Bent Over Row
The bent over row forms the basis of any good back workout, with the sheer amount of weight able to be lifted on the bent over row making it a fantastic choice for stacking on lean muscle mass and developing a strong, functional core.
This row works every portion of the back (from your trapezius to your erector spine).
When performing the barbell row I keep my body as parallel to the floor as possible, this allows full engagement of the rhomboids, which isn’t achieved when you’re in a more upright position (you’ll find most guys do these basically upright but with a very slight bend in their knees).
Targets: Back & Biceps
Bent Over Row Form:
Grip a barbell with an overhand grip before bending your knees, throwing your hips back and bringing your torso to a parallel position.
While keeping your core tight proceed to drive the barbell upward to just below your chest by contracting your shoulder blades together and keeping your shoulders as close in to your body as possible.
Slowly lower the barbell down until your arms are fully extended once again while your back remains as parallel to the ground as possible.
Bent Over Row Variations
Underhand Grip Bent Over Row
By switching up your grip and utilizing a supinated (palms facing you) grip you’ll place additional emphasis on the biceps.
The pendlay row is very similiar to the bent over barbell row however, the pendlay row ‘resets’ the bar after each repetition – lowering it back down to the ground momentarily.
The purpose of this ‘reset’ after each rep is to reduce the stress on the lower back.
Common Bent Over Row Mistakes
Using Partial Range Of Motion
Each repetition should begin with your arms fully extended below your torso and end with the barbell up against your torso with your shoulder blades squeezed together.
Most guys continue to up and up the weight as their range of motion and form begins to degrade… don’t be one of them.
Jerking Your Body To Complete The Repetition
The duration of the repetition should be slow and controlled, the top (contraction) portion of the repetition is by far the hardest, and if you’re jerking your entire body to get the contraction this is a clear sign it’s time to drop the weight down a bit.
Not Bending Over Far Enough
It’s called a bent over row for a reason, you must bent forward and row into your torso, standing straight up and attempting to row will not engage the desired muscle.
Not Squeezing The Shoulder Blades Together
Every back exercise comes down to getting the correct contraction – the contraction is a result of squeezing your shoulder blades together and tensing your back muscles as you’ve pulled the weight towards your torso. You cannot get this contraction without squeezing the shoulder blades.
I feel as if I repeat this point far too often, however for years I was merely training my back without contracting the muscles correctly… needless to say for a few years my back lagged behind the rest of my physique in terms of both size and strength.
Similar & Substitute Exercises
- One Arm Dumbbell Row
- Seated Cable Row
- Shotgun Cable Row