My favorite section of my local gym is the turfed area in the back, where on any given day you’re liable to see some shoeless wildebeest attempting a variety of innovative exercise schema. That’s where the club keeps its strongman tires and battle ropes and weapons (sledgehammers, maces, etc.) — and on days that I’m feeling uninspired, I’ve found it pays to watch trainees flip, hoist or swing these things around in unconventional ways.
That area is also where you’ll find a couple ancient TRX systems — the grips well-worn like an old pair of gardening gloves — hooked up to a pair of fat wooden beams. I was on the turf the other day, concluding my workout with some diaphragmatic breathing, when I spotted a gym-goer march up to one such TRX, grab the grips, plant their bare feet on the wall and orient themselves in a levitated, supine position until their body was parallel with the floor. Then they started lifting themselves up and down, to the tune of 10 “pull ups.”
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How to Do the TRX Move “Spiderman Inverted Rows”
If you’re having trouble picturing it, here’s a clip. (I didn’t take a creepy video, someone else on the internet was familiar with this move, fortunately.) You could call them “foot on the wall pull-ups” or “spiderman inverted rows.” (Not to be confused with spiderman push-ups!) Whatever nomenclature you prefer, they looked really difficult and really cool, and the second the person doing them finished their set, I came out of lifting retirement for the day to try them myself.
I got up to 10, though I owe some of those reps to the complimentary adrenaline that arrives when you know your peers are probably watching you. This move isn’t easy. It helps to have some familiarity with conventional inverted rows, and it’s critical that you know how to perform the basic TRX row, which is the foundational move at play here.
Ultimately, moves like this are a reminder that fitness thrives when it feels weird — and a little out of reach. It’s important to practice attainable movements every day, in the name of mobility and heart health, but if ever the brain’s trending a little bored, take your shoes off and go to the turf section. There’s something for you to try.