Attach a rope to a high pulley and make your weight selection. Stand a couple feet back from the pulley with your feet staggered and take the rope with both hands. Lean forward from the hip, keeping your back straight, with your arms extended up in front of you. This will be your starting position. Keeping your arms straight, extend the shoulder to pull the rope down to your thighs. Pause at the bottom of the motion, squeezing your lats. Return to the starting position without allowing the weight to fully rest on the stack.
Get a platform of some sort (it can be an aerobics or calf raise platform) that is around 4-6 inches in height. Place it on the seat of the cable row machine. Sit down on the machine and place your feet on the front platform or crossbar provided making sure that your knees are slightly bent and not locked. Lean over as you keep the natural alignment of your back and grab the V-bar handles. With your arms extended pull back until your torso is at a 90-degree angle from your legs. Your back should be slightly arched and your chest should be sticking out. You should be feeling a nice stretch on your lats as you hold the bar in front of you. This is the starting position of the exercise. Keeping the torso stationary, pull the handles back towards your torso while keeping the arms close to it until you touch the abdominals. Breathe out as you perform that movement. At that point you should be squeezing your back muscles hard. Hold that contraction for a second and slowly go back to the original position while breathing in. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions. Caution: Avoid swinging your torso back and forth as you can cause lower back injury by doing so. Variations: You can use a straight bar instead of a V-Bar and perform with a pronated grip (palms facing down-forward) or a supinated grip (palms facing up-reverse grip).
Holding a barbell with a pronated grip (palms facing down), bend your knees slightly and bring your torso forward, by bending at the waist, while keeping the back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor. Tip: Make sure that you keep the head up. The barbell should hang directly in front of you as your arms hang perpendicular to the floor and your torso. This is your starting position. Now, while keeping the torso stationary, breathe out and lift the barbell to you. Keep the elbows close to the body and only use the forearms to hold the weight. At the top contracted position, squeeze the back muscles and hold for a brief pause. Then inhale and slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions. Caution: This exercise is not recommended for people with back problems. A Low Pulley Row is a better choice for people with back issues. Also, just like with the bent knee dead-lift, if you have a healthy back, ensure perfect form and never slouch the back forward as this can cause back injury. Be cautious as well with the weight used; in case of doubt, use less weight rather than more. Variations: You can perform the same exercise using a supinated (palms facing you) grip.
Lie flat on your back with your feet flat on the ground or resting on a bench with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Hold a weight to your chest, or you may hold it extended above your torso. This will be your starting position. Now, exhale and slowly begin to roll your shoulders off the floor. Your shoulders should come up off the floor about 4 inches while your lower back remains on the floor. At the top of the movement, flex your abdominals and hold for a brief pause. Then inhale and slowly lower yourself back down to the starting position.
Sit down on a pull-down machine with a wide bar attached to the top pulley. Make sure that you adjust the knee pad of the machine to fit your height. These pads will prevent your body from being raised by the resistance attached to the bar. Grab the bar with the palms facing forward using the prescribed grip. Note on grips: For a wide grip, your hands need to be spaced out at a distance wider than shoulder width. For a medium grip, your hands need to be spaced out at a distance equal to your shoulder width and for a close grip at a distance smaller than your shoulder width. As you have both arms extended in front of you holding the bar at the chosen grip width, bring your torso back around 30 degrees or so while creating a curvature on your lower back and sticking your chest out. This is your starting position. As you breathe out, bring the bar down until it touches your upper chest by drawing the shoulders and the upper arms down and back. Tip: Concentrate on squeezing the back muscles once you reach the full contracted position. The upper torso should remain stationary and only the arms should move. The forearms should do no other work except for holding the bar; therefore do not try to pull down the bar using the forearms. After a second at the contracted position squeezing your shoulder blades together, slowly raise the bar back to the starting position when your arms are fully extended and the lats are fully stretched. Inhale during this portion of the movement. Repeat this motion for the prescribed amount of repetitions. Variations: The behind the neck variation is not recommended as it can be hard on the rotator cuff due to the hyperextension created by bringing the bar behind the neck.
Using a neutral grip, lean into an incline bench. Take a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip, beginning with the arms straight. This will be your starting position. Retract the shoulder blades and flex the elbows to row the dumbbells to your side. Pause at the top of the motion, and then return to the starting position.
To begin, set the bar height on the smith machine around the middle of your thighs. Once the correct height is chosen and the bar is loaded, grab the bar using a pronated grip (palms facing you) shoulder width apart from each other. Lift the barbell up and fully extend your arms with your back straight. This is the starting position. While exhaling, elevate the bar by raising your shoulders until they come close to touching your ears. Hold the contraction for a second before lowering the bar back down to the starting position while inhaling. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions. Variations: This exercise can be performed using a squat rack with a barbell. However, be careful not to select a weight that is so heavy that it causes you to break good form as you do not have the support of the smith machine for this variation. Too much weight can harm your back. You can also use dumbbells to perform this exercise.