How to Do the Bent-Over Barbell Row for a Bigger, Stronger Back

They are saying, “you gotta row to develop.” And what they’re (virtually at all times) relating to is the large, fundamental, bent-over barbell row. The barbell row is without doubt one of the maximum difficult workout routines you’ll be able to you put in force into your again exercises. The barbell row is ceaselessly regarded as one of the crucial elementary workout routines, proper up there with … Learn extra
The submit Easy methods to Do the Bent-Over Barbell Row for a Larger, More potent Again gave the impression first on Breaking Muscle.

They are saying, “you gotta row to develop.” And what they’re (virtually at all times) relating to is the large, fundamental, bent-over barbell row. The barbell row is without doubt one of the maximum difficult workout routines you’ll be able to you put in force into your back workouts.

Muscular man performing barbell row exercise
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The barbell row is ceaselessly regarded as one of the crucial elementary workout routines, proper up there with the Giant 3 powerlifts — squat, bench press, and deadlift — as it’s a complete motion for constructing a base of dimension and power. It is helping you construct a thicker, wider, more potent again whilst additionally creating a larger, more potent set of fingers. Right here’s easy methods to get essentially the most from this back-training staple.

Easy methods to Do the Barbell Row

The bent-over barbell row generally is a quite simple workout to arrange and carry out. All you wish to have is a barbell, some weight plates, and a ground. Equipment like lifting straps to give a boost to your grip power or a lifting belt to supply further decrease again give a boost to aren’t at all times required.

Grasp the workout itself, after which imagine including apparatus relying in your particular wishes and necessities.

Step 1 — Get Into the Beginning Place

Person in gym holding barbell preparing to exercise
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Stroll as much as a loaded barbell and function your toes shoulder-width aside or somewhat within hip-width. The bar will have to be most often over the center of your toes. In case you are relatively tall, you will be extra ok with the bar located towards your shins.

Push your hips again and bend on the waist. Stay your again directly and your knees somewhat bent. Hang the barbell with an overhand (fingers down) grip simply out of doors of your shins. Pull your shoulders again and really feel pressure to your lats (again muscle tissues) as you get ready to take keep watch over over the load. Stay your head in a impartial function — no longer taking a look on the ceiling or tucking your chin down.

Straighten your legs and rise up directly, just like you could possibly in a deadlift. From the locked out function, bend your legs somewhat and hinge at your hips till your higher physique is somewhat above parallel to the bottom. Permit the barbell to hold close to your legs together with your fingers prolonged.

Shape Tip: Stay your eyes fastened on a place kind of one to 2 meters (3 to 6 toes) in entrance of you. This may mean you can deal with a strong physique function, inspire constant bar function between every rep, and scale back the danger of harm because of technical failure.

Step 2 — Pull the Weight Up 

Person with long hair performing barbell row
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With the bar in a dead-hang function, power your elbows up in opposition to your hips. The barbell will have to succeed in your stomach button. If you get into the highest function, center of attention in your shoulder blades squeezing in combination and feeling a troublesome contraction to your again musculature.

Your higher physique will have to stay most commonly horizontal all through the rep. Keep away from the use of your legs to “jumpstart” the load and don’t permit your torso to drop down to satisfy the barbell.

Shape Tip: You will need to acknowledge while you start sacrificing method for heavier weight. Key signs that you just’ve long gone too heavy come with: your elbows flaring out to the edges, the bar now not achieving your stomach button, or feeling additional force via your decrease again which prevents you from protecting a powerful, strong torso function.

Step 3 — Decrease the Weight to Stretch

person in gym bent forward holding barbell
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After getting finished the concentric (lifting) portion of the motion, stay in a powerful and strong function whilst decreasing the barbell beneath keep watch over. Don’t permit the bar to unfastened fall into the ground function.

Straighten your fingers and make allowance your shoulder blades to liberate from the retracted function. Really feel your again musculature lengthening till your fingers are totally prolonged.

Shape Tip: Some lifters will decrease the barbell too briefly and no longer be aware of the bar trail or muscular keep watch over. Focal point on decreasing the barbell in the very same bar trail as you probably did when lifting it. This may be certain that every rep is similar and can help you deal with pressure at the again muscle tissues whilst lowering the danger of harm.

Barbell Row Errors to Keep away from

The barbell row would possibly appear easy on paper, however you’ll be able to nonetheless very simply make errors that can impede your growth and coaching. Underneath are two of the most typical errors to steer clear of.

