Bodyweight Row Progression

An anatomical and colored drawing highlighting the primary/large muscles of the back including the traps and lats.

The Bodyweight Row Progression is one of my top two rowing exercises for wrestlers.

I like it so much, I wrote 2 posts on it!

Bodyweight Row Progression.

Single Arm Bodyweight Row.

By the way, in the first post, I include a download with instructions on how to make your own pair of suspension straps. You can make a pair for about $15. Suspension straps are super versatile and easy to transport, so I highly suggest you make a pair.

Anyway, let’s get into the row and it’s progressions.

Progression 1

You first start standing. In all honesty, this is probably going to be very easy for most wrestlers.

To make the exercise more challenging, position your body so you are more perpendicular to the ground.

Make adjustments as you need based on your strength.

When you’re comfortable and confident with progression 1, you can move on.

Progression 2

The next step is to perform the row off your back. Start by bending your knees and placing your feet flat on the ground.

Squeeze your glutes to drive your hips up so that your shoulders, hips, and knees stay in a straight line throughout the set.

Here’s a video.

Once you can get the “prescribed” reps with this progression, you can move on.

Progression 3

This progression is performed like the one above. However, you add a 2-3 second hold for each rep.

Here’s an example.

Once your strength is at a level where you can perform these easily, you can move on.

Progression 4

This is a bigger step, especially compared to the last progression.

The next stage is putting your feet on a bench or box so that your body is parallel to the ground at the top.

Before you begin your set, activate your glutes to drive your hips forward. Maintain a rigid body throughout. Your shoulders, hips, and ankles should form a straight line.

Here’s a video of this next progression.

Again, once you’re strong at this stage, you can move on.

Progression 5

This progression is the same as Progression 3 in that you add a hold.

Here’s what I mean.

As with the other progressions, once you’re good here, move on. It’s time to get serious.

Progression 6

Here’s how I like to start the progression:

From there you can progress as you normally would.

First add a hold.

Then look to straighten your legs. However, that’s easier said than done and requires it’s own little progression.

Here’s where I suggest starting:

I put a bar across the front of a power rack. Then place my feet against it and use that to create the angle.

Perform reps like this until you’re ready to add a hold. Try to get at least 8 reps without a hold before progressing.

Ultimately you want to work to a position where you’re legs are straight and your feet are on a bench or box (like progression 5 above, just with 1 arm).

By the way, if you get here, you’re my hero.

Here’s an example to give you an idea of how difficult these are. When I first introduced single arm bodyweight rows to Kyle Dake, he could do 3 each arm.

Enough said.

A picture of Kyle Dake and Dickie White.
Hi, I’m Dickie (the author of this blog). Here I am with my good buddy, Kyle Dake. While he doesn't have a nice coat like me, he is pretty good at wrestling. Here's what he said about my training system:

Before I began lifting using Dickie's system my wrestling skills were getting slightly better. I've now been lifting under his guidance for more than 5 months and I have begun to dominating ALL of my competition. At first I had little faith in Dickie and his program, but now I would run into a wall if he told me I would get stronger! I know it sounds insane, but I would. The bottom line is Dickie is an expert and knows what he is talking about. If you want to defeat those kids whom you've always lost to and reach a level you never thought possible, I suggest you start lifting using Dickie's system immediately.

-Kyle Dake, 4X NCAA Division 1 National Champion

Want to see what other wrestlers are saying about my training system? Check out my Success Stories page.


Want to learn more about Dickie? Check out my About page.


Want to get started on a program today? Read this post and download your free program- 12 Week Training Program For Wrestlers.


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