefully working them a bit harder and helping leave out the middle/lower traps. Pretty nice hamstring stretch too. It was just a random idea, though, hence asking for thoughts since you know more than I do.

      Delete
    2. You can't "leave anything out" like that. Once you do the concentric portion of the movement all of the same muscle groups will still be doing the work. The middle and lower traps still work here. It's the upper portion of the traps that come more into play when you get into the cheating style. I think if you got into a deficit with these you'd end up cheating again.

      Delete
    3. Possible, but the middle traps are more involved in retraction than in rotation, since they run more or less horizontally, whereas the rhomboids attach diagonally, so presumably the muscle recruitment would shift a little. Initial attempts here at home resulted in no cheating, but might just have been low weight (Will do a serious try tomorrow at the gym and see if I can get it on video), although I also found it impossible to keep an arch (The load on the back is lesser due to the steeper torso angle, but I'd need to see how it holds up to a bit more weight).

      Delete
    4. Don't be part of the fucking mental masturbation crew, Diego.

      Delete
    5. *shrug*

      Eh, at least this way it's easier to clean up afterwards ;)

      Delete
    6. The arch is very much key to overall back contraction. So if you can't arch hard, ditch em.

      Delete
    7. Diego, if you are elevating your feet, and thus increasing shoulder flexion, doesn't this more resemble a lat-pull down with a lean back, or a Chest-support row? Why not just do chins, rows, and shrugs, hitting every relevant angle, and call it a day?

      Delete
    8. It's what I do, actually (Mostly chins, currently). As I said, it was just a random thought. Personally, if I had to use a cable stack for rhomboid building I'd use straight-arm pull-downs, tbh.

      Delete
  11. damnit, I can only row with 95 pounds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vince Urbank is a 900+ deadlift and rows with 135. Don't worry about it.

      Delete
    2. Me too, i did it today first tube with the right form like in the videos, geeky way better then cheating with 225, i can even feel it giving my neck a pump

      Delete
  12. You really blew my mind when you said your heaviest sets are 225 as a 700 deadlifter, that really put this row game in perspective. I think I'm going to have to drop bb rows for a while though, my wonky scoliosis back doesn't really like hard arching. DB rows are always good though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 275 for triples is my heaviest, but generally yes, 225x8-10 is about as heavy as I can go for medium reps.

      Delete
    2. Oh btw to add, I was talking to Dan Green today and he said that his heaviest in staying strict, was 315. Dan just missed an 855 deadlift a few months ago. And he only missed it because he got stuck on his legs.

      Delete
  13. Paul,

    Nice job of pointing out that the lower back is the real core of the body. A lot of people truly fail to acknowledge that. After a hard training session on the lower back via deadlifts, it does take much longer to recover. That's just a fact and people need to be reminded of that. Personally, I do not even do barbell rows, i dislike them---but like you, I too refer to dumbbell rows to work my back. As a matter of fact, that's all I do to work my back: dumbbell rows (heavy or light) and pullups/chinups. Nothing more.

    Another comment I want to make regarding upperback work and the traps, I do not really do any direct work for them. I do not even shrug really. I've tried them, of course. Being on the farm as a young lad, and currently working in the steel mill---our upperbacks get worked more than anything. My traps are fricking huge, I always thought it was how my body was built. But then as I look back, its a result from years of "carrying weights". Think farmers walks, carrying logs/beams on shoulders, and more importantly, just carrying weight with the weight placed in front of ur body/pressed against ur belly. I cant really think of how to explain this, but i guess you could try to pile a couple of 45lb plates on top of each other. Pick it up on the sides, then DONT even bend down really. Just bring it up high enough, press it against ur lower belly, you'll have an angle at your elbows and your upperback/traps "pulled back and high" while held in a fully contracted postition. Basically, after doing that for several hours on a daily basis for years--my upperback gets all the work it needs. I'll see if I can try something in the gym to mimic its feeling, and maybe give some ideas. Just food for thought.

    Also, a HUGE difference I noticed when deadlifting---is most people have their chest out high and their backs pulled in tight when they start to deadlift. For me, my traps literally come out before I pull, then they "retract" when I am standing straight. Hah!I get more power this way. The human body is amazing, man.

    Nice post on the pendlays, it was interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm doing Bill Starr's 5x5 and for rows the description follows:

    90 degrees and done dynamically (Accelerate the weight into your body - do not jerk it but constantly increase the pace like an oar through water).

    Is this what we'd consider a Pendlay Row?

    ReplyDelete