The Best Core Exercises For The Beginner Here

The Best Squat For The Beginner Here

Pulling exercises and movements work the important muscles you DON’T see.   

When you were a child and learning how to walk you probably pulled yourself up on a stable object for support. Did anybody teach you this? No, because this movement is already hardwired into your brain.

Pulling exercises are often neglected while exercising because some are working on their mirror muscles (hello chest and biceps) or some totally forget about what they cannot see. 

But exercising your back muscles, particularly when starting your exercise journey will help improve your posture, give you strong and healthy shoulders and they work the biceps, the most flexed muscle of all time.

Here are the five best pulling exercises for beginners to train those important muscles you cannot see. Plus, the biceps. You like to flex them, right?

Note- These pulling exercises go in order from easiest to more difficult.

Single Arm Band/Cable Arm Row

Pulling on the cable machine (or band) mimics the pulling motion you do daily when reaching for the good stuff.  For example, food from the fridge. Plus, this exercise works the neglected muscles in between the shoulder blades that are important for good posture and shoulder health. Lifting one side at a time trains your core (because of the offset load) and improves strength imbalances between sides.

Benefits of The Single Arm Row

The offset load trains the core and improves strength imbalances between sides.

Trains the muscles between the shoulder blades that are important for good posture.

Simple to perform.

How to do The Single Arm Row

Grip the band/cable handle with one hand and walk back until your arm is fully outstretched. Keeping your chest up and shoulders down, row your hand to above your hip. Pause and slowly return to the starting position. Reset and repeat. This is best trained between eight-15 reps and for three to four sets.

Inverted Row

Inverted rows are not as sexy as pull-ups, chin-ups and bent over rows but they train an important part of the posterior, the upper back. A strong upper back is responsible for good posture and better shoulder mobility and stability. The inverted row is simple to perform and is adjustable to varying strength levels, making it great exercise for beginners. Once you get stronger, it is easily progressed.

Benefits of the Inverted Row

 A simple exercise to do and is easily regressed or progressed according to the lifter’s strength levels.

Because it’s easier than chin ups, you can do more reps, which makes it a great exercise to add strength and muscle to the upper back.

 The inverted row is an upside-down plank which helps build core strength and stability.

How to Do the Inverted Row

Adjust the barbell in the squat rack, high enough to grab it with both hands and extend your arms and legs so the body isn’t touching the floor. Plus, high enough for you to do with good form. The bar closer to the ground=harder. Further away= easier.

Lay underneath the bar, so it’s in line with your chest. Grip the bar with a grip that’s slightly wider than shoulder-width. Extend your legs in front and engage and raise the glutes from the ground so the body forms a straight line. Pull the chest to the bar while driving your elbows behind the body. Pause for a second and lower to the starting position and repeat. Two to four sets and doing reps of six to 12 works well here.


The beauty of the TRX row is it’s made easier by moving your feet further away from the anchor point and harder by moving your feet closer.  This makes it a great exercise for all levels. The unstable nature of the suspension trainer trains all your smaller stabilizing muscles making it more than just back exercise. Plus, you can adjust the way you hold the grips to train your back from different angles.

Benefits of The TRX Row

Is adjustable to your strength levels.

Trains more muscles because of the instability of the TRX

Adjustable grip to train your back muscles from different angles.

How to do The TRX Row

Take a firm grip of both handles and adjust your foot position for your strength level. Slowly lower yourself back until your arms are straight and feet are firmly in place. Pull yourself towards the anchor point. Keep your shoulders and chest up to keep a neutral spine. Pause for a second and lower yourself slowly to the starting position. Work in the eight-15 reps two to four set range as the upper back needs more endurance for posture and strength purposes.

Single Arm Dumbbell Row

Single arm dumbbell row is a little harder because more grip strength is needed because you’re working against gravity as opposed to the cable row and the TRX Row. But you have the support of the weight bench for stability which helps you lift more weight. This is a great exercise to add strength to your forearms, grip, biceps, and upper back. Afterwards, you should admire your handiwork in the mirror.  

Benefits of The Single Arm Dumbbell Row

Increased upper body strength in the upper back for better posture and shoulder health.

Decreases strength imbalances between sides.

Increases grip strength in wrist and forearms.

How to do The Single Arm Dumbbell Row

If you have never done this, keep the weight on the light side until you feel good with your form. Place your left knee and left hand on the weight and bring your right leg out to the side until you have a flat back. Grip the dumbbell with your right hand keeping your chest up, shoulders down and row the dumbbell towards your hip. Stop just below the hip and return to the starting position. Reset and repeat. Sets of between two-four and eight to 15 reps works well with this exercise.

Dumbbell Three Point Row

You go from hand and knee support to only one hand, making this a little trickier because it demands more core strength due to less stability. Plus, you’re in the hinge position helping to strengthen the lower back and core muscles. Start on the lighter side until you feel confident with the 3-point position. Because of the larger range of motion and less stability, you’ll increase the size and strength of your forearms, biceps and upper back while strengthening your lower back and core. This is a row with the lot.

 Benefits of The Dumbbell Three Point Row

Strengths the core, lower back, upper back, forearms, biceps, and grip strength.

The large range of motion means more fat burning/muscle-building potential.

Strengthens the muscles needed for good posture.

How to do The Dumbbell Three Point Row

Set up parallel to the bench with a dumbbell at your feet. Hinge your hips back feeling the tension in your hamstrings. Place your right hand on the bench and pick up the dumbbell with your left hand with your palm facing inwards. Pull the dumbbell to the front of your hip, pause and slowly lower back down while keeping your chest up and shoulders down. Reset and repeat.  Sets of three to four doing reps of six-15 on each side.

Wrapping Up

Exercising the pulling muscles, you cannot see, is extremely important for shoulder health, posture and opening the pickle jar. Plus. If you need any more convincing, you’ll train the biceps for more flex appeal.

Come on, you know you want to.

Are you still confused on where to start?  Click here for my strength program for those new to strength training.


  1. Doug

    Shane – Janet referred me to this post; I’ll try these for my back, which has been acting up. Thanks!

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