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BB Row Form Check


I'm working on getting my Row up (along with everything else of course) but as I increase weights I'm noticing it feels like I'm cheating a lot. The video's I've taken make me think I'm not doing too much cheating but it's starting to get more so so I figured I'd get a critique

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URW72X1FHz8 (and yes, I know I'm weak)



Have you sent those naked pics to Scott yet?

Sorry, I don't get youtube at the office.


it feels like you are cheating because you are.

Keep you back static. It's moving way to much. Lower the weight.


Well yea that's why I wanted to get it checked. I know some people say that on an exercise like this you need to use momentum and cheat some while others feel you should keep really steady form


I'd suggest either or both of two things:

1) It seems you "want" to be at a 45 degree angle for rows. Which is part of why you are pulling yourself up to that angle.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing rows that START at a 45 degree angle and stay there. In fact that is a very common and standard exercise. It is a different exercise than the 90 degree bent row, but a very fine one.

2) You could find a video and also preferably an article on so-called Pendlay Rows. (The reason I say so-called is that Arnold did rows precisely this way far before Pendlay became associated with them, and for that matter most likely this style was used before Arnold as well, but people seem to call them Pendlay Rows so that is the thing to search for.)

That is a good way to approach the 90 degree row.


There's never going to be a single answer to cheating on movements, you need to decide what camp to follow.


A little body English is somewhat acceptable, but your form is speaking a different language. First things first, get rid of the people who give you advice. Lower the weight. Slowly progress until you're strong and bigger. Then maybe in about 2 years from now when you are advanced enough to actually gain anything from cheating with partial reps, added momentum, come back.

As for alternatives/accessory stuff look up: Pendlay Rows, Inverted Rows, Dumbbell Rows, Cable Rows, T-bar Rows, Chest-supported Rows.


Thanks for the recommendations. I'm not sure if its so much that my body "wants" to be at 45 degrees as much as it is that I go from 90 to 45 to get the momentum to get it up which maybe I shouldn't.

As for the pendlay rows I was thinking something like that before actually. I've seen it many times but in somewhat different ways. Is the goal to hit the stomach with the bar because I know I can handle a lot more weight getting 1-2 inches away whereas to hit my stomach I have to either lower the weight significantly or cheat the weight to that point with more momentum (like you see in my video).






You don't want to cheat yourself of the full contraction. If the weight can't make it genuinely all the way up, it is too heavy.


OK well I will try switching it up to Pendlay Rows then. I see that it should be an explosive movement, in general can people do more or less with this movement compared to BB rows?

Kind of sucks that I'll have to lower the weight but it is what it is


I would say "similar" though it would also depend on what sort of row is being compared to. For example, rows done the way Ronnie Coleman does them allow heavier weight than could be used with Pendlay Rows. On the other hand, very strict 90 degree rows would be less weight.


And don't worry about lowering the weight. Cycling through weights -- working up over a matter of weeks to what is quite heavy for you, then dropping back down to the lightest useful end of the weight range for you and again working back up, this time hopefully to a higher maximum -- is more productive than staying focused on moving the heaviest weight possible all the time.

Or other methods of varying weight can be used productively, and also are better than constantly trying to move the most weight one can.


Ok so basically like I deload. I'm planning on doing an overall deload soon so that should fall into that pretty well.

As for the weight I think I'll start at around 135 and see how it goes.


I remember watching a Yates/Dugdale video some while ago, where Yates stressed controlling/holding the weight in top position otherwise you weren't doing it right or something like that. Might want to consider that.


I wouldn't call it a deload.

Let's say the most someone could lift for 1 rep in good form is exactly 200 lb.

Assuming that in each case as many reps as possible are done, a set of perhaps 14 at 120 lb could be just as hard a workout as a set of 5 at 180 lb. Hard in a different way.

"Deload" refers to working not as hard, whether from decreased volume, leaving off reps that could be done, or both.

Not a criticism, but intended as an aid to understanding what authors mean by that, and towards perhaps being able to have a more positive feeling about using weights lighter than the most you could use.

I'm sure there would be variance of opinion in the matter, but my figures are that the most productive range for gaining size is about 60-85% 1RM.

If you are using a weight now that actually you can't get one rep on in proper form, you could certainly consider taking 60% of that weight and using that as a value to begin working up from. It would not be too light.


your form is pretty bad

one glaring weakness i can see is not maintaining a tight, slightly arched back. in my opinion maintaining a tight back (not rounded) is the most important factor in effectively recruiting the back muscles, and not solely the arms. anytime that your back rounds even slightly, the back stops working as hard and most of the weight is left for your arms to pull (like in your video)

keep that back tight, a slight arch can help a lot. i used to do pendlay rows as well (back parallel to the ground), but i found that recruiting the back and keeping the back tight felt a lot more natural when i moved my back to make a 45 degree with the ground


To keep momentum under control, you can rest your head on a bench or a table/chair, etc...Hold the contraction for a second or two, trying to really squeeze shoulder blades together.
Also, don't hyperextend your neck: look at the floor, keeping your neck aligned with the rest of your spine. As Thibaudeau said, bodybuilding is not about moving weight, but contracting muscles against a resistance; lower the weight, and row correctly.

Check these articles for tips on actually using back muscle to get the job done:




x2. mind-muscle connection is very important especially in back training


Ok from your last post I was thinking you were talking about the method of progressing from say 200 to 250 then deload to 215 or so and work back up to maybe 265. But I get what your saying now.

Yea I noticed that difference as the weights got heavier, in my earlier ones if you look at the video with 120 thats not really a problem. When I start the Pendlay rows I'll make sure to keep it arched (although he recommended rounding the shoulders at the end of the eccentric).

I will give 45 degrees a shot sometime too and see which one I can progress better on and which feels better. Thanks for the suggestion. Are there any specific video's for it? I'm sure it's pretty obvious, it's just that every video I've seen has been closer to 90 degrees.

Thats funny because I was originally doing it with my head against something so I could focus more on my back and less on the strain my lower back/hams felt supporting myself. Then I tried a set without the support and could do more weight but I'm seeing more now that its part of the reason I'm using a lot of momentum (I used to have a lot stricter form but people here in the past were telling me to use more but maybe I took it too far)

thanks for the articles, I'll read them later tonight