If the rows you’ve been doing at the gym leave you with painful wrists or elbows, stop doing them with a straight bar and switch to an E-Z bar. The bends in an E-Z curl bar allow you to place your hands in a more natural position so you put less stress on your wrists and elbows. Stop focusing on pain and start focusing on your form. Strengthen your shoulders and back with an E-Z curl bar so you can improve your posture, walk tall and reduce your risk of injuries.
Hold an E-Z bar in your hands with a slightly wider than shoulder-width, reverse grip so your hands are on the outermost bends in the bar. Palms face up, your thumbs wrap over the bar and your remaining fingers go under the bar.
Open your feet to a shoulder-width stance, slightly bend your knees and point your toes forward.
Pull your tummy in so your abdominals contract and help keep your back straight. Avoid rounding your back or sagging your torso toward the floor during the exercise.
Bend your upper body forward at your hips until it's at a 70-degree angle. Slightly push your buttocks back and tilt your head back so you look straight ahead of you.
Extend your arms down and hold the E-Z bar slightly below your knees to come to the starting position.
Bend your elbows and pull them back as far as you can so the bar rises up along your thighs.
Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the exercise. Try to bring them as close together as you can and hold this position for one second before slowly lowering the bar back to the starting position. Immediately go into the next repetition. Complete three sets of 12 repetitions.
Grab the outer bends of an E-Z bar with a shoulder-width, overhand grip -- your palms face down, your thumbs wrap under the bar and your remaining fingers go over the bar.
Stand upright with your feet in a shoulder-width stance, knees slightly bent and your toes pointed forward.
Face forward and suck in your stomach to engage your abdominal muscles and support your back.
Extend your arms down, bringing the E-Z bar in front of your upper thighs. This is your starting point.
Bend your elbows outward and pull the bar straight up toward your collarbone, making sure to bend your wrists during the upward motion.
Pause one second at the top of the exercise and slowly lower the weight down to the starting point. Avoid dropping the weight down -- use a slow and controlled motion. Immediately start the next repetition. Complete three sets of 12 repetitions.
- The Insider's Tell-All Handbook on Weight-Training Technique; Stuart McRobert
- WebMD: Shoulder Exercises to Sculpt and Tighten
- WebMD: Low Back Pain: Exercises to Reduce Pain
- Muscle & Strength: EZ Bar Reverse Grip Bent Over Row Video Guide
- ExRx.net: Barbell Upright Row
- If you're new to bent-over and upright rows, use light weight or just the bar so you can develop proper form. As you get stronger, slowly add more weight.
- Inhale when you lower the E-Z bar, and exhale when you pull it up.
- Do rows in front of a mirror so you can check your form.
- Consult your doctor before starting a new strength-training regimen, especially if you have injuries, health concerns and medical conditions.
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.