The Bent Over Barbell Row

It cannot be stated enough, that when in the gym working out, you are best off by making the most efficient use of your time with compound movements that work multiple muscle groups at the same time rather than trying to work single muscles for hours on end. The thing that happens with newbies to weight training who want to do the easy, single muscle lifts, they will develop muscle and strength imbalances. These imbalances can cause you injury and also does not make for a fit and trim looking body. The best way for one who is new to get the best looking body that is also strong, is to concentrate on doing compound lifts that work more than one muscle group with a single lift. Additionally, for every pushing or pressing lift you perform, you also want to do a corresponding pulling exercise to be sure and work those mirror muscles. The Bent Over Barbell Row is the perfect, complimentary lift for the bench press as it targets the muscles on the opposite side of your body.The bent-over row (and any back exercises, for that matter) are important to incorporate into your strength routine to maintain the balance of strength between the back and front of your body. Strength balance obtained from a proper push-pull program is vital to healthy skeletal function, posture and joint health – and can even serve to improve aesthetics to a greater degree in the long run from a greater quantity of large muscle group improvement throughout the body. Cooperative muscle groups including those serving agonist/antagonist roles along with those that function for stability need healthy strength relationships

Muscles worked by the Bent Over Barbell Row.

As you can see in the above picture, Bent Over Barbell Rows are primarily a back exercise. However, they recruit the rest of your body as well-which is what makes them a must-have for any strength-training routine.The Bent Over Barbell Row also targets your biceps, as well as muscles in your shoulders and forearms, plus your legs and core. The abdominal and lower-back muscles contract to stabilize while performing this excellent lift. Strengthening these muscles improves your posture and spinal stability, thereby, reducing the risk of lower-back injuries.

How to execute the Bent Over Barbell Row

Stand with your mid-foot under the bar (medium stance)

Bend over and grab the bar (palms down, medium-grip)

Unlock your knees while keeping your hips high

Lift your chest and straighten your back

Pull the bar against your lower chest

Return the bar to the floor. Breathe. Straighten your back, take a big breath, hold it. Then perform your next rep.
Bent Over Barbell Rows are easy to cheat. You can lift heavier weights by using your hips. But your upper-back should do most of the work. If your torso rises too far above horizontal, the weight is too heavy. Lower it to work your upper-back mostly, not your hips.


Exercises like the Bent Over Barbell Row should be thought of more as an exercise rather than as a lift. The Bent Over Barbell Row is an exercise that is used to strengthen a muscle group(s) that aids in the performance of other LIFTS, namely the deadlift, but also the bench and squat to a degree. In order for an assistance exercise of this nature to be  most effective, you need to be able to feel the muscle group working. You  should do 4 or 5 sets of 5 to 10 reps of Bent Over Barbell Rows in your workout.  Note: If you do not feel a massive pump in your upper and mid-back when you are doing this exercise, you should re-evaluate how you are executing the exercise as you are doing things wrong.


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