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Barbell Bent Over Rows

What Is A Barbell Bent Over Row?

How To Do A Barbell Bent Over Row

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The barbell bent over row is an excellent upper body exercise that works the latissimus dorsi, the trapezius, the rhomboids, and the rear deltoids, with the core, biceps, and spinal erectors assisting the lift. The hip hinge setup of the row means that the lower body is also recruited for stability, with the glutes and hamstrings having to remain strong to maintain the correct position.

This compound exercise that builds strength and aids muscular hypertrophy, can help to improve posture, and protect the body against injury, and is well worth including in any training programme.

The barbell bent over row can use either an overhand (pronated) grip or an underhand (supinated) grip to alter which muscles are challenged. The pronated grip places greater focus on the lats, while the supinated grip recruits the biceps more. Most people can lift more load with a supinated grip.

Check out some other row variations: dumbbell bent over row, single arm dumbbell row, incline row, seated cable row, inverted row

Commonly Asked Questions On Barbell Bent Over Row

What Muscles Do Bent Over Rows Work?

Bent over rows work the upper back and shoulder muscles, namely targeting the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezius, and posterior deltoids. The hip hinge positioning of the bent over row also means the hamstrings, glutes, and erector spinae are involved. The core should also be engaged to protect the lower back and help with stability.

Do Bent Over Rows Work The Lower Back?

Bent over rows are a compound exercise that strengthen multiple muscle groups, including the lower back and erector spinae, and can help to improve lower back stability and protect against injury.

Are Bent Over Rows Bad For Your Back?

Bent over rows are good for your back as they help to improve strength and can help poor posture, both which minimise injury risks.

Having said this, it’s important to perform this exercise with good form as poor technique can expose the lower back to risk. We’d advise mastering the hip hinge and building back strength through other exercises, for example on fixed resistance machines, before doing the barbell bent over row.

Barbell Bent Over Row Tips

Performing the bent over row with correct form is important to target the intended muscles and reduce risk of injury, as the hip hinge set up exposes the lower back to injury risk. Before attempting the bent over row, work on your hip hinge position with body weight to get the correct positioning – you should feel most of the weight in your hamstrings and glutes rather than in the lower back.

If you struggle to maintain the correct hip hinge throughout the exercise due to your hamstrings or glutes becoming fatigued, chest supported rows can be a good alternative. The chest support removes the demand on the lower body and isolates the back muscles, ensuring they are challenged sufficiently.

If you are unable to row the weight up with control, and find yourself having to throw the weight up, it’s likely that the weight is too heavy. Use a weight that allows the barbell to be moved in a smooth, controlled manner.

How To Do A Barbell Bent Over Row

  1. Load a barbell, making sure to choose a weight you can control. You can set up on the floor using bumper plates to raise the barbell, or on a squat rack using the safety arms to raise the bar.

  2. Adopt a hip width stance and deadlift the barbell up, making sure to engage your core and maintain a neutral spine. An underhand grip targets the biceps more, while an overhand grip works the lats more.

  3. Hinge forward by pushing your hips back until your torso is at a 45-degree angle to your thighs.

  4. Taking a deep breath in, brace your core, and row the bar towards your belly button. It can be helpful to think about bending at the elbows and pulling them back towards your hips.

  5. Slowly return the barbell to the starting position by allowing your arms to extend in front of you.

  6. Once the set is complete, push your hips forwards to stand tall before deadlifting the bar back onto the floor.

If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.