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How-to: Bent over Barbell Rows?


I've always done them with my back almost parallel to the ground. I know this puts a lot of stress on the lower back and hamstrings but I was under the impression this is a more effective motion than doing rows more upright. Am I wrong or what?


I've always done them from more a linebacker stance, maybe bent just a little deeper.


I think if you have the strength in your lower back, bend over until you are parallel to the floor. That's how I do them. This is decent.


I have a problem with that demo, Slim. They should be using a loaded barbell. The body reacts differently under load.

I have the same issues with people who teach the barbell back squat by using a broomstick.


I think they hit different parts of the back. Also, I think it's easier to cheat (with leg drive and momentum) when you aren't all the way parallel. I'm going to switch back to Pendlay rows for a while to get myself to reduce momentum and hit my back a bit harder.


I think as long as you keep a straight back you'll be ok..I think it's actually a very difficult exercise to do correctly especially when you're lifting at your limit.

I've used it then moved back to dumbells and now i'm back at it again. I found doing a chest supported row helpful to "feel" the muscles in my back working more and hence I could tell if I was hitting similar muscles when using the bar.

Hope that's of some use.


That's how I prefer to do them.


agreed, but the "groove" was right, correct?


Knees slightly bent, back arched, eyes facing forward. Then I pull the bar to my belly button.


See the 5 minute mark to find out how to do Bent Over Barbell Rows the RIGHT way.

Results, people. Results are what dictate the best form.


If I bend over that much it winds up turning into a Pendlay Row (like bulldogtor mentioned), which is a good exercise too, but doesn't tend to allow for as much weight to be used, and removes the tension from the muscles between each rep.

Doing them at a more upright angle allows for more weight to be used (as momentum is easier to generate), and also keeps the muscles under tension through the duration of the set.

Here's Big Ron doing some BB rows (skip forward to about 3:45 for the rows):

Neither is necessarily better in all cases, they both have their uses and benefits.


Damn it FC! I just posted that video in my post (as yours hadn't come up yet). Now my post just seems redundant. :wink:


Inspirational. But, damn, I'm a weakling.


Yeah, at the 6.50 mark he's rowing 9 plates, when I do around 5.5.

Then again I look nothing like him - yet.


thanks for the input


Those vids are awesome.


Yeah, Ronnie is the man.

I prefer to do them Rippetoe style, the way it is shown in Starting Strength. Back almost parallel to the ground and deloaded after every rep. I pull it to where my abs and sternum meet because that is the widest part of the lats.


pull with the forearms 90 degrees to the floor. Where the bar hits is dependent on your hand spacing and the length of you upper arm and the angle of your torso.