October 12, 2011
October 17, 2011

No, we’re not getting back into Taoist lifting philosophies. Instead, what we’re talking about here is bent over rows with barbells, as opposed to rowing on the ergs.

TDWOD #1 (Strength):
5 x 5 Pendlay Rows and DB Floor Press

The Pendlay Row is a form of explosive bent over barbell row which is particularly effective for strengthening your back, lats and traps. Pendlay Rows are named after Olympic Coach Glenn Pendlay, who basically advocated doing barbell rows in such a way as to keep the back parallel or near parallel to the floor during the entire lift while explosively pulling the bar from the floor for each rep.

Start with the bar on the floor. Push the hips back and flex at the waist until your back is parallel to the floor and hands are gripping the bar. Pull the bar off the floor quickly with the arms, pinching the shoulders and driving the elbows towards the ceiling, while maintaining a tight arch in your back. Finish by touching the bar to your upper stomach. At no time should there be any movement of the hips or knees – no bouncing, no heaving.

Pendlay rows have obvious carry over to the bench press, which, oddly enough, is why they were paired with DB floor presses for Thursday’s workout. In fact, your grip on the bar during the Pendlay row should mimic your bench press grip, and at the top of the movement, with hands wider than a deadlift and elbows turned in, as though you were trying to bend the bar circus-strong-man style. Check out our May 2011 blog-post discussing the hows and whys of this set-up matched with some great photos of Tom and Sara demonstrating.

However, the Pendlay Row will also carries massive benefit for the deadlift and both Olympic lifts, helping to create a strong back and allowing a lifter to maintain better posture when pulling weight off the ground. Think about it: how many times do you hear Tom telling you to “Keep a tight back” during a deadlift? I’m willing to bet it’s often.

TDWOD #2 (Met-Con):
15-12-9-6-3 of DB G-2-OH & Clapping Push-Ups

Weights for the Ground-2-OverHead was lifters choice, although recommended weights ranged from 1/3 BW for gals to 1/2 BW for guys. Scaling for the clapping push-ups included plyo push-ups (with hands simply leaving the floor) and regular push-ups. Remember, RX’d is nice, but only if it’s done with full range of motion. Full ROM will always beat out a higher scaling option.

TDWOD #3 (Finisher):
2 x Max L Sit Hold

Everyone was roundly encouraged to hit the Couch Stretch (aka Death Stretch) in between attempts to help open up the hip flexors.

Awesome work all around, with everyone really working hard to learn and incorporate the rows. Enjoy the weekend, and we’ll see you all on Sunday.



  1. SBV says:

    Did this workout on the Navy Yard. Worked up to 185 on rows and 75s on dumbbell press. Probably got too vertical on rows, but I can see the translation to other movements. Felt like a muscle-head using such big dumbbells. Used 40s for the metcon and scaled to Games-style push-ups. Admired my blown-up upper body for a while before showering.

  2. Sara says:

    I went up to 120 on the rows and 50 on the floor press. I used 25lb DBs for the metcon. I started with clapping push-ups on the round of 15. Moved to plyo push-ups on the round of 12 and dropped to regular push-ups for the remaining rounds.

    Pre-class I did some strict press.
    110×1 failed PR attempt.

  3. SaltyHat says:

    mmmmm, blourpees for brunch!

    in all seriousness though, I’m looking forward to getting back on the bar tomorrow – between a cold, jet lag, and work distractions, these last two weeks have proved horribly inconsistent as far as training goes.