Lifting with Your Hands

Many novice lifters briefly type the dependancy of pulling the barbell up the use of their fingers greater than their again muscle tissues. Positive, you’ll be able to’t carry out a row with out the use of your fingers in any respect, however correct muscle contractions will have to emphasize the bigger again muscle tissues extra considerably than the moderately smaller muscle tissues of the fingers.

muscular person in gym rowing barbell
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In the event you proceed activating your fingers first, as the load will increase, your fingers will take over the motion and your again might be under-recruited just because you’re going to no longer have frolicked that specialize in feeling the again muscle tissues contracting.

Keep away from It: You will need to center of attention on feeling your again muscle tissues stretch and contract. This may spice up the mind-muscle connection, which has been proven to strengthen effects. (1) In the event you actively power your elbows into your hips, as an alternative of that specialize in your arms pulling the load up, you’ll be able to emphasize the lats.

Status Too Upright 

The barbell row calls for you to be set in a bent-over function, or what’s known as a “hinged function.” Whilst your physique doesn’t wish to type a strict 90-degree perspective, it’s crucial that you just deal with some form of strong and predominantly horizontal perspective to accomplish the barbell row successfully.


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On most sensible of this, some trainees will use a weight that some distance exceeds their good-form lifting functions. This may end up in last too upright to be able to counterbalance the load, and the motion turns into extra of a shrug than a row. Those two elements ceaselessly paintings hand in hand, since over the top weight and a loss of hinge balance will result in being too upright.

Keep away from It: When you have bother keeping up a hinged function, carry out the workout close to a wall and get right into a hinged function together with your glutes firmly towards the wall. This may can help you higher leverage your self as you strengthen the coordination and power required to stay hinged whilst contracting your again musculature. 

Advantages of the Barbell Row

The bent-over barbell row is thought of as a foundational workout as it delivers a number of advantages for a couple of muscle tissues within the higher and decrease physique.

person in empty gym performing barbell exercise
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Underneath are some key causes to incorporate the barbell row into your exercise routine, whether or not you’re a novice or an skilled lifter.

Advanced Spinal Balance and Posture 

A commonplace weak spot for lifters within the talent to deal with a impartial backbone (flat again) right through many actions. The barbell row is helping to strengthen postural keep watch over in fundamental positions, which is able to elevate over to power and balance in different actions. It additionally strengthens postural muscle tissues just like the spinal erectors, which can be a key muscle staff for decrease again well being and balance.

Development a More potent Again 

As your again will get more potent, your talent to brace your higher physique will strengthen. This permits higher general balance right through actions just like the overhead press, bench press, and squat.

The barbell row is without doubt one of the best techniques to construct upper-body strength as it coordinates power in the course of the lats, higher again, decrease again, shoulders, fingers, and grip. In comparison to different diversifications of rowing workout routines, the barbell row lets you doubtlessly use extra weight, which additionally makes it a more practical strength-builder.

Greater Again Measurement

Development a much broader, thicker again is without doubt one of the best techniques to improve your physique. The lats are probably the most greatest muscle tissues at the physique and a well-developed higher again can’t ceaselessly be hidden beneath garments, in contrast to well-developed fingers or legs. Making the barbell row a mainstay to your again exercise is a time-tested technique to pack on dimension.

Muscular tissues Labored by way of the Barbell Row

The barbell row is a compound workout, which means that it comes to a couple of muscle tissues transferring throughout a couple of joints to accomplish the motion.

shirtless muscular person performing barbell row in dark gym
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The main muscle tissues recruited are all through the again, whilst secondary muscle tissues, such because the biceps and forearms, are often known as upon.

Latissimus Dorsi

The lats type the vast majority of your again musculature and are the principle muscle you’re going to be stimulating right through the bent-over row. Your lats paintings to deliver your higher arm from in entrance of your physique, or above it, to alongside your facet. This serve as is why the cue of “pulling your elbows towards your physique” is helping to recruit the lats.

Spinal Erectors

The spinal erectors run the period of your spinal column, together with the phase maximum regularly known as “the decrease again.” Throughout the bent-over barbell row, your spinal erectors are recruited to stabilize your backbone and save you rounding when you deal with the hinged function.

As a result of your spinal erectors are required to carry a strong function all through every set, lifters with pre-existing decrease again problems ceaselessly have bother acting barbell rows and usually make a choice another workout.

