Pulling exercises

Want to Age Well? Do These Pulling Exercises Every Week

Pulling exercises help strengthen the muscles you need for proper posture, mobility, and functions.

Building strength in the muscles responsible for good posture and a healthy spine is critical as you grow older. This is because our lifestyle tends to be sedentary and involves hours of sitting on a daily basis.

With age, we experience a natural decline in muscular strength.

This can not only affect our daily movements and functions like picking up grocery bags but also our posture.

Muscles Used in Pulling Exercises

Muscles Used in Pulling Exercises

The proper pulling motion requires the involvement of your shoulder blades, glutes, hips, and core. 

You are not merely pulling from your arms, but your pulls are originating from your shoulder blades and engaging your chest. 

Also, as you pull, your core, glutes, and hamstrings sustain your balance and bring stability. 

Pulling exercises help not only train for the movements but also help strengthen the muscles you need for everyday tasks. 

By working the back muscles, pulling moves can also help improve and promote better posture. 

Because pulling exercises target smaller muscles like arms, the best way to perform them is not to cluster all of them into one routine. Rather, add one pulling exercise from the list below and add them to the end of your regular workout. 

This way, you can gradually add strength and power you can utilize in the daily pulling movements. 

The 5 Best Pulling Exercises to Age Well 

The 5 Best Pulling Exercises to Age Well 

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1. Dumbbell Bent-Over Row

Dumbbell Bent-Over Row

The bent-over row is a pulling exercise that’s also a compound movement. It works multiple muscle groups including the rhomboids in the back and biceps. 

This exercise teaches you how to pull from your shoulder blades and involves your chest, back, core, glutes, and legs. It’s a great way to build strength in your upper body, improve balance, and engage the lower body.

How to Perform: 

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart and let the dumbbells hang at your side toward the ground. (yugatech.com) Hinge at your hips, and slightly bend your knees. Slowly lower your torso down until your waist is bent at a 45-degree angle. 
  • Contract your core and glutes and pull the shoulders back, so you can open up your chest. Using your shoulder blades, pull the dumbells up at your side toward the chest level. 
  • Slowly lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position, and complete 8-10 reps. 

2. Pull-Ups


The pull-up is an advanced move that requires significant strength in the upper body to perform.

If you are a beginner, it’s not one move you want to start off with to build the base strength, but if you are looking for a challenge, this is great exercise. 

You can also perform the pull-ups with an assisted band to make it easier and less demanding. If you’ve never performed a pull-up before, start with a band to assist the pulling movement. 

How to Perform:

  • Stand in front of a pull-up bar. Hold the bar about shoulder-width apart using an overhand grip. 
  • Bend your elbows and engage your shoulder blades to pull yourself up until your chin is above the bar. If you are using an assist band, loop the band around your knee or foot, so you can push off the band to lighten the load. 
  • With control, reverse the motion and return to the starting position. 
  • Complete 6-8 reps. 

3. Seated Lat Pull Down 

Seated Lat Pull Down 

The lat pulldown is a seated exercise that works the lats and shoulders, using a cable machine with a weighted hanging bar. This exercise can be added to your full-body strength workout. 

While seated, you pull a hanging bar toward you to reach chin level, then release it back up with control for one repetition. 

How to Perform:

  • Face a cable machine with a hanging bar. Adjust the weight, so you can comfortably perform 8-10 reps of the pulldown. Hold the bar with both hands and bring it down to chest level.
  • Sit on the pulldown seat, with your back neutral and feet flat on the floor. 
  • Keeping your torso still, engage your core and pull the bar down by squeezing your shoulder blades. While pulling down the bar, keep your feet flat on the floor. 
  • With control, slowly return the bar to the starting position and repeat. Complete 10-12 reps. 

4. Suspension Row

Suspension Row

The TRX suspension row activates the muscles in the upper back including the lats, rhomboids, and traps. It also engages your core, biceps, and shoulders, making it an effective upper-body workout. 

To perform this exercise, you need a TRX or another suspension band. 

How to Perform:

  • Stand facing your TRX suspension band. Grab the handles with both hands and walk a few steps forward toward the band. Stop when your feet are a bit underneath the band. 
  • Engage your core and lean your body back. Balance your body with your heels and with fully extended arms. Turn your hands so your palms face each other. 
  • In one motion, bend your elbows and pull your body up straight toward the handles. Pull until your handles are at your chest level and your shoulder blades come together. 
  • Pause and return to the starting position with control. Perform 10 reps. 

5. Seated Row

Seated Row

The seated row is a strengthening exercise for the arms and back using a cable machine. If you prefer to solely focus on the upper body with your pulling exercises, the seated row is a great option. 

How to Perform:

  • Grab the triangle handles attached to the cable machine and sit on the bench facing the station. Keep your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. 
  • Engage the abs and core and pull the handles back toward the belly button. Don’t let the momentum of the pull motion to the point you lean back as you row. Instead, focus on pulling from the shoulder blades. 
  • Row until your hands are close to your chest and your shoulder blades are squeezed. 
  • With control, return to the starting position without rounding your back. Repeat 10 reps. 

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