T Nation

Barbell rows and scapular retraction

My question regards scapular movement during barbell rows. I’m uncertain if I should keep my scapula retracted throught the entire set or if I should allow the scapula to protract during the eccentric and retract during the concentric.

Thank you for any feedback

sincerely Mark Kantor

i’m no biomechanicist, but i think you should allow the scapula to protract during the eccentric part of the movement. I recall reading something by paul check about misrecruitment of the scapula retractors during upper body pulling exercises, search his site. i recall it being in one of his videos…

There’s two schools of thought, as I see it. (1) if you allow your shoulders to come froward (or down in the case of bent-over barbell rows), there is a reater tendency for the back to round out, risking back problems; (2) basically you’d be incorporating a bent-over shrug into the rowing movement, maybe making it more time efficient. Personally, I do all my rowing movements with the shoulders held back, which is much more pronounced doing seated cable rows than bent-over barbell rows.

yes, allow the scapula to extend during the eccentric. keeping the scapula retracted during the entire lift in a sense “teaches” your nervous system that in order to fire the lats, the scapula must already be retracted. This will take away from your intramuscular coordination reduce your load potential.

Mark - why don’t you use both! A common theme among Ian King’s program design is to use alot of different methods, and techniques. So instead of evaluating which is the better option, find out when would be the best time for you to use each technique. Hope this helps.

Marty is the only one who is making any sense. Use both methods, any time you do things one way, with little or no variation, you’re making a mistake.

p.s. if you can do a bent over row without scapular retraction and a challenging resistance, I’m impressed!