Back Training – Barbell Row

Muscles Exercised

Barbell rows, also called bent over rows are an effective compound exercise for your lats, and your rhomboids to a somewhat lesser degree. As with other rowing exercises, barbell rows hammer your biceps as well.

Exercise Technique

  • Barbell rows can be completed with a variety of hand grip positions, both overhand and underhand. The typical grip position is overhand with your hands slightly outside shoulder width.
  • Place your feet outside shoulder width with your knees bent to aid in balance. I prefer to use my squat stance for barbell rows.
  • Rotate at the hips until your upper body is at most a 45 degree angle to┬áthe floor.
  • Keep your head up and your back flat.
  • Lower the bar toward your feet. Relax your shoulders and lats extending the bar as low as it will go.
  • Contract your lats pulling the bar back up in a smooth, controlled manner. Pull your elbows straight back, raising the bar to your waist.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades tightly at the top of the lift.
  • Keep your upper body stable; minimize use of momentum during the lift.
    • Raising your upper body will allow you to use momentum to lift the weight, which can be used as a ‘cheat’ technique described in another article.
  • Select a weight that you can perform all of your repetitions using proper technique. On your last 1-2 sets, your last repetitions should be very difficult.

Additional lat exercises you may want to try:


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