T Nation

Barbell Row Cues

@ PC

In your opinion how do you execute a proper barbell row? Where do you pull to? How much arch should one aim for? Body english acceptable at all? How does one keep focus on upper back?

Ty for your time. Its the exercise I probably butcher the most.

One thing most guys miss with a barbell row is to really set their base with their glutes and hams.

That’s the first thing I do before I lift the bar off the floor to give me stability. I make sure that there’s a lot of tension in my glutes and hams. The stronger that base is, the more stable you’re going to feel in the movement.

The other thing is I don’t do bitch reps. That’s what me and my training partners call those reps where you’re humping the bar. Where you raise up real high then kinda slam your body down towards the bar as it comes up. Bitch reps.

I focus on driving my elbows back with my weight at mid-foot. But here’s the thing - the barbell row is really an integrated movement. It’s not a “one area of the back to bias” kind of movement. It’s hitting everything.

I don’t overly arch my back. Just enough to not be in lumbar flexion. I think arching super hard with the weight in that position is probably a great way to end up with some back pain.

Mainly start light and make sure you’re adhering to all of the above and add the loading slowly.


Ty man much appreciated

Where should should the bar make contact? (Chest or top of abs or bottom of abs) ty

I like to rotate barbell and smith rows. It’s easier to bias a certain area of the back in the smith by how far away you set up. If you lighten the load and pull the smith to your nipple line you can really crush your rhomboids and middle traps

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Sorry no answer needed as you wrote this


What’s the recommendation for us poor bastards who have difficulty with bent over rows and rack deads due to previous lumbar injuries? Do we just stick to other less painful options and chase progressive overload nonetheless?

Use a chest supported row.

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