Day 29 – Pressing + Rowing = Muscles Growing. Keep Going!

Today, I completed Workout A, Phase 2 from Craig Ballantyne’s “15 Pounds of Muscle in 8 Weeks” Program.  This workout is an Upper Body focused routine.  Chest/Back Antagonistic Supersets would best describe this workout.

This workout was very similar to Workout A in Phase 1 of the program.  I liked the continuity & familiarity with the exercises that I carried over from Phase 1.  I also enjoyed swapping a few exercises out for some new ones.

One such exercise was the Bent-Over Barbell Row:

(Photo Courtesy of

(Photo Courtesy of

I have worked with the Bent-Over Barbell Row in the past.  But at that time, I was not as strong as I am now.  Consequently, I was unable to use a very heavy weight on the bar while still retaining proper form.  Empty barbell rows don’t really do much for the ego, either.  So I retired the Barbell & started working with Bent-Over Single Arm Dumbbell Rows:

(Photo Courtesy of

(Photo Courtesy of

After some time, I then began working with Inverted Bodyweight Rows:

(Photo Courtesy

(Photo Courtesy

Now that I am strong enough to knock a decent number of Inverted Rows, I felt confident that I could handle Bent Over Barbell Rows.  And handle them I did!

When it came for the first set of BB rows, I wasn’t sure if the weight I had selected would be too little, too much or just right.  I had just finished up a set of Incline Barbell Bench Presses so I figured I would see if I could use the same weight for my rows.  Wouldn’t you know it, I was able to lift it for the required number of reps!

This is an important milestone for me for a few reasons.

First, there is NO way I would have been able to row the same weight a few months ago that I did this evening.  I wasn’t strong enough then.  But I am now.

Another important aspect of rowing the same weight I am able to press deals with muscular imbalances & correcting them.  When I first embarked on transforming my body, my chest was much stronger than my back.  There are a number of reasons for this & I won’t go into them all.  Suffice it say, my back was lagging in comparison to my chest.

But over time, my back got stronger.  It was due to the number of DB Rows, Inverted Rows & Pull/Chin-Ups I did while working with my personal trainer.  I must have done thousands of rows over the 6 months I worked with Roman.

I also made a decision at the time that seemed a bit counterintuitive.  I chose to not push as hard as I could with my chest exercises.  Don’t get me wrong, I still worked my chest hard.  But I didn’t increase weight loads as often as I could have due to the muscular imbalance.  In my mind, it didn’t make sense to exacerbate the problem by loading up heavy on the chest exercises.  So I sacrificed a bit of muscle growth in my chest for a period of time.

Was it worth it?  I would say so.

Now, I have a back that is virtually as strong as my chest when it comes to the “big” exercise for each muscle group.

Now that I have a back & chest that are able to handle similar weight loads in a press/pull fashion, it is time to focus on building these muscle groups in tandem.  Tonight was the first step in that process.

Pressing + Rowing = Muscles Growing.  Keep Going!

Today’s Workout Track Listing:

  • Territorial Pissings – Nirvana
  • Are You Experienced? – Jimi Hendrix
  • Beverly Hills – Weezer
  • Higher Ground – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Long Time – Black Label Society
  • Bottom – Tool
  • Forty Six & 2 – Tool
  • Kopfschuss – Megaherz

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