Push Ups Plus Lat Rows Equal One Killer Exercise

Combine a push up with a lat row and build both the upper body and core

Push Up with Lat Row Exercise
Push Up with Lat Row Exercise. Jamie McDonald / Getty Images

The push up is arguably the ideal upper body exercise that also builds core strength. Push ups can be done anywhere with no equipment and don't require much time to work to fatigue. They are also extremely effective for anyone because they are scalable. A novice can modify this movement to make it much easier, and as one becomes stronger, there are countless ways to increase the difficulty of the basic push up movement.

Lat rows are another excellent exercise that often get overlooked by the general athlete. Keeping the back strong and stable is critical for many sports, but because so many people, including recreational athletes,  spend hours each day sitting, or staring at small screens, our shoulders can easily end up rounding forward with our necks angled down. The lat row can help correct some of these poor posture issues.

But what if you could combine these two simple, but highly effective, exercises into one killer exercise? With a set of dumbbells you can get the perfect combination exercise that works both a push and a pull movement in one exercise and double your workout results in nearly the same time it would take to do either exercise alone.

The push up plus lat row variation combines a dumbbell row to the traditional push up exercise. This modification increases the intensity of the exercise while it activates the core stabilizers and engages the latissimus dorsi (back) muscles.

This is an advanced exercise for building strength, but using the right form and very light weights even a beginner can get started with the push-pull exercise. Done properly and using good form, this compound exercise strengthens the muscles in the chest, shoulders, arms, back, abs and even the legs.

How To Do The  Push Up with Lat Row Safely

  • Begin in a push up position with each hand on a dumbbell.
  • Begin with light weights as you perfect your form.
  • Keep you hands directly beneath your shoulders.
  • Balance on your hands and toes with your feet spread wide for stability.
  • Keep your body in a straight line from head to toe without sagging in the middle or arching your back.
  • Before you begin any movement, contract your abs and tighten your core by pulling your belly button toward your spine.
  • Keep a tight core throughout the entire exercise.
  • Inhale as you slowly bend your elbows and lower yourself until your elbows are at a 90 degree angle.
  • Exhale as you begin pushing back up to the start position.
  • Once you return to the start position you will add a dumbbell row.
  • Raise one dumbbell while stabilizing your body with the other arm.
  • Return the dumbbell gently to the ground and repeat another push up.
  • Continue the push up row motion alternating arms.
  • At the top of the row motion, the dumbbell should be close to your chest and elbow pointing upward.
  • Keep your hips stable; don't rotate the torso as you perform the row.
  • Repeat for as many repetitions as your workout routine require

Using this, and other push up variations can help you build strength to do more standard push ups.

More Push Up Ideas

  • Stability Ball Push Ups - By performing a push up on a stability ball you engage core stabilizers like no one's business and get a upper body and core workout that may leave you feeling it the next morning.
  • Alternating Medicine Ball Push Up - Work your pecs and core in a whole new position with this simple, but challenging exercise. Alternating hand positions during your push up provides a varied exercise that works your pecs and triceps in a whole new way.
  • Decline Push ups - When standard push ups become too easy, increase the intensity by elevating your feet. It looks easier than it is. 
  • Endless Push ups - Check out the endless variety of ways to spice up a basic push up.

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