Tutorial: Standing Stroops Pull

See video

The Standing Stroops Pull, a part of The Little Black Dress Workout, is a pretty straightforward exercise designed to make the muscles of your upper back and rear delts dance and play in the light; perfect for that little black dress. It is also excellent for gentlemen who want to visually bring out their definition to another level.

Let’s face it, ladies and gents; this is about cosmetics, not size, so we are going to do a boatload of repetitions here. I am looking for very high reps; 25 at the very minimum, and up to 50 max. Adjust your weights accordingly so that you can reach this goal. The way you adjust is by stepping closer or further away from the wall or the cable station. When using a cable station, start at around 20-25 pounds, and feel your way from there. Small increments will always serve you better. For you gentlemen and ladies looking to build up, resist the urge to go too heavy with this; rather do a medium weight, or use this for a drop set (play; you can also do pyramid or rhombus sets). Keep in mind, your body will not change if the weights are too light. If you realize that at 50 reps you can still think about your grocery list or when you have to pick the kids up, you need to dial the resistance up a little bit.


You have many options here. You can go with either Stroops or exercise tubing... even Thera-Bands, looped through a Fit Strap. If you have a secure fixture or loop at a height around the crown of your head that you can put your Stroops or tubing through, you can use that as well. What is most important is that you do not want the height of the Stroops or tubing to slide around as you are pulling on it. If you are in a gym, and they have a cable station or cable machine, use the rope attachment. I will be using Stroops, and will be referring to that method throughout the exercise.


Proper Technique, Posture and Tips

  • Have where your Stroops attach be at the height of the crown of your head.
  • Hold your Stroops under and up through hands, past the handles and on the rope part itself.
  • Keep your feet hip width apart, and with soft knees.
  • Drop and relax your shoulders and upper traps before each repetition, keeping a long, relaxed line from the tip of your earlobe to the tip of your shoulder. Keep a long neck.
  • Keep your abs in and lift your upper sternum slightly. Think of "opening" your chest as you pull your arms “back and wide” as in the video tutorial.
  • Make sure not to roll your elbows upwards towards the ceiling; focus on allowing them to drop down and back throughout the motion. Think of your hands being slightly abovethe elbows.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together slightly at the very bottom of the blades, towards the spine.

Hold the last rep while dropping and relaxing your shoulders and upper traps. Also, pull your “veranda” (see video for explanation) down even more and squeeze the very bottom tips of your shoulder blades together.

Ideally, your arms are a continuation of the line of the Stroops; a straight line from where the wall and ceiling meet in front of you, running through the point it connects to the wall, through your  hands, then your elbows, to where the floor and ceiling meet far behind you. Thinking this way about the exercise will dramatically improve your results.

Top: Nordstrom Rack, Black
Pants: Lululemon Wunder Under Crop Reversible, Black/Navy

Stay tuned for future exercises from The Little Black Dress Workout!

Send me pictures of you in your Little Black Dress and tell me about your successes in the comments below!