Scapular Stabilizers 

The scapular stabilizers discovered around the higher again come with a couple of muscle tissues running in comparable roles. Your trapezius, rhomboids, rear deltoids, and teres keep watch over movements akin to bringing your shoulder blades in combination and aside, in addition to transferring them up and down.

This happens whilst rowing the bar up and squeezing your shoulder blades in combination (retraction) and when decreasing the barbell again to the beginning function, freeing (protracting) your shoulder blades.

Glutes and Hamstrings

In a hinged function, your glutes and hamstrings give a boost to your physique isometrically, just like your spinal erectors paintings to deal with a strong higher physique posture. Many lifters really feel a vital stretch of their hamstrings or glutes right through a suite of barbell rows for the reason that muscle tissues are being labored in a stretched function with no complete contraction.


The biceps are recruited any time the arm flexes (bends). Throughout the barbell row, your biceps play an help function to raise the load. Your biceps can also be extra considerably recruited by way of the use of an underhand (palms-up) grip, which puts them in a extra fantastic function to be activated.


The wrist extensors alongside the highest of the forearm and the wrist flexors at the backside are each extremely activated right through barbell rows to give a boost to a powerful grip at the bar. Your flexors, specifically, are recruited to stabilize the load as it’s lifted.

For plenty of skilled lifters lifting heavier weights, the gripping power of the forearm muscle tissues generally is a proscribing issue right through rows, which is why lifting straps could also be used to supply further give a boost to.

Who Will have to Do the Barbell Row

Whether or not you’re practicing for power, energy, or aesthetics, the barbell row can receive advantages your practicing objectives. Listed below are extra convincing causes to incorporate the barbell row to your again exercise.

Body-Targeted Lifters 

Bodybuilders, body athletes, and any lifter in need of to seem extra muscular can take pleasure in the barbell row. It applies muscular pressure to all muscle tissues of the again and has the opportunity of transferring heavy quite a bit, which can also be a good way of triggering muscle expansion. The barbell row has been an crucial back exercise for one of the vital best-built physiques.

Energy Athletes 

Energy athletes can take pleasure in the use of the barbell row to construct pulling power in addition to total-body balance. The barbell row builds power that helps higher physique urgent and pulling. The decrease again and postural balance too can assist to strengthen power right through squats and deadlifts.

Easy methods to Program the Barbell Row

The barbell row is a foundational motion which is able to accommodate various rep levels, appropriate to all lifters, objectives, and systems. Underneath are two commonplace and efficient suggestions in response to your particular practicing objective.

Heavy Weight, Low to Reasonable Repetitions

If maximizing power is your objective, 3 to 5 units within the 4 to 8 rep vary is a great position to begin. Use a weight that lets you depart no less than two reps left “within the tank” to make sure optimum method. Rowing extraordinarily heavy weights to muscular failure can upload tension to the spinal erectors and build up the danger of harm.

Reasonable Weight, Reasonable Repetitions 

If maximizing muscle expansion is your objective, 3 to 4 units within the six to twelve rep vary is the perfect rep unfold you will have to be focused on. This provides you with a bump in practicing quantity, which is advisable for constructing muscle. (2) The higher quantity with moderately lighter weight additionally lets you broaden higher muscle coordination, and will in the end result in higher recruitment of the again musculature.

Barbell Row Permutations

The bent-over barbell row is a flexible and elementary workout, however no longer all lifters are ready for the problem. Underneath you’re going to to find comparable diversifications that ship related effects with somewhat numerous muscle recruitment or method.

Yates Row

The Yates row used to be popularized by way of probably the most biggest bodybuilders of all time, six-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates. The speculation in the back of this workout variation used to be to have a somewhat extra upright posture whilst additionally flipping your grip to a supinated function (underhand). Those changes higher recruit the higher again, traps, and biceps.

The important thing to this workout is the bar trail and torso balance had to maximally recruit the muscle tissues being centered. You need to concentrate on the barbell being as with regards to your thighs as conceivable as you pull up via your elbows.

T-Bar Row

For this workout, you’re going to both desire a devoted T-bar row system or you’ll be able to take a close-grip care for from the cable station and use it with a barbell set within a landmine attachment.

The T-bar row is much less hard at the decrease again, which makes it a perfect workout to emphasise the remainder of the again muscle tissues. It’s splendid on the tail-end of your exercises to totally exhaust all last muscle fibers that had been recruited right through your exercise.

