Bulgarian Ring Rows For Bigger Lower Traps and Rhomboids
The lower traps, the rhomboids and to some point the rear delts and the teres are among the most neglected muscle groups because their big bros such as the chest and the lats get all the fame. If you have that habit it's time to break it.
Don't know about you but I don't like doing endless number of exercises and that's why I try to stick to movements that seem to be more effective and straight to the point. The Bulgarian Ring Rows are one of them.
In order to perform the Bulgarian ring row you will need a set of gymnastic rings or some kind of homemade suspension system. By the way don't spend money on any expensive products such as the TRX training system. They suck and are quite overpriced. Make it yourself unless you are Paris Hilton. But if you are GTFO !!!.
Place the attachments of the rings very close to each other - around half of your shoulder width. The movement starts as a normal horizontal row but you keep your elbows flared out as much as you can at the end of the exercise. In other words the biggest the angle between your torso and inner portion of your arm the better. You can think of the exercise as reverse neck press on rings.
"Ok. Bro. I got it - ring row with mega wide grip. Right? But why that wide?"
Think of the traps as the opposite of your chest. When does the chest works the most? When you flare the elbows as wide as you can. The same stays true for traps only you row rather than push. This exercise is very effective for hitting the whole upper back because when you go that wide you greatly diminish the help of the lat and place all the tension on the upper back muscles.
"Hmmm...ok bro but you said that the neck press kills the shoulder. What about the Bulgarian Ring Row?"
The neck press hurts the shoulder because the joint is quite weak when it has to push from this position. The AC joint and the rotator cuff are placed at extreme stretch and under tension at the same time. But that's a neck press. We are talking rows here and the shoulder seems to be happier during rows - even if the grip is that wide. Of course if you feel front shoulder pain decrease the width a little bit BUT keep it as wide as you can without pain.
"Ok. Bro. So what muscles does this hit again?"
It will hit your traps completely - upper, mid, lower. At the same time the rhomboids, the teres and the rear delts are working their lifetime. Those are the main working muscle groups. Obviously the lats and the biceps are involved but there are much better ways to hit them - chin-ups.
"Ok. Bro. But there are no rings at my gym. What can I do ?"
You can perform the Bulgarian rows using seated pulley machine. However you must change the handle with the rope usually used for triceps stuff. Remember the movement starts with your hands together but you pull them apart and end up and end into a wide grip position. This adds more work for the upper back and the rear delts.
MAKE SURE YOU MIMIC THE MOVEMENT FROM THE VIDEO BELOW. USE THE ROPE.
You can do Bulgarian rows on the seated pulley BUT use the rope and don't turn the movement into a close grip such as the above.
Use the rope when you are using the cable machine
Perfect form Bulgarian Ring Rows -make sure you mimic correctly the movement from the video.