Skip to content

Incline row

The incline row is a progressive exercise on the path to pull-ups and bent over rows (Science for Sport, 2020).

The incline row requires an elevated surface capable of supporting the athlete’s bodyweight. In this example, a strap is used to perform the rowing motion and the strap is secured to a mature tree. A rope, towel, or other method can be wrapped around the elevated surface with the same effect.

In a weight room environment, a pull-up bar could be used as the elevated surface

It’s the athlete’s responsibility to ensure that all of the support tools used (elevated surface, towel/rope/strap) are able to support the bodyweight and are properly secured prior to performing the incline row. Failure to secure the support tools can result in injury.

The starting position involves the athlete holding onto the strap and leaning backward while both feet are balanced on the ground. The shoulders should be “packed in”, the back is straight, the arms are extended and there is a straight line between the shoulders and wrists.

The movement begins with the athlete pulling the elbows back resulting in an upward movement. The back remains straight. The legs should remain passive but firmly connected to the ground.


The upward movement completes with the athlete in a mostly vertical position, the elbows at a 90 degree angle and tucked relatively close to the body, and the back straight.

The downward movement is the reverse. The movement is done correctly when it is done slowly and under control.