The Rower: A No-Equipment Exercise to Build Your Biceps

Learn to master one of the key exercises of FizzUp fitness training: the rower. This exercise is usually associated with a rowing machine or with the abdominal row. The FizzUp version is a unique and no-equipment exercise that gives you much more freedom to move.

The no-equipment rower is an exercise that’s often unfairly neglected, even though it’s extremely effective. It’s perfect for improving your posture and building several different muscles at the same time, particularly in the arms, back and shoulders. It’s also one of the only bodyweight exercises that builds your biceps without any equipment

How to do the rower correctly

It’s important to start with the basics. Let’s look at how to do the perfect rower in five steps:

  • Start seated with your knees slightly bent and your heels on the floor.
  • Place your hands behind your knees.
  • Pull your legs to your chest. Make sure to keep your leg muscles engaged to create resistance against your arm muscles. This is essential in order to effectively build your biceps without any equipment. Keep your arms and elbows close to your body.
  • Begin to extend your legs until they reach the starting position. The goal of the exercise is to try to hold them back using your arms while still maintaining a smooth movement.
  • As soon as your feet touch the floor again, repeat the movement to complete the set. Make sure to keep your balance.

build your biceps without any equipment

Best FizzUp tips to use when doing this no-equipment exercise to build your biceps

To make sure that you’re doing the exercise correctly, focus on these three key points:

  • Your breathing: Exhale as you bring your legs to your chest and inhale as you return to the starting position.
  • The position of your shoulder blades: When you bring your legs to your chest, make sure to squeeze your back to bring your shoulder blades together.
  • Constantly keep your leg muscles engaged: The key to this exercise is remembering that your legs should create resistance both when you bend and extend them. You work your biceps and triceps when you bring your relaxed legs to your chest. When you extend your legs, they should create resistance for your arms.

Common mistakes to avoid when doing this no-equipment exercise to build your biceps effectively

Now that we’ve given you our best tips and points of reference needed to do the exercise perfectly, here’s a list of common mistakes to avoid:

  • Don’t hold your breath. If the exercise becomes difficult, you may be tempted to speed up your repetitions. This may cause muscle tension and prevent you from controlling your breathing. Concentrate on your movements, how your muscles feel and your breathing.
  • Do the exercise with your arms, not your legs. Even though your leg muscles must exert constant tension (as if you were extending them), your arm and shoulder muscles are actually the ones you should engage, not your lower-­body muscles.
  • Don’t spread your arms. Keeping your arms close to your body during the exercise helps you lock your shoulders. This is essential for improving your posture and building your biceps effectively without any equipment.

Muscles worked while doing the FizzUp rower

The rower is the best exercise for building your biceps without any equipment. It’s also a full-­body exercise that works different muscle groups. The main muscles worked while doing the rower are the back muscles, such as your lats, the traps and delts, as well as your arm muscles, with a particular focus on the biceps and brachioradialis (your
forearm muscle). This exercise works these muscles in a concentric contraction (the contraction of the muscles when they’re at their shortest, while your arms pull your legs towards you) and in an eccentric contraction (the contraction of the muscles when they’re stretched out, while your arms pull against your legs as you extend them). This makes it an ideal no-equipment exercise to build your biceps.

To a lesser extent, the rower also works your abs in an isometric contraction, which helps you maintain good posture and balance. Finally, your quads are also worked, as they’re the muscles mainly involved in maintaining the tension exerted through your legs.

build your biceps without any equipment


The rower: a no-equipment exercise to build you biceps and relieve back pain

Rounded shoulders affect nearly 80% of the population, causing a hunched posture and lower-back pain. When done correctly, the rower is a key exercise for regaining muscular balance. Over time, it improves your posture and prevents back pain. The rower also quickly builds muscle in the biceps and back.

Further reading

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