T Nation

5s Pro with Barbell Bent-Over Rows

powerlifting
strength

#1

I got inspired by a video posted a little while ago on supertraining06’s YouTube channel about a guy who got his deadlift to 900lbs by doing heavy barbell bent-over rows. I experimented with doing barbell bent-over rows using 5s pro. Its fun, but it isn’t enough volume for my back. I have been doing barbell bent-over rows 5x10 for a long time, but wanted to try doing them heavier since my back is the weak point in my deadlift so I tried doing them 5s Pro this wave. I am on week 3. I am starting to notice that I am not getting enough back volume in now. Should I stop doing them 5s Pro or could I do a few sets of 10 reps with a lighter weight after doing them 5s Pro? Thank you.


#2

I treat BB rows like a general accessory exercise, which is usually programmed as 3 sets of 10 to 20 reps (I go with 12 reps and aim for an RPE of 8).

I understand that you want to go heavier, but I’ll be honest and say that I’ve gotten more from doing higher rep range work on this move and dropping the weight down a level or so in order to hit the higher rep counts. And this is both in terms of size and strength (and carry over in to the deadlift). In order to challenge yourself, occasionally up the weight on the bar by 5lbs.

In sum: use higher reps with some linear progression for growth.


#3

I’ve done these as a main 531 lift before and will be doing it again next time i reset my programming. I will be doing 5s pro + some other volume like BBB or SSL. Just plan your cycle ahead so the heaviest 5s pro sets seem something reasonable you can do currently, don’t worry about estimating a 1RM or anything for this lift. As long as the top set of 5 is not too heavy everything should work fine.


#4

I wouldn’t use barbell rows as a means to strengthen the lower back - this has slipped disk written all over it. Use barbell rows for assistance - you’ll get more out of them using strict, higher reps than low rep, heavy sets.

If you want to strengthen the lower back, do lower back assistance and supplemental exercises. GMs, back raises/hyperextensions/ghr, deadlift variations (roman, SLDL, deficit, snatch grip), etc…

edit: the fastest way to get a bigger deadlift is to deadlift more. I’ve had the most success with BBB, and BBS in the deadlift using FSL weight. SSL and 5x5/3/1 were too taxing for the deadlift imo.


#5

Thank you for the feedback. I will put all of this into consideration when I decide what to do next wave. I am not doing barbell rows for my lower back. I sometimes do GMs and I always do back raises and RDLs for my lower back. I don’t think my lower back is the problem with my deadlift. My weak point is lockout so I just generally need a stronger back. That is why I tried doing barbell rows 5s pro so I could work my back more in the strength rep range, but that didn’t work out.


#6

did I miss something in your OP?


#7

just sayin…


#8

I found that for my squat and bench press I get stronger on those by just doing them more like you suggested, but that doesn’t help my deadlift and overhead press. To be honest, I’m a little bit at a loss about that. Frequency doesn’t seem to help my deadlift and overhead press and I’ve tried lots of different accessories.


#9

I understand the confusion. Maybe I wasn’t clear that I don’t think my lower back is what is holding me back. Its the rest of my back, which needs some more focused strengthening. I do chin-ups and bent-over rows for the rest of my back and as I said I do back raises, RDLs, and sometimes GMs for my lower back.


#10

Once you hit a reasonable weight your lower back will really be stressed by these.

If I really wanted to do these and do them heavy then I’d probably go 8x3 in a leader and 10x5 in the anchor, leaving 2-3 reps in the tank as an accessory.


#11

try kroc rows with 50% of your body weight. I weigh 225, so I do kroc rows with 110 pounds for 20+ and sometimes 30+ reps per arm.They will do wonders for your upper back. Another good back strengthening tool is chest supported rows (t-bar or DB). I had not done these in a long time and did them for assistance last week and I felt the soreness in all the right places. Another good one for back development are high-pulls and of course, snatch grip deadlifts. DB SLDLs+Shrugs are also awesome if you have access to heavy enough dumbbells - I do them for 10-15 reps with 85’s. Keep in mind I’m a year shy of 40 years old, so my goals may be different than yours, but I can squat and deadlift over 500 pounds, so these are the tools I use.


#12

Thank you. I will try these. Thank you.


#13

A way to add BB rows would be to superset them with your bench press. Every bench set you do, follow up with a set of BB rows for the same reps and weight (and grip) you used in the bench, or do the BB row before the bench.
It cuts off time and allows to pack rowing volume while keeping the weight in check (not too high to bust your spine, but progressing with your bench numbers). Seen it recommended by a guy who’s known in strongman but really can’t remember the name.
Same can be done with DB rows obviously, you just spend some more time doing each arm and weight progression most likely won’t be as straightforward as using the bench numbers.

But pretty much, if lockout is the weak spot of your deadlift, pretty much anything that improves your lats/upper back strength will help, as mentioned above.


#14

I have found that I prefer taking time to recover, hydrate, do some easy upper body mobility drills to keep my shoulders loose for more bench pressing, etc. between each bench press set rather than supersetting them with rows.


#15

If you want heavy and volume , alternate weeks of 5s and 10s, or pyramid your sets, 10-10, 3x5, 10-10


#16

I didn’t think about pyramiding the sets. That is a good idea. Thank you.


#17

I second Marc. For me heavy BB Bent rows are very taxing on my lower back. (because I can’t help cheat).
Kroc Rows
Snatch grip DL
Snatch grip High pulls.
Haven’t done Bat-wings (google them) they should be good to for upper back.

BUT Snatch grip DL at sets of 10. Done explosive with a little (jump) getting on the toes, keeping chest up, scaps retracted, and a sligt shrug at the tip. Awesome.


#18

What do you think about power shrugs? They look fun and could help.


#19

Well I haven’t done them.
But try them out.
A routine you like to do, is superior to the perfekt routine, if you hate it.