T Nation

Bentover row

Howdy folks.

I’ve been a fan of the bentover row for a while but just recently read Dave Draper’s description of how he does it. He uses very wide grip–almost collar to collar. I tried it yesterday and it definitely feels different.

How many of you do bentover rows and what grip do you use?

I use a grip that is shoulder or slightly wider than shoulder. I have done really wide grips before, but my back muscles are not accustomed to doing it that way. (i.e. I need to strengthen my back haha) So for now I do bentover rows with a semi-wide grip focusing on form and feeling the contraction. I would be interested to know whether it is better to use a wider grip or a more narrow grip. I assumed it was recruiting different muscles. But what do I know? Hope this helps.

LOVE the bent over row. I’ve done it with a variety of grips over the years, but go shoulder width now. I never go super wide grip on anything, anymore. The row is one of those movements that can take time and practice to get the hang of… it is well worth the effort.

I’ve been seeing a lot of people refer to the Dave Draper book, maybe I need to read it. It’s funny to think of Draper as a resource on training principles, as all I knew of him from before was a reputation for “having trained while tripping on acid”. I don’t know if that’s true or not, though, just a rumor.

Bentover rows are definitely a staple in my back workouts. I remember reading (I think it was a Dave Tate article) that it’s good to use the same width grip as you use for your bench press.

I have always incorporated barbell rows into my back workout. I alternate between normal and reverse grips but I do both about shoulder width apart. Personally, this is how I feel the contraction most in my upper back. I have never tried a super wide grip but the shoulder width grip has worked well for me. I would recommend experimenting and seeing what works best for you.

As for Draper tripping on acid…I’m not so sure about that one. I enjoy reading his website and had an opportunity to meet and actually have a good conversation with him 2 years ago at the Arnold Classic. He seems like a great guy and I respect him.

Draper’s book is good, one of the few that is actually literate and fun to read out there. If you’re a beginner you can try some of his workout ideas to good effect. For those of us who have a little more experience, the training/diet content is pretty basic, but what comes through all the way through the book is Draper’s promotion of a healthy lifestyle and commonsense approach to the iron game. It’s definitely worth a look.


As for the bent row question, the plain fact of the matter is that if you use a different grip you will of course feel the movement differently. Whether or not different muscles are actually being used, the recruitment pattern is different and the nervous stimulus is different, so the effect will be different. In short, there’s no one “best way” to do the movement (other than maybe saying “the other guy’s way” is best, 'cause it’s not yours). Different grips, different angles of the back, doing them freestanding or lying on a high bench, incline, decline, different weights, using free weights versus machines, one arm or both arms, supinated or pronated grip, varying the tempo, whether you have a standard-thickness bar or wrap a towel around it to increase its diameter, attaching bands, using a Smith Machine…


Oh shit, I’m late for work!

I always enjoyed shoulder width bentover rows, always felt the middle back muscles when i do them.

Shouldnt you be addressing what you are trying to achieve? if you have crappy rhomb’s & traps go overhand wider grip, need big meaty lats and want to throw around heavier weights go underhand and shoulder width. I am suprised at how many people do rows with overhand grip and overhand lat pull downs month in month out and wonder why their lats suck!! i think Mr Yates had the right idae on this one

Oh yeah, I got a lot out of doing reverse grips when Yates’ first book originally came out. Hand grips… unlimited possibilities to hit outer or inner back,. what I always found interesting was where people would pull the bar to their body, whether they would row into their waist, or the sternums. Most guys in my gym stand almost upright and seem to be shrugging the weights into their pelvises (lol). I got better upper back stim. from pulling towards my sternum with a wider grip, but it played hell on my lower back being bent foward so much. I usually use a supported incline bench now and slide a barbell under in.

The overhand-wide grip to sternum row is great for upper/lower trap and rhomboideus training, whereas supinated-fairly narrow -bit more uprght-to abdomen row is better for overall - and lat developement.
My favourite grip was the position that allowed for the most weight lifted with a strict body position and a 1sec pause at the top position (no cheating myself of the benefits of a strictly performed row!).
Damn great exercise! The hea