Master the Smith Machine Single Arm Row & Unlock Your Back's Potential

Perfect this upper back exercise and watch a 500-lb bench press for 15 reps

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In this newsletter, you’ll find a complete guide to the Smith machine single arm row, how to perform it, and how to build it into your routine!. 

We will also share the secrets to improving your strength through our exclusive course, Pursuit of Strength, built by top coach Avi Silverberg.

Finally, read on for tips on the differences between the box squat and pause squat to see which is better for you. 

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Pursuit of Strength is your program if you're serious about your lifting goals. Whether you're a seasoned lifter looking to fine-tune your skills or a newcomer eager to learn, our course has something to offer.  

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The Smith machine single arm row is a rowing variation used to build muscle in the main upper back muscles. But who would benefit the most from this exercise?

This exercise is useful for beginner lifters who need assistance with the bar for technique work and expert lifters who want to overload the muscles with heavy weight.

Here is a quick guide on how to do the Smith machine single-arm row:

  1. Stand parallel to the machine so the barbell is next to your hip

  2. Hold the center knurling of the bar with an overhand grip 

  3. Hinge at the hips slightly so your chest is over your toes and your back is flat  

  4. Row the bar to the top by driving your elbow up towards the ceiling

  5. Your bicep will be in line with your torso at the top position

  6. Return to the starting position by straightening the working arm

Be sure to check out the full article as it covers how to do the exercise, common mistakes, muscles worked, and some similar alternate exercises!

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For those who need more assistance on their journey, there is also an option for one-on-one online coaching. Book a free 20-minute consulting call with one of our coaches to help you build a custom program. 

Should I Box Squat or Pause Squat?

Two of the most common squat variations are the box and pause squats. Many argue they are the same, but they are, in fact, very different movements. Below, we will discuss the use of each variation so you can find out which movement is best for you. 

Box Squats: Prioritizing Hip Engagement

When incorporating box squats into your routine, the emphasis is placed on the hip joint, facilitating greater recruitment of the glutes. 

By using a box, athletes can hone in on proper hip hinge mechanics and maximize the involvement of the glute muscles. This emphasis on hip activation can be particularly advantageous for individuals who struggle with maintaining a consistent bar path or need to refine their hip movement patterns during the squat.

Pause Squats: Building Bottom Strength

Conversely, pause squats present a different challenge by requiring a deliberate pause at the bottom of the movement. This pause enhances control and stability and significantly demands the muscles responsible for powering through the squat's lowest point. 

By spending more time in this position—where the muscles are most stretched and vulnerable—athletes can strengthen their ability to explode out of the hole, improving performance and resilience under heavy loads.

Choosing the Right Variation for Your Goals

If you want to improve your squatting mechanics, the box squat is a great tool to improve your hip’s ability to execute a proper squat. If you are struggling to improve your bottom strength of the squat, you want to use the pause squat instead. 

I would recommend anyone new to squatting to start with the box squat, eventually going into pause squats to further enhance their squatting capabilities to hit bigger numbers in practice, leading to platform domination!

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