T Nation

Not Feeling Bent-Rows in My Back

Well, my problems in the title. I can’t seem to feel heavier sets of bent rows (anything under 12 reps, so that means my 5 rep and 8 rep sets) in my back. At all. I bit sore from being bent over in my lower back (I’m working on practicing my bracing), but nothing where they’re “supposed” to hit.

I get most of the feeling in my biceps, forearms, and shoulders.

Anyone know my problem?

Its the same for me, I always feel cable rows tho

pull with your elbows and try different grips

I had the same problem. Pull the bar 'back to your hips/dick ah la the poliquin “arc row.” Or just switch to dumbbells and hit up the arc rows and the bent row with a pause at the top. Pausing in contraction helps you “feel” it.

On another note: are you getting stronger can you put more weight on the bar for <12 RM’s? if so fuck feeling it.

-chris

Possible issues:

Is your torso completely horizontal?

Are you pulling to your gut or to the middle of your sternum?

Are you using the same grip width as bench press?

Are your scapula retracted?

Are you focusing entirely on traps and rear delts, or are the lats coming into play?

Are you leading the movement with your upper back and elbows or with your arms?

[quote]ElbowStrike wrote:
Possible issues:

Is your torso completely horizontal?

Are you pulling to your gut or to the middle of your sternum?

Are you using the same grip width as bench press?

Are your scapula retracted?

Are you focusing entirely on traps and rear delts, or are the lats coming into play?

Are you leading the movement with your upper back and elbows or with your arms?[/quote]

Also using a false grip can help take the arms out of it. No thumbs.
Phill

My big thing on anything back related is to ‘pretend’ you have no hands or forearms. Pretend you have hooks hanging from your elbows. Takes a little time to get down, but it worked well for me. THE only good tip I ever got out of Flex magazine, lol.

Also, try not to go too heavy. On bent over rows I was an ass originally, as I had a terribly weak back and horrendous posture. Coupled with my shoulder injury, I was fucked. I was 3/4’s of the way upright doing them.

Stay bent over, and make sure the bar comes all the way down to the floor. If the plates don’t touch, don’t count the rep. Then utilize the hook gimmick, and start the movement by fully retracting the shoulder blades. At the midrange, pause for a 1 second count. You should be pretending like someone is placing an ice cube on your upper back right there.

I had to start with really light weight (read 45 lbs) and high reps to get this down, and went up weight and down reps every 2 to 3 weeks after, but my scapular retractors are strong now, and I can feel all my back exercises very well.

Didn’t mean to run on, but back exercises have ALWAYS been my worst, and I’m now at the point where they’re some of my strongest exercises/contractions. Give this stuff a try and see how it goes for you.

Kubo

jus a side thought…some people feel their back more using the normal over hand grip (hands over bar) while some feel it more in the back using the underhand grip (hands under bar) does this have anything to do with height? Dorian yates prefered the underhand grip for most of his lat exercise. was it jus preference or did it have something to do with his height?

got the same problem as well, but felt rows more using underhand grip

How many total sets do you do?

This might be hearsay, but using straps for my heavy sets of rows lets me really focus on pulling through my elbows and working the back. As long as you still pull and do lots of grip work so it’s not a big deal.

I agree with this. I usually use straps for my bent rows. With that being said I still prefer T-Bar rows as I feel that really works my back the best, though I do utilize both…

Whatever you do, don’t give up until you’re doing them right and they’re working for you. My shoulders have never been better since matching my bench presses and bent rows pound-for-pound, rep-for-rep.

The advice so far is all very good. I had a similar problem when i was introduced to bent over rows. What helped me was simply grabbing the bar, performing the movement, and hold a contraction at the top part of the movement, and hold it there until you feel every muscle in your back fully contracted (focus on getting EVERY muscle, particularly the lats and rhomboids).

Don’t think of your back as an anchor, think of it as an extension of your arm, if you want to work it, you must move it (not out of form, what I mean hear is through a small ROM in the contraction). Do that until you “feel” your muscles contract, and continue to do so while increasing weight. use whatever set/rep scheme your using. You won’t do as much weight, but it will be worth it.

From what you’ve said it sounds like you have strong arms and shoulders and a weak back, because unconsciously you are using your arms and shoulders to move the weight. Good luck.

P.S. try other rowing movements as well, this is where the strength comes.

Another thing that really helped was finishing off EVERY workout (no matter what body part I was training) with a several sets of perfect-form, bent, rear-delt flyes with light weight for 6 reps.

Do it as a neuromuscular coordination exercise.

No burn. Just form.

– ElbowStrike

I had the same thing as you mate, i had strong biceps and couldn’t feel the back. I’d recommend you lower the weight til it’s very manageable, and use an underarm grip, keeping shoulderblades tight (arms not hanging), and contract hard, in a kind of c-shape, with elbows tight to your sides, and moving them up towards your traps in a kind of horizontal shrug.

Also, like kubo and Thib have said, think of arms as hooks.

Eric Cressey also said to use a wide grip, which works the external rotators

Also, i second elbowstrike. I started doing that and felt it in my shoulderblades. I feel that one-arm, exxaggerated ROM Pos delt flyes worked best (twisting and flying to beyong parallel to the floor, get me?)

We’re all feeling our way in this man. Good luck, get back at me about what works