T Nation

DB Row Form, 10x125

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7E3fq4dFnU What do you guys think about form here? I’ve made a lot of progress with DB Rows and I definitely think it has helped a lot but I’ve also gone from no straps to using straps on all sets as well as using a more momentum. I can see for myself how form is obviously but figured I’d get some input as well and maybe on at what point reps get “too bad”.

For comparison this was about 6 months ago

The first video is after 4 sets of 5, that’s the 5th set and going to 10. The 2nd video from 6 months ago was just testing a 5RM so obviously I’ve gained some good strength there, but it looks like I was using less momentum and also I was over a bench.

I don’t really see a problem with the form in the first video as long as you feel your back doing the work. The only issue I have is you probably were good for 5 or more reps after you stopped.

There will always be the debate of strict form vs function. Obviously your doing a good lawnmower start db row in the top video but it isnt that strict of form. Your full body moves to start the lift. Watch your legs and knees, they go from bent to straight which tells you that you are using them to spring the weight at the start. Your hips move up as well then it goes up the back to the arm which finishes the rep. In a sense you are slinging that weight up there.

Im not saying what you are doing is bad, just the form isnt that strict. If your goal is to lawnmow DB pull heavy as hell weights, then your accomplishing it. However you may want to try a very strict form one day and you will be shocked at how much weight you have to drop to be able to perform 10-12 reps.

Ive always been a fan of lesser form more weight on BB rows and more strict form on the DB rows but thats just me.

Strict form if you want to give it a try but im sure you already know:

Standard DB Row Position
Grip weight, get body into position, flex back as if you were about to start the row.
Now pull with your back, feel the start of the pull originate from your back and then the arm follows. Elbow should break plane of back or weight hits in between your waist and ribs. Stop. let it back down, 1 rep. No other parts of your body need to be moving during this. It is a DB Row. 1 second up 2 seconds down.

good luck :slight_smile:

[quote]Scott M wrote:
I don’t really see a problem with the form in the first video as long as you feel your back doing the work. The only issue I have is you probably were good for 5 or more reps after you stopped. [/quote]

Eh, you think? I mean sure I could have hoisted it up but honestly I only counted the first 5-6 as “real” reps. After that I could feel how much it was really just my body jerking the weight up and my back was barely pulling the weight up.

[quote]mokaloka99 wrote:
There will always be the debate of strict form vs function. Obviously your doing a good lawnmower start db row in the top video but it isnt that strict of form. Your full body moves to start the lift. Watch your legs and knees, they go from bent to straight which tells you that you are using them to spring the weight at the start. Your hips move up as well then it goes up the back to the arm which finishes the rep. In a sense you are slinging that weight up there.
[/quote]
Yea I agree with that. The one thing I can say that I think is good with the looser form is that, even though the concentric probably isn’t any better off, the eccentric is still decently controlled so there’s increased load on that part of the movement

I warmed up with 75 before my first set with no momentum, that probably would have been hard for 10-12.

that’s funny, I like the opposite. I feel like I can still do DB rows effectively with loose form, but I really don’t like how I do BB rows when the weight is too heavy, I don’t feel it in my back much.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXbLbubTF3M

that looks nowhere close to 125lbs

[quote]jinsanity wrote:
that looks nowhere close to 125lbs[/quote]

This is what I was thinking.

Anyway, your form seems fine, but like some have said you are using a little body english. That isn’t really a big deal IMO. I have always done DB rows this way especially because I like to get a good stretch at the bottom.

Agreed. My form may get a little loose on the heavy sets, but I also try to use the adage from Dorian, if you can’t pause at the top, you aren’t lifting the weight. While I may not pause for a complete second at the top with 120 in my hand, I do have a slight pause.

What’s with letting the DB come to a complete hang? I usually stop before bottom, my elbow still slightly bent so as not to take the stress of the weight off my muscles.

[quote]LankyMofo wrote:
What’s with letting the DB come to a complete hang? I usually stop before bottom, my elbow still slightly bent so as not to take the stress of the weight off my muscles.

[/quote]

fuck db rows !!

is that actually 125 lbs?

if it is im surprized you don’t look bigger, my pr is like 110x7 or something

maybe i should stop doing them off of a bench

[quote]LankyMofo wrote:
What’s with letting the DB come to a complete hang? I usually stop before bottom, my elbow still slightly bent so as not to take the stress of the weight off my muscles.

[/quote]

I don’t do them the way he does, but I do let my arm go completely straight.

When I get to the bottom I let my body drift a little and get a really good stretch, and then row it up. Basically I just copy Matt Kroc as much as I can, minus half of the weight and the pro sized back.

[quote]GrindOverMatter wrote:
is that actually 125 lbs?

if it is im surprized you don’t look bigger, my pr is like 110x7 or something

maybe i should stop doing them off of a bench[/quote]

Thanks? Is that how you do them or do you have stricter form? I used to do them on a bench and when I switched over to on a rack or something of equal height it felt about the same difficulty, but I feel like the rack might give more leeway for looser form. and how much do you weigh?

To all: Yes it’s 125. It’s a 5lb DB bar, a 25, a 20, a 10 and a 5 on each side.

