A comprehensive guide to traction

Complete guide to one of the most important movements performed in the gym. Develop the strength of your back muscles and improve your posture, choosing the right traction for each workout!

Author: Nick Tumminello

There are many ways to make traction: with dumbbells or a barbell, on a block, in a hammer or with TRX loops, with one or two hands. Any of them is an excellent remedy for poor posture, which at the same time helps to pump strong, well-developed latissimuses and muscles of the middle parts of the back.

Regardless of your choice of traction, it is extremely important to follow the basic rules of technology that help to maximize the benefits of each repetition:

  • Keep your back still with natural bends in the spine throughout the entire approach.

Although the listed rules of technology are applicable to all cravings, different exercises and variations, based on their specificity, due to the position of the body or movement features, are more suitable for training with a certain number of repetitions. Before you, a complete guide to drawing up a training program for traction. If you are an athlete or you want to think that you are an athlete, then this guide is for you!

The best traction for a little-repeated training: 1-5 repetitions

Approaches for 1-5 repetitions I use to develop strength. The main task in such approaches is to perform a concentric phase of each exercise, using the peak power of the muscles. This means that in spite of the fact that heavy weight forces the exercise to be slow, it is necessary to pull the projectile as quickly as possible, but without cheating. However, to lower the weight in the eccentric phase, you should be smooth and controlled in every repetition.

Draft rod in the slope of the reverse grip. I came to the conclusion that for most people the strongest is exactly the reverse grip, which makes it an ideal choice for this range of repetitions. However, I also found that with such a grip, there is a risk of breaking the brush when doing a pull rod with a too heavy rod. When the wrist is broken, the elbows leave the correct position, and the thrust no longer works as it should.

Thrust dumbbell in tilt with support. I prefer not to raise my knee on the bench, but to do traction of dumbbells with the support of three points, when both feet are on the ground. The fact is that the bench is always of the same height, but only people differ in their growth. Consequently, depending on your height, with the knee on the bench, you may not feel comfortable holding the torso parallel to the floor.

But when both feet are on the ground, the exercise is easier to adjust. You have complete freedom of movement: put your feet as you like, accept the position in which you are most comfortable, and you can generate the maximum effort.

Thrust dumbbells in a slope without support. Many people think that the dumbbell pull in the slope with the support on the bench is a "one-armed" version of the rod rod in the slope, but this is not entirely true. Biomechanics pull dumbbells in a slope without support much closer to rod pull than biomechanics pulling dumbbells with hand on the bench. This is explained by the fact that without additional support point the gluteal muscles and waist are more active.

The peculiarity of the one-armed version is that the force vector runs across the body – from the right shoulder to the left thigh, for example, which makes the exercise an excellent addition to the rod pull in the slope.

Upper draft in the Hammer. Not every gym has such a simulator, but in large fitness centers it should be. With the upper thrust in the Hummer, the motion follows a natural arc, which in other traction exercises is problematic to reconstruct.

I found that with such a trajectory of motion it is extremely difficult to carry out thrust with an incorrect position of hands. For this reason, the exercise is one of my favorites for training with a lot of weight and a small number of repetitions.

Horizontal thrust in the hammer (lever rod). When carrying out horizontal thrust in the hammer it's hard to make a mistake, and therefore I like to use it for training with a large tonnage. In other words, if you remember the basic rules of traction technology, it remains only to hang on the levers of more pancakes, grasp the handles and pull it with all its might.

The best traction for training in the range of 6-12 repetitions

All the thrust options for a low-repetition training are also suitable for training in the 6-12 range of repetitions. But the reverse rule does not work. Carrying out the proposed traction with a large tonnage, you risk being in a losing position. But take the projectile easier, and you will succeed.

Thrust rod in the slope of a straight grip. From experience, I know that this exercise option is good for the average range of repetitions. Because of the lower slope, the risk of kinking in wrist joints is lower, and the probability of pulling with poor technique and incorrect position of hands is less.

Thrust rod in the slope of a wide grip. When it comes to the traction options that the muscles of the middle section of the back are working on, nothing compares to the pull of the rod in the slope with a wide grip. Carrying out traction with a wide grip, they usually try to pull the bar to their chest. This is not so easy to do without rotating the shoulders and brushes inwards, which disrupts the correct position of the hands in the last phase of the movement.

These common problems steal the training effect and relieve some of the load from the target muscles. Fortunately, you can easily avoid such errors if you put a soft roller on the bar, and then you will pull the neck, not the bar, but this soft gasket.

