Lawnmower Pull Exercise: How To, Benefits,…

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You can easily switch up your workouts for variety or different results. Discover how to do the lawnmower pull exercise.

The lawnmower pull exercise is a variation of regular one-handed bent-over rows where you also rotate your upper body a small amount.

As the name implies, a more visual description of the movement is someone getting a pull lawnmower started (but with resistance instead).

On top of your latissimus dorsi (middle/upper back), trapezius (upper back), and biceps, the extra rotation works your oblique muscles a bit more.

A downside of the lawnmower pull exercise is that it is hard to do your reps exactly the same on each side. This could lead to muscle imbalances.

In combination with the below-average oblique workout, you will likely prefer regular bent-over rows or other lawnmower pull alternatives.

How to do a lawnmower pull

You have a variety of equipment options to choose from for the lawnmower pull exercise.

This can range from different resistance options like a dumbbell, cable, or resistance band to doing the exercise on a bench or just bent-over.

As an example, take the following steps to do a dumbbell lawnmower pull:

  1. Stand up with a dumbbell in one hand.
  2. Take a medium step forward with the leg on the opposite side of the dumbbell.
  3. Slightly fold your front knee and tilt your upper body forward until it is at about a 45-degree angle with the ground. Keep your spine more or less straight. Let the dumbbell and your shoulder blade hang down for now.
  4. Raise the dumbbell in a controlled motion by pulling back your shoulder blade and folding your arm. Keep the rest of your body in more or less the same position for now.
  5. When the dumbbell is at about body height, raise it slightly more by twisting your upper body.
  6. Rotate your upper back until it is horizontal and lower your hand again to the position of step 3 in a controlled motion.
  7. Complete your set and repeat the same number of repetitions on the other side.
How to do a lawnmower pull

You want to be careful with the lawnmower pull exercise if you are not sure how far your body can comfortably rotate.

That aside, your choice of back workout equipment will mostly depend on personal preference and what you have available.

If you have trouble holding the rest of your body in the same position, doing the lawnmower pull exercise while leaning on a weight bench can help.

Lawnmower exercise muscles worked

The main muscles the lawn mower exercise works are your latissimus dorsi (middle/upper back), trapezius (upper back), biceps, and to some extent obliques.

Your erector spinae, quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings also have to work to a tiny extent during the lawnmower pull exercise to keep your body in position.

Compared to a regular one-handed bent-over row, the lawnmower pull exercise will work your oblique muscles due to the extra rotation at the top of the movement.

That being said, you should likely not expect too many mass and strength gains in this area.

Lawnmower pulls are still very similar to other horizontal pull exercises in their effects.

A downside of the lawnmower pull exercise is that it is hard to do each rep at about the same difficulty level for each muscle.

This could lead to muscle imbalances which can lead to injuries and an uneven look.

Lawnmower pull exercise benefits

While lawnmower pulls are not necessarily the most effective exercise out there, they do still offer benefits if you can do them safely.

Some of these benefits include:

  1. Stronger muscles: Lawnmower pulls are still a resistance training exercise that can work your muscles to the point of growth and strengthening.
  2. Adds some muscle engagement: The extra twist at the top of the movement makes lawnmower pulls work your obliques more. In turn, this can offer its benefits.
  3. More variety: You could like some variety in your workout program. In that case, the more unusual lawnmower pull exercise could help with this.
  4. You could like them more: It is also possible that you simply like doing lawnmower pulls more than traditional back exercises. This could benefit consistency.

You can also get many of these benefits in other ways but for the right individuals, lawnmower pulls could be a good choice.

Lawnmower pull exercise alternatives

You could conclude that you are not a fan of lawnmower pulls, that your body can’t deal with them, or that you want even more variety in your workout program.

In these cases, you can consider some of the following lawnmower pull exercise alternatives:

  • Other row variations
  • Oblique crunches
  • Lat pulldown
  • Standing cable Russian twists
  • Pull-ups
  • Pallof presses

What lawnmower pull alternatives you will prefer depends on details like what muscles you want to work, what equipment you have available, and what your body can deal with.

Is the lawnmower pull a good exercise?

Lawnmower pulls can be a decent/good exercise for working your latissimus dorsi, trapezius, and biceps in a more interesting way with some extra oblique engagement.

That being said, a downside of lawnmower pulls is that it becomes hard to keep each rep equally challenging.

This aspect of lawnmower pulls can lead to muscle imbalances while the benefits are not that amazing either.

In turn, you will likely prefer one of the more effective lawnmower pull exercise alternatives.

That being said, if you really like lawnmower pulls you could still consider doing them.

Choosing exercises that you find enjoyable is typically good for consistency.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.