How to do a Bent Over Barbell Row

Authored by Fitbod

About Bent Over Barbell Row

Sets Logged
Popularity Rank
Back Strength
97 mSCORE 6th
Equipment Required
Primary Muscles
Secondary Muscles

Instructions: How To

Bent Over Barbell row is a compound movement that primarily targets your back, but also hits your shoulders, traps, and biceps. The use of a barbell adds more stability to this movement compared to something like dumbbells which can help you focus on exerting strength rather than stabilizing the movement. It’s a great exercise for building strength, and can be a way to start learning more advanced exercises like Olympic Lifts.

  1. Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly angled out with a loaded barbell on the ground next to your shins.
  2. Brace your core by breathing into your stomach and flexing your abdomen before hinging the hips backward and flexing your knees to allow your extended arms to reach the barbell.
  3. Grab ahold the barbell with your palms facing towards your body and then extend your hips until the barbell reaches knee height.
  4. Maintain this position as you flex your elbows past your sides at 45 degrees to your torso and touch the barbell just above the belly button.
  5. Lower the barbell back to knee height and repeat the allotted repetitions.

Performance Tips

  • Overusing Biceps

    It’s very common to over recruit biceps on this exercise. Focus on driving your elbows back rather than bringing the weight towards your chest. This will help you recruit your back, and make this exercise more effective.

  • Which bar do you use for bent over row?

    For bent-over rows, you can use a barbell, EZ curl bar, T-bar, or trap bar. A barbell allows heavy lifting and bilateral engagement, while an EZ curl bar reduces wrist strain. A T-bar offers a neutral grip and is easier on the wrists and shoulders. A trap bar provides a different angle and is easier on the lower back. Choose based on your comfort, wrist health, and training goals.

  • What angle should a barbell row be?

    Your torso should be at about a 45-degree angle to the ground. This position effectively targets the upper and middle back muscles while minimizing strain on the lower back. Adjust the angle slightly if needed for comfort and to maintain proper form.

  • What grip is best for bent over barbell row?

    A shoulder-width overhand grip (pronated) is generally best for bent-over rows. This grip effectively targets the upper and middle back muscles, including the rhomboids, traps, and rear deltoids. For variation, an underhand grip (supinated) can be used to emphasize the biceps and lower lats.

  • Is Bent Over Barbell Row better than Dumbbell Row?

    Barbell rows allow for heavier lifting and engage more stabilizing muscles, promoting overall back strength and mass. Dumbbell rows offer a greater range of motion, help correct muscle imbalances, and put less strain on the lower back. Both exercises are beneficial, and incorporating both into your routine can provide balanced development and comprehensive back strength.

  • Cable Angle

    A huge benefit to using cables is that you can have more control over the direction of your resistance. Try to find an angle that helps you maintain tension on the muscle throughout the movement.

Common Mistakes

  • Don’t Use Momentum

    Extending your lower back can help you move more weight by recruiting additional muscle groups to help you build momentum. Keep your torso stable by engaging your core, and limit your movement to the desired exercise. You may need to reduce your weight to maintain proper form.

  • Back Flat

    Keeping your back flat is essential to maintaining proper form with this exercise. It’s very common to see your back start to round as you become fatigued. Focus on keeping your core engaged, and shoulders back.

Sets & Reps: How many to do

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