Thrust on the bottom block sitting. I believe that the thrust of the lower block is not suitable for working in a small range of repetitions, since it is necessary to bend heavily forward at the beginning and end of each approach. With a combination of such a position of the back and heavy load, the risk of injury is incommensurably higher than the benefit of exercise.

Thrust on the lower block with a wide grip. Another great exercise for working out the middle section of the back. As in the case of the barbell, I prefer to put a soft roller on the handle. (Note: You can not completely lock the roller if the cable is attached to the middle of the handle, but it's still better with the roller than without it.) It only remains to pull the roller toward the chest.

Thrust on the block with one hand. Excellent traction exercise with a crossed vector, in which the trunk and thigh are involved, opposite the pulling arm. As you stand, the load is limited by the weight that you can pull without leaning forward, and it depends not so much on your strength as on weight. That's why traction on the block with one hand is difficult to call a good choice for training with a small number of repetitions.

Composite pull on the block (one or two hands). This is one of my favorite thrust options, because in it the body works in unison with the hands. Many athletes told me that this is a very natural movement.

When performing the exercise with one hand, you also have to coordinate the movement with the muscles of the trunk and the opposite thigh. Since this exercise is a variant of traction on the block with one hand, the same limitations on the working weight apply to it.

Thrust on the block with one hand on one knee. If you are experiencing difficulties with biomechanics and traction techniques, the resistance angle in this exercise makes it an ideal choice for training in the early stages.

TRX traction with one hand. I like the dual nature of this exercise, as it strengthens the bark muscles and simultaneously develops the traction force with one hand. The goal is to prevent the rotation of the trunk and thighs during thrust.

To complicate the task of stabilizing the trunk, you can stretch your free hand to the side during the exercise. For most people, this is a very difficult task, so 6-12 repetitions are enough to create a full load.

T-draft in the simulator or with a barbell.Thrust of the T-bar is a classic exercise that does not require explanations. Nevertheless, if you do not exercise with the T-neck, which is not in all rooms, but with a conventional barbell, I advise you to use such a fastening of the arms, at which the arms will be on the width of the shoulders. So it will be more convenient for you to lower or raise the projectile.

The best traction for multi-repeat training: 13-20 + repetitions

Each of the exercises already mentioned can be used for multi-repeat training. But the following traction options for a number of reasons are best used only with a large number of repetitions.

Cross-pull on the blocks. In fact, this pull is a wide grip, which creates a diagonally directed force vector due to the intersection of the cables. Exercise studies the back muscles somewhat differently than other traction options with a wide grip, which makes it an excellent addition to other drafts that use a wide grip.

The problem is that this exercise is often performed incorrectly. Many begin to bend their hands and lower their elbows, especially if they weigh heavily. Therefore, I believe that it is better to use cross-draft as an element of multi-repeat training.

TRX traction with two hands. I have nothing against the implementation of TRX traction with two hands with an average number of repetitions, but I believe that this exercise is most effective in a multi-repeat version. It is better to do more repetitions with a stable torso tilt, approximately at an angle of 45 degrees to the floor than using a very strong slope with a slight angle. The fact is that traction with a strong inclination becomes unnatural, it is more difficult to execute by all the rules of technology, if you go from almost horizontal to an inclined position.

TRX traction with a wide statement of elbows. TRX traction with equal success can be done both with elbows pressed to the trunk, and with slightly retracted elbows. In both cases, I prefer to work with a large number of repetitions.

Explosive traction of rubber to the belt. Rapid movements with serious resistance are a great way to recruit more motor units. Rubber allows you to work at a very high rate. Although we recognize the need for tempo movements in performing lower body exercises and pressures, it has always been surprising to me that they are rarely used when making traction.

Since the key moment – the speed of movement, I recommend trying to complete a complete repetition in one second.

Alternate explosive traction of rubber to the belt. In the alternate (one hand) pull of rubber to the belt appears an additional element – the rotation of the trunk, which in combination with explosive technique makes the exercise one of the most athletic drafts.

Since it is necessary to try to maintain a high tempo, I recommend doing one pulling cycle per second (right and left hand complete traction).

How to include traction in the training program

I like the strategy of a wave-like three-phase cycle of approaches / reps:

  • Workout 1: average range of repetitions.

The cycle can be repeated 4-6 times using the same exercises, but progressively increasing the load from week to week. After 4-6 cycles, it's better to switch to other exercises, but leave the circuit unchanged.

Below are four different versions of one wave-like three-phase cycle. You need them for a few months of productive training.

  • 1 Traction Training: thrust of the bottom block, 3 approach on 8-12 repetitions.


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