Back Training – Dead Stop Barbell Rows

Dead stop barbell rows removes the use of upper body momentum to assist with your rows. It helps you isolate and emphasize your upper back.

Muscles Used for this Exercised

Exercise Classification

Exercise Technique

  • Equipment: Perform this exercise in a power cage or squat rack where you can adjust the height of the safety pins.
    • Adjust the safety pins so that when you are in the rowing position and your arms and lats are fully extended, the barbell rests on the pins.
  • Foot Position: Use a comfortable foot position with your feet just outside shoulder width, toes pointed out. This will give you good stability to perform the exercise.
  • Hand Position: Use a grip just outside shoulder width, with your hands pronated (overhand).
  • Posture: Push your hips straight back and lower your torso to 45 degrees. In the starting position the bar should be centered over your feet so you can maintain balance while pulling the bar.
  • Breathing: Take a breath before pulling the barbell off the pins and tighten your abs to stabilize your core and lower back.
  • Keep your head up and your back flat throughout all repetitions.
  • Initiate the pull with your lats and pull your elbows straight back. Continue pulling until the bar reaches your abdomen. You should pull the bar to between the center of your abdomen and your sternum.
  • Squeeze shoulder blades tightly together at the top, before lowering the bar back to the safety pins. Fully extend your lats as the bar reaches the pins.
  • Let the bar come to a complete stop before starting subsequent rows.

Strength Standard

  • You will need to use somewhat lighter weight than you use for barbell rows. Since you should be using no upper body momentum to cheat during the lift, use only the weight you can initiate the row with your upper back strength.

Common Mistakes

  • Raising your torso during the initial pull using momentum to aid in the lift

Exercise Safety

  • Keep your back flat. Rounding your back during the exercise may increase your chance of injury.


  • Supinated (underhand) Grip: Increases emphasis on biceps and upper trapezius
  • Hand Position/Angle of Upper Body: By varying the placement of your hands and the angle of your upper body, you can emphasize different portions of your upper back
  • Barbell Rows
  • Dumbbell Rows


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