Exercises You Should Be Doing: Push-Up Plank Hold w/ DB Row

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I need to go crush some front squats in a few, so this one is going to be short and sweet today. Meaning, no long-winded introduction that no one reads or cute cat references.1


I’d like to preface today’s post with a well-timed quote from strength coach, Dr. Joel Seedman:

“When a strength coach says an exercise is “deceptive,” he really means “looks sort of easy but will make you cry.”

I can’t think of any better way to introduce today’s Exercise You Should Be Doing.

Push-Up Plank Hold w/ DB Row


Who Did I Steal It From: Dean Somerset had me doing these a few years ago when he was helping me work through some lower back shenanigans. He was an asshole.

What Does It Do: At first glance it looks like a nice little row variation, and it is. However, the real nuts and bolts of this exercise is the insane core stability that’s involved. There aren’t many exercises that light up my mid-section (RA, obliques, etc) than this one. Too, I feel it in other places: glutes, upper back, eyebrows, you name it.

But for real: this is an excellent core exercise and a lot more challenging than it looks.

Key Coaching Cues: Don’t be a hero. The objective here isn’t to sling around 80-90 lb DBs to try impress the other bros standing around. Trust me, they won’t care. The name of the game her is OWNING body position. Holding a strict 3-point plank will be challenging enough for some people. When you add an oscillatory element with the row, however, it makes the exercise even more challenging as the body has to resist movement during each repetition.

Abs and glutes should be engaged, quads flexed, and foot placement will depend on how bad-ass you are (wider = easier, narrow = Wolverine). With the row component, chest should be up and I prefer to cue people to think of the motion as an “arc” rather than straight up and down. To that end think about “rowing” your elbow towards your hip.

8-10 reps per side and you should hate life.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

I don’t share email information. Ever. Because I’m not a jerk.
  1. Except this one – BAM.