Rowing Progression

Rowing Progression

Here are listed, from easiest to hardest, all rowing movements that build your back (especially the upper back), biceps, forearms, and even your glutes and hamstrings. All these variations can be found in the iOS and Android Bodyweight Training app.

Without skipping any exercises, and starting with the easiest movement, what’s the hardest exercise you can do for 5 reps? Rest 30 seconds between sets.

If you can make it all the way through this Rowing Progression, try doing it with 1 or 2 second pauses at the top of each repetition.

1. Let Me Ins; legs slightly bent

2. Let Me Ins; thighs parallel

3. One-arm Let Me Ins; legs slightly bent

4. One-arm Let Me Ins; thighs parallel

5. Let Me Ups; knees bent 90 and underhand grip

6. Let Me Ups; knees bent 90 and overhand grip

7. Let Me Ups; knees bent slightly and underhand grip

8. Let Me Ups; knees slightly bent and overhand grip

9. Let Me Ups; legs straight and underhand grip

10. Let Me Ups; legs straight and overhand grip

11. Let Me Ups; feet elevated and underhand grip

12. Let Me Ups; feet elevated and overhand grip

13. Let Me Ups; feet elevated, 1 leg raised and underhand grip

14. Let Me Ups; feet elevated, 1 leg raised and overhand grip

  • Gary

    Hi Mark,

    I’ve been getting amazing results with the YAYOG iOS app. I’m also staying injury free through entire workout cycles, which is something that I’ve never been able to accomplish before. I have a question about gym rings versus a stationary grip platform for rows. Do you think one is better than the other? After 3 cycles of YAYOG I’m able to do the hardest version listed above. Would moving to rings add difficulty, or is there a better way to increase the difficulty level?

    Thanks for this awesome resource,


  • Javier

    Hi Mark,
    I’ve been doing YAYOG for a while now and am about to start week 4 of Chief program. The one exercise I still have trouble with is pistols. I still have to elevate my left heel using a magazine or a flip flop. Is this a flexibility issue? Can you recommend some exercises to work toward a completely unassisted pistol? My right side has been no problem for a while now, and even on my left, strength doesn’t seem to be a problem – I can complete all the reps necessary, but when I try with my heel on the ground, I seem to fall backward when I try to come back up…

  • Mark Lauren

    Rings would certainly add a level of difficulty, especially with pauses at the top.

    Javier, sounds like you lack dorsi flexion. Practice sitting on the floor about 10-20 minutes a day while eating or watching tv.

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  • bark50

    Would tuck front levers fall into the category of a perpendicular pull exercise: ? These are really tough for me. Actually, just getting in and out of the starting position a few times is tough for me.

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  • Mark Lauren

    Hi Bark 50,

    Yes, I would consider that exercise a perpendicular pulling movement- an even more advanced version of the let me up.