T Nation

Heavy Bent Over Rows Impossible with Stationary Hips?

I was doing some bent over barbell rows today and I came to the realization that the way I do them makes it impossible to do them heavy without moving my hips through the movement.

Basically, if the torso is near parallel with the ground and the hands aren’t super wide, the elbows have to move horizontally towards the hips as the bar is lifted. Assuming the forearms act mostly as hooks to hang the weight from the elbows, this means that the barbell moves towards the hips (horizontally). If the hips, knees, and torso angle are locked in place, this means that you will land yourself on your butt if the bar is sufficiently heavy compared to your body weight (say at least equal to body weight).

Am I missing something? Is the proper answer to just move your hips throughout the movement? Or maybe go super wide grip so that the elbows go out instead of back as you row? Thoughts?

Define heavy

I don’t understand what you are describing (I’m more of a visual person) but generally if you need to move then move, just don’t let it get more exaggerated as the weight gets heavier. One of the best deadlifters in the world basically low pulls his rows.

1 Like

Well, I begin to notice difficulty keeping my hip angle set if I’m rowing more than around 155 on a barbell. But this number varies a little depending on my torso angle. If I set my torso angle more upright around 45 degrees, I can row as heavy as 225 without moving my hips much. If I’m trying to row with a back parallel to the ground, I start to get pulled out of position as light as 135 nowadays as my body weight is down around 185.


These lines represent a person doing a bent over row as viewed from the side. The circle is the barbell viewed from the side and the lines are the legs, torso, and arms. The first sketch is the bottom position and the second sketch is a position with the barbell lifted and the arms bent.

Relative to the position of the feet, the barbell has moved towards the left. The center of gravity has traveled backwards relative to the lifter. Assuming the lifter was balanced over his feet at the start of the lift, he is now going to fall over backwards onto his butt unless he compensates.

I’m aware that a lot of successful lifters row with a lot of body English and hip drive. Essentially, I’m asking if there are any successful lifters that do bent over barbell rows heavy without moving their hips and if so how they manage it.

I see. I’ve never seen this turn into an issue in practice. You will instinctively shift your weight forward or change your centre of gravity (by bringing hips forward and shoulders up). Keep a tight eye on form if you want to remain parrallel

Have a look at this.

Wait, you don’t have knees?