Unmarried-Arm Dumbbell Row 

Probably the most commonplace diversifications of the barbell row is its dumbbell counterpart. The single-arm dumbbell row lets you paintings one facet of the physique at time and gives balance, which reduces decrease again tension. The higher balance additionally lets you center of attention on reaching an extended vary of movement to extra totally paintings the objective muscle tissues.

This is an efficient motion to make stronger muscular imbalances by way of focused on one facet of the again at a time.

Barbell Row Possible choices

Feeling like you’ve got totally exhausted your talent to proceed progressing the barbell row or simply desire a exchange of tempo? Listed below are one of the vital most efficient possible choices to proceed constructing again dimension and power.

Inverted Row 

The inverted row is a perfect bodyweight exercise selection for the barbell row since you’ll be able to educate the similar muscle teams in the similar motion development. It additionally most effective calls for your physique weight to supply a stimulus for muscle expansion and strength-building.

This can also be helpful as a number one workout if you’re first beginning out on studying to coordinate your muscle recruitment within the barbell row or, for extra skilled lifters, on the finish of your exercises as a finisher after finishing your heavier weight practicing previous within the exercise. 

Seal Row

The seal row, often referred to as a bench pull, is a chest-supported row variation that solely gets rid of the wish to hinge. Since you’re mendacity susceptible on an increased bench, you’ll be able to extra successfully isolate the bigger again muscle tissues with out recruiting your decrease again or decrease physique.

This selection supplies much less tension and pressure at the decrease again and hamstrings, however it additionally method the quantity of weight lifted could also be  not up to what it’s essential use with a standard barbell row. 

Pendlay Row 

The Pendlay row is ceaselessly perplexed with the fundamental barbell row for nice explanation why. The method, muscle recruitment, and common motion development is just about equivalent. The important thing distinction is that every repetition of the Pendlay row starts from whole dead-stop at the ground.

This pause between reps assists in keeping up correct positioning, minimizes any momentum, and is helping to broaden explosive energy. It is a nice selection should you to find it tricky to stay set in a correct hinged-position, as a result of you’ll be able to reset your function between every rep.

Meadows Row

The Meadows row used to be popularized by way of mythical bodybuilding trainer John Meadows. On this workout, you’ll be able to build up your vary of movement by way of adjusting your hip and torso function.

The original physique positioning and leverage from the landmine will paintings the again musculature from a somewhat other perspective, scale back tension at the decrease again, and reduce momentum.


I believe my higher again running greater than some other muscle, what am I doing unsuitable?

There are two chances. The primary is that you will be the use of an excessive amount of weight, inflicting you to face extra upright and shift muscular tension away out of your lats and onto your higher again and traps. The second one possible factor is that you’re not correctly set in a powerful and strong hinged function.

Cut back the load and concentrate on feeling your lats contract right through the workout. Additionally spend a while that specialize in coming into a nice hinge function — push your hips again and deal with a extra horizontal higher physique function all through the set. Slowly build up weight through the years as soon as you’re sturdy sufficient to deal with a strong torso in a hinged function.

Can rookies carry out the barbell row?

Completely. Freshmen can receive advantages a great deal by way of together with the barbell row of their programming. On the other hand, it is very important be aware that if you’re a novice, have in mind to prioritize method over added weight and don’t hesitate to hunt help together with your method from a certified workforce member to your native health club. 

Row Till You Can’t Row No Extra

Lots of the all-time nice bodybuilders, powerlifters, and power athletes have constructed admirable backs by way of prioritizing the barbell row. It trains each and every muscle to your again, and builds power and balance which carries over to different large lifts. It will also be a pleasing workout to grasp while you’re in a position to stroll as much as a majestic barbell and pull it off the bottom.


  1. Calatayud, J., Vinstrup, J., Jakobsen, M. D., Sundstrup, E., Brandt, M., Jay, Okay., Colado, J. C., & Andersen, L. L. (2016). Significance of mind-muscle connection right through modern resistance practicing. Eu magazine of implemented body structure, 116(3), 527–533.
  2. Schoenfeld, B. J., Contreras, B., Krieger, J., Grgic, J., Delcastillo, Okay., Belliard, R., & Alto, A. (2019). Resistance Coaching Quantity Complements Muscle Hypertrophy however No longer Energy in Skilled Males. Drugs and science in sports activities and workout, 51(1), 94–103.

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