T Nation

Am I Doing Rows Wrong?


It seems that no matter whether I do seated cable rows or bent over rows, the only place where I feel the soreness/tightness seems to be the tops of my shoulder blades where the trap crosses over them - normal?


yeah, i kinda got the same thing goin. although i really concentrate on getting my shoulder blade back at the top of the bent over row, i just feel a general fatigue. i never have really felt them in my lats. and further i have never really had any lats that anyone would notice.
i am now up to a 50lb dumbbell, i know not much but better than 25lbs right?
so gang, how do you do that??


I would venture to guess its a combo of problems. One of both pulling to a point to high on the torso which is not bad if wanting to build the upper back, but to hit the lats it is better to pull near the botom of your rib cage.

The second factor would be concentration on keeping pulling with your upper arm/ Pulling through your elbow not your hands. Really concentrate on pulling thorugh the elbow and contracting the shoulders.

A great way to get the feel for this and a good excersize in its own is DB rows to your hip. CP I think it was wrote about it one the site somewhere. Saying amny of his clients didnt even know how it felt to ttrain lats until they did this movment. You basicaly set up like a regular DB bent over row but instead of pulling straight up you pull in an arch to your hip. This will force you to pull through the elbow. Try and bring that elbow as high and as close to the body as possible.

Hope thaose help.


Another way to hit it all is to do bent over barbell rows. Try a supinated grip, and bring the barbell to your solar plexus. Your back will be at roughly 45 degrees from parallel to the floor, though a little lower or higher is fine. Bend your knees and arch your back a bit.

Like Phil said, pull through with your elbows, not your hands. This is good advice for chin/pullups too.

If that doesn't work, I don't know what will!


You're letting your upper traps take over for your weak/inhibited middle and lower traps and rhomboids. Focus on squeezing back AND down; pull to a spot lower on your stomach.


PS - Stay more upright, too.


I feel like I never feel rowing in my back. Maybe I should start actively thinking about pulling my shoulders "down" as well.


The biggest mistake I see is using too much momentum; if you work with hip/back extension to get the weight moving, you can easily blast past the sticking point of the movement (where the muscles of the upper back are SUPPOSED to be working the hardest).


actually those are what I do - 45 degree angle and pull the bar to just above my belly button. However, I know I can go lower with the cable rows. I shall have to do so!


Bend 90 degrees at the hips, head up, arch your back a little, keep your shoulderblades flat- no winging, and pull the blades together through the range of the movement. If you realy want to burn, hold for a few seconds at the top. Suppine and prone grips are both very good.


I also just wanted to add many find that using a thumbless grip seems to help teach taking the upper arm out of the movement a little more.

Might be worth a try.