When it comes to back training, you’ll find that it’s helpful to work with heavy weights. That approach works great when you’re trying to pack on size, but you’re not always putting yourself in the best position to avoid tweaks and, in the worst case scenario, injuries, when you load up the barbell. Thankfully, this exercise is so safe and “EZ,” it may become a regular fixture in your workout rotation.

It’s called the EZ-bar incline row, a favorite variation of the popular back exercise that Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. uses in his training. When you add it to your workouts, you’ll be able to slap on heavier slabs of weight while protecting your back from unnecessary strain and potential injury.

What sets this variation apart from traditional rows is the position from which you’ll be working and the way you’ll perform each rep. By using the incline bench to support your chest, your taking the strain off your lower back that you’d experience if you were performing rows from a more standard bent-over position. A dead-stop also allows you to take a pause to reset before each rep, preventing any potential form slip-ups or grip failures after the accumulated strain at the end of a long set.

How to Do the EZ Bar Incline Row

●Sit on an incline bench facing forward, so you can rest your chest against the pad.

●Use a supinated (or underhand) grip to grabbing the EZ bar. Engage your glutes and abs, then squeeze your shoulder blades to create tension.

●Pull the weight up to the bench. Think about driving the EZ bar straight through the bench as quickly and explosively as possible.

●Return the bar to the ground without allowing it to slam on the floor.

●Pause between each rep to reset your position.

Not many back exercises give you the benefit of lifting heavy while at the same time being safe for your back, so take advantage of this exercise. Go as heavy as possible, starting out with 3 to 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps.

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