The Best Way To Do The Gorilla Row With Low Back Pain

I stumbled on the Gorilla Row exercise the other day and instantly fell in love. There are a few reasons why I love the Gorilla Row and I break them down a bit in today’s short video but the main reason I love them so much is that they are totally manageable for low back pain or post-surgery warriors. 

You can do the Gorilla Row with kettlebells, bands, and dumbbells so they are easily done in most home gym or commercial gym setups. 

So if you’re looking for a great low back pain-friendly row variation I highly suggest you check this Kettlebell Gorilla Row variation!

Why Is The Gorilla Row Safe For Back Pain?

There are a number of things that make an exercise “back pain friendly” and the Gorilla Row hits a lot of those key things. 

Let me break this down: 

Reason Number 1 The Gorilla Row is awesome for back pain: Whole Body Recruitment

When you’re incorporating more of your body to stabilize and do the lift this normally leads to a more enjoyable experience rather than isolating a small area of the body and trying to do something. 

Take back extensions for example. This is isolating the lower back and for most low back pain or post-surgery warriors, this is a no-go. 

If you replaced that with a properly coached and modified deadlift variation not only are you hitting the low back but you’re incorporating the entire posterior chain more aggressively. 

Reason Number 2 The Gorilla Row is awesome for back pain: Focuses on the hinge.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to big.  “scary” lifts in the gym is improper weight distribution. 

This is normally corrected by an improved hip hinge. With the Gorilla Row Exercise, you don’t have to transition in and out of a hip hinge the way you do in a squat or deadlift. You get to START in the most ideal hip hinge and work from that same position. 

What I mean by that is you get to put yourself in the most comfortable position possible then focus on slowly adding the weight and making sure your body does not start breaking down or showing you any red flags. When it comes to low back pain or life after surgery you have to be very intuned to this and the Gorilla Row Exercise IMO is perfect for this. 

Reason Number 3 The Gorilla Row is awesome for back pain: Weight Distribution

Another factor with low back pain is weight distribution. Not just where your body is in space but where the weight is that you are using. 

Eventually, if you are serious about building muscle and getting stronger you will want to increase the weight and really make it a challenge for your body. 

When you take exercises like the deadlift or squat they can get really technical as the weight goes up and if your technique is crap at a lightweight it’s only going to get worse as the weight goes up. 

The Gorilla Row starts and ends with the weight in the same place and you don’t have to do much to keep the weight in the most ideal position. 

This makes the exercise fit most fitness levels and going heavier very possible when ready. 

When you incorporate the full-body engagement, the hip hinge, and being able to keep the weight in a favorable place the Gorilla Row will go down in history for me as one of the best rowing variations for low back pain or post-surgery warriors.

What Are Other Rowing Variations Safe For Back Pain Other Than The Gorilla Row?

Here is a master list of some other resources I have done on some of my favorite rowing variations that are similar to the Gorilla Row (safe for back pain).

Bent Over Rows and Back Pain 

2 Back Friendly Rowing Exercises

3 Quick Fixes For Doing Barbell Rows With Low Back Pain

How To Do The Renegade Row With Low Back Pain

How To Do Scoop Rows (Great For Back Pain)

back pain friendly workout