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Get Grandma’s Lawnmower Out Or Do A One-Arm Dumbbell Row

Monday, February 02, 2015

As always, check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. Make sure you warm up for approximately 8 to 10 minutes before doing any strength training. Warming up is exercising at a lower intensity (i.e. easy walking) in order to get the blood circulating. Never exercise with pain. If you experience pain when exercising, stop immediately. If pain persists, see your doctor. Always end with 8 to 10 minutes of a cool down by exercising at a lower intensity and include stretches.

This exercise has been referred to as the lawn mower pull, because it looks like you are trying to start one of those pull-start mowers. Today many lawn mowers are battery operated and have an electric button and no longer do you need to pull quickly on a string to get it going. You also got those lawn movers today that you can ride on and no longer have to push. One reason we all need to do more strength training today. We use to get so much more exercise just doing daily chores. Not so much today.

This exercise like the squat (read my previous message) is one that calls many muscles into play. Like the squat it can also help strengthen the core (abdominals and lower back). It works the large back muscles known as the latissimus dorsi (also known as lats - one of the largest muscles in the body) and the trapezius primarily. To some extent it also works muscles of the shoulder, arm and chest.

There are several ways to do these. Caution for those with back problems or new to exercise: Start off with the first example (sitting in a chair). Check with your doctor before starting any of these exercises.

It is always important to maintain good posture (see previous message) and good form throughout this exercise. Stop immediately if you experience pain, are dizzy or have shortness of breath and see a doctor. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of plain water before, during and after exercise.

Example One (for people with bad backs or new to exercise):

• Sit slightly forward in a chair with good posture. To help strengthen your core, make sure your back is not resting on the back of the chair. Keep your abs pulled in tight throughout the motion.
• Hold a dumbbell in each hand, hold arms straight out in front of you slightly below shoulder level. Palms should be facing each other.
• Pull your arms straight back until your elbows are behind you (dumbbells will now be at your side) and squeeze your shoulders together. Keep body straight ahead and do not twist to either side). Exhale as you pull back.
• Move arms back out to starting position. Inhale as you move back to starting position.
• Perform 6 to 8 repetitions (reps) which would be one set.

Example Two (with okay of doctor):

• Stand with good posture. Keep your abs pulled in tight throughout the motion.
• Hold a dumbbell in your left hand with palm facing inward.
• Stand in a staggered stance (feet about a foot apart) with the right foot forward and the left leg in back (like doing a lunge). Have a slight bend in knees.
• Bend forward a little from the hip (keep back straight) with the left hand held straight down (slight bend in elbow). Place your right hand on your left knee to support the lower back. If you balance is not steady, stand behind a high-back chair to do this and put your right hand on the back of the chair.
• Pull the dumbbell up to your ribs. Concentrate on pulling from your back muscles (right below your shoulder) and not your elbow. Exhale as you pull up.
• Return to starting position. Inhale as you move back down.
• Perform 6 to 8 repetitions (reps) which would be one set.
• Change the leg stance and hold dumbbell in right hand and repeat for other arm.


• Always maintain good posture and never twist your body or round your back as you perform this exercise. As you move in this exercise:
• Keep your elbow(s) close to your body.
• Keep your abs pulled in tight (suck in your gut). This will strengthen your core and protect your lower back.
• Keep your shoulders down and away from your ears.
• Keep from looking down to help prevent neck strain. Keep your gaze forward.

Always start with the larger muscles first when setting up a strength training routine. Do them in this order: Legs, back, chest, shoulders, arms, calves, wrist, ankles, abs.

So if you wanted to start with the 3 exercises I have posted messages on, do them in this order: Squats, One Arm Dumbbell Row and Bicep Curl.

If you need to see a moving illustration you can go to Sparkpeople.com: Click on Articles and Videos, select Fitness, click on Exercise Library. Look for the above exercises.

Remember, it is all about moving more each day.

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  • no profile photo CD14401596
    Thanks for your encouragement. Blessings, emoticon emoticon
    2365 days ago
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    Amen to that from me. Hugs, Judy. emoticon
    2373 days ago
    I really like this Alice. I am going to try finding a way to get you a spot on the team page to post it to, Let me talk to Judy and Bob. Okay. You are doing a great job.
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