Lanky: I’ve never heard of anyone stopping short on rows. Generally I hear about “getting a good stretch”

Personally I think you’re using too much leg drive in the first video. You’re really getting the momentum going with your legs, then just smacking your torso into the dumbbell, and letting it go down… hence why some here are confused as to why the OP looks very small yet is rowing a 125lb barbell.

No it isn’t atrocious form or anything, but it’s something that isn’t going to give you the results you want long term. I have never seen someone row a 170+lb dumbbell with form like this, I only ever see small guys on youtube doing it. My advice would be to revisit a stricter style of rowing, and control your upper body during the movement. The last 3 inches of the row should not be your chest dipping down to hit the dumbbell. Squeeze it up, contract, then let it down under control.

Even using less weight for now you should see better results (assuming diet is good) by employing more deliberate reps, rather than just moving the weight from point A to point B.

Thanks for the input, so do you think I should work on getting my form back to how it was in the 2nd video or is that even too much momentum? My back has definitely improved, but maybe it could have improved more.

It seems like Kroc has much less range of motion, but I guess it’s more of his back than his legs though?

Regarding anyone rowing 170+ like that…this isn’t a knock at SteelyD, just what I could find, but what is this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNBXc8-fIK8&feature=player_embedded#! seems like way less range of motion and the range of motion that is there is basically a bounce (skip to 2:30)

[quote]David1991 wrote:

[quote]GrindOverMatter wrote:
is that actually 125 lbs?

if it is im surprized you don’t look bigger, my pr is like 110x7 or something

maybe i should stop doing them off of a bench[/quote]

Thanks? Is that how you do them or do you have stricter form? I used to do them on a bench and when I switched over to on a rack or something of equal height it felt about the same difficulty, but I feel like the rack might give more leeway for looser form. and how much do you weigh?

To all: Yes it’s 125. It’s a 5lb DB bar, a 25, a 20, a 10 and a 5 on each side.

Lanky: I’ve never heard of anyone stopping short on rows. Generally I hear about “getting a good stretch”[/quote]

i weigh about 210 lbs right now, 6 feet, maybe 16 or 17 percent bodyfat…i dunno im pretty bulked at the moment, i havent been working on dumbell rows very hard right now, honestly the looser form caused me to strain a muscle in my hip (lol, i know) so i’ve been only using 100 lbs and focussing on lifting slowy and keeping the tension on my back. the handles on the dbs at my current gym are also very hard to hold on to.

[quote]David1991 wrote:

Regarding anyone rowing 170+ like that…this isn’t a knock at SteelyD, just what I could find, but what is this seems like way less range of motion and the range of motion that is there is basically a bounce (skip to 2:30)[/quote]

Just saw this. Handsome guy in the vid.

So, the deal is, at least for me, is that at that point - the top set - I’ve done a fuckton of work already. The ROM is going to go down considerably because you don’t just casually pull that weight up and lightly set it down.

I don’t know what you mean by ‘bounce’. There is constant tension on my lat during these. There’s some hitching there, and whether it looks like it or not, I’m getting the contraction at the top and resisting it coming down, which is the point.

My lats SCREAM when I overload them like that with heavy DB rows. Also note that I’m supporting myself at a higher angle as well, which is going to change the ROM and the way I hit my back. I change that up depending on how my lower back feels and what I did previously.

Form doesn’t have to be pretty on these. Remember: Means to an end.

Most of my back growth is from DB rows and more recently chest supported TBars. I don’t do BB rows.

BTW Steely - this was the video I was referring to last night.

[quote]David1991 wrote:
Thanks for the input, so do you think I should work on getting my form back to how it was in the 2nd video or is that even too much momentum? My back has definitely improved, but maybe it could have improved more.

It seems like Kroc has much less range of motion, but I guess it’s more of his back than his legs though?
[/quote]

The second video you posted looked a lot better to me. Yes, progress is all about overload, but if what you’ve done to achieve a greater weight is simply start using straps and increasing your leg drive, that isn’t going to make your back grow. Obviously you don’t need to be doing anything super textbook strict, but you need to make sure you’re keeping the focus on the actual back musculature.

The way kroc does these rows, I honestly consider to be perfect DB row form:

Full stretch at the bottom, full contraction at the top, smooth deliberate reps.

Which is why I’m always confused when I see Matt Kroc pulling off 25 nearly flawless reps with an extremely heavy weight, and then a hundred youtube videos of guys doing really shitty form and calling it “kroc rows!” for some reason and pretending it’s actually legit.

Newsflash: the only difference between a Kroc row, and a dumbbell row, is if MATT KROC IS DOING THEM. I don’t know where people got the idea that Kroc row = excuse to use awful form.

Nothing should move except your arm and shoulder blade. You are using way too much knee bend and trunk rotation. Also, at the top, you are cheating by lowering your body into the weight rather than slamming it into your chest or armpit with your pulling muscles(mainly the biceps, lats, and rhomboids.) It should look more like an upside down bench press, meaning nothing moves except for the working muscles. Obviously, there will be a little wobbling going on, but definitely no knee bend or bend in the non-working arm.