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Rounded Back Pulls

Now, you’ve already been exposed to the idea of a squatting and pushing the knees in at a particular portion of the squat instead of pushing it out. You’ve been exposed to the idea of behind the neck pressing and behind neck pull-ups. So, let’s just say that readers of this site are pretty open minded.

Let’s push boundaries again okay? At LiftHard.com, if I don’t push boundaries of what I do, I feel uncomfortable. I’ve only got another 60 years MAX on earth, so I want to make every day count. So I push boundaries. Occasionally, I fall off the cliff, but I climb back. So let’s push this boundary about, “pulling with a rounded back

The History

I first saw this sort of pulling in the conventional gyms where I worked out at, before I switched into weightlifting. I thought to myself “Man, these jokers are setting themselves up for injury. NSCA said so, ACE said, NASM said so. The professionals said so. This is horrible!“. At 19, of course you know everything there is to know about the world, so I would snub my nose at them thinking I know best.

I mean, I was in university, I had a career in logistics coming up for me, no worries. I had finished digesting a book about anatomy. I was reading a super thick personal trainers manual. I am a professional. A …professional dumbass.

As you go along with life, you start to see things that make you question what you know. And now, I’ve come to a point in life where I believe that, every thing has a way of working. It’s just how you support the decisions you decide to take. That’s why I rarely if ever argue about stuff. I’ll listen to what you think. Then I’ll share what I think. And I never attempt to switch someone to how I think. I just share it with a passion and you make the decision.

This is because I’ve found that during the heat of the argument/debate/discussion, our emotions take over so much, that we can’t actually listen to what’s being said. We hear, but we don’t listen. Yes, it’s been a long time coming.

Now, while mechanically and structurally, rounded back pulling is an absolute disaster, let’s consider the fact that muscles are there, to protect us. Help us do work. If you look at just one aspect, this is what happens;

Structure : “If you bend me, I will blow up and die and you will live with eternal back pain”

But what if you consider the muscular aspect of things?

Muscular: “Well….now you’re holding me in an isometric arched, locked out fashion. But what about my dynamic un-arched fashion? Isn’t that another element you want me to work on too? I mean, you don’t just do static squats, static pull-ups….how come with me, you only do static work?

Now, let’s consider what a gymnast does. I like using gymnasts because they defy gravity and many rules of biomechanics. The iron cross.

Now now, before you go saying that, it’s a static position and that it’s safe if it’s in a static position because there’s no dynamic movements affecting the stabilisers, etc, think about what this man’s doing. He’s supporting his bodyweight, with his shoulders! If you think about it.

That’s “not safe” at all. But, we’ve gotta try taking other aspects of training like the body’s ability to mould itself to the movement that you desire to create.

Try not to confuse what personal trainers do at their certifications, as they’re probably going to be working with professional “do-no-physical-activity” people. I think this is the confusion that a lot of people spurt. They think that all rules taught by personal trainers apply to the world of sports too.

IF you want to be an athlete, you’ve got to take risks. You’ve got to attempt movements that are risky, but in the safest possible manner. This is why I don’t believe that trainers can coach athletes without a mentor. And why I don’t believe that athletes can train normal people without first being put into a remodelling course.

One’s physical activity for better health. One’s physical activity, to challenge the boundaries of what’ humans are capable of. When you apply the limitations of physical activity for better health to athletes, you’ll see …limitations. If you apply what athletes do, to normal people, you’ll see injuries.

Take a look at this link to see Lu Xiaojun doing it.

How to perform them?

  1. Understand the rule of 50/50. 50/50 means, not too tense, not too loose.
  2. The back has to be 50/50
  3. Empty bar
  4. Take a grip between a clean and snatch grip (medium grip)
  5. Feel it hinge off the middle of the back, off the lats, off the spinal erectors
  6. Take a 3 second up – down tempo. When pulling make sure you’re still thinking about how to sweep the bar to contact the hip
  7. Start with 10 reps or so and as you get used to it, you can choose to go up or down in rep ranges
  8. Work on feeling the back stretch and contract, and work.
  9. Think like a bodybuilder. Maximum contraction.

Do them right, 3-4 weeks, you’ll see something change.

And don’t forget the webinar on Sunday 9.30PM Melbourne time (+10 GMT)

EDIT: Another option is this

11 replies
  1. Nick
    Nick says:

    Awesome. If you take a look at strongman events also, you can notice how the athletes lift the atlas stones..I mean it’s impossible to ”hang” an atlas stone end try to make the ”first pull” without a rounded back…Rounded back pull isn’t an ”evil exercise” and has its place in training..

  2. Bryan
    Bryan says:

    I’ve been wondering about these for a while especially after seeing Klokov do them. Then about a week ago I saw that same picture of Lu doing them. I believe Simmons has his lifters do similar exercises but mainly as good morning variations.

  3. Ty Wall
    Ty Wall says:

    If any of you have read Kelly Starrets stuff, he also advocates rounded back pulling under certain conditions and with the proper set up.

  4. Andrew Cannon
    Andrew Cannon says:

    Screw them Stephen, while you’re giving to the world though dissemination of knowledge they are negative keyboard warriors – who’s the nerd?


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