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Bent-Over Barbell Row Form

Where should I be lifting the bar to? I have read several different opinions, both on here and other sites and I am none-the-wiser. Should it be to my sternum or to my belly button (I lift to my sternum)?

Also, I am now struggling to lift the bar completely to my body without moving my back whilst being as parallel as I can without falling over. My other lifts are all continuing to advance though so what do I do? Let this one lag? Start to not try and be as parallel so it is slightly easier so I can keep advancing for the foreseeable future?

Any advice or suggestions would be much appreciated

I would not really read too much into where you are pulling the bar into exactly (sternum or belly). Just be consistent with whatever way you choose to do it. I like to do them where my torso is almost parallel to the floor and I pull the bar to the bottom of my rib cage, maybe half way between my nipples and belly button. However, not everyone can do this and it may not be the most advantageous for you or the next guy.

Take some video of yourself and see what it looks like. A lot of folks lack solid posterior strength and the barbell row, when done correctly, really works the hamstrings and low back in order to keep a good position. So, if in the event you are still working to develop these muscles, then the BB row can obviously be a challenging exercise to master. I would say keep working it and just try to exercise excellent form while keeping a solid position.

Try not to force weight on the bar with the ambition to progress, either you can do good solid reps with the weight, or you can’t. It is definitely better to put a lighter weight on the bar with rows and really focus on scapular retraction and really pulling with your back. Just keep training it. Over time, like your other lifts, you will develop better motor skills and strength with the exercise.

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Wow great reply. Thank you!

It is not the ambition to progress, per se, that is fueling my want to put more weight on the bar but rather the fact I don’t want huge imbalances between what I bench and what I row. My lower back and hamstrings have no problems with the row. I just don’t think I am strong enough in the principle muscles for the movement to lift the bar without moving my body a bit to get some momentum.

I was thinking, as a solution, that I could try widening my hand grip which is what people suggest for this parallel row AND/OR I could put my backside against the wall so I don’t move as much but then this will mean losing some of the secondary benefits in the stabiliing muscles.

Any thoughts?

Is the goal to be able to row what you can bench? If your primary care is that the horizontal pulling pattern is similar in strength to the horizontal pushing pattern, I would highly recommend head supported barbell rows. It would take a really long time to match bench press numbers, but I can’t imagine your back not getting dramatically stronger.

Thanks for the reply. No it isn’t, I just don’t want huge imbalances either.

Are those real?!? I have just looked them up and the only place I can see them on are Youtube. They’re not on exrx nor bodybuilding.com. What is the advantage of doing them?

No, they’re fake. I do them anyway though…

Kidding aside, it solidifies a consistent torso angle and is an easy way to eliminate body english.

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I like these for Kelso Shrugs especially. Easy way to keep things consistent.