barbell rows

Barbell Row Guide: How to Master the Barbell Rows

How To Do Barbell Rows? There are plenty of people who do not give importance to their back much in the earlier days of their lives until the day it lets down and they have to spend days laying idle on the wooden floor. This is also the case with gym-goers who tend to focus more on glamorous muscles and do not avail the opportunity to work on their back. You might know that our shoulders internally rotate which can result in tight pecs and a stiff neck. This often leads to a weakness in the lower back. It first causes pain and discomfort and then lead to serious injury. This might be due to the lack of knowledge along with the focus that people don’t know how to work out for a strong back. You may have heard of barbell rows for a strong back. Haven’t you? Here is the guide on how to do barbell rows properly to get started with your dream in a knowledgeable way.

Performing Barbell Rows

Barbell rows are basically needed to work the antagonist muscles of the bench press. If you cannot do it properly then you may get a considerable amount of imbalances including protracted shoulders, rotator cuff tendonitis, overdeveloped anterior deltoids. Internal humeral rotation and the list goes on and on.

Almost every exercise in the gym including overhead press, and pull-ups do not involve particular work to scapulae retractors. When protractors become tighter than the retractors, protraction occurs. It can be looked at as an imbalance between the internal and external rotators of the shoulder. You must keep in mind that internal rotators are most of the time stronger than external rotators and depending on the severity, an imbalance develops. In short, barbell rows give more specific work to the external rotators.

Performing Barbell Rows

So, instead of talking about the same thing again and again let’s see how to do barbell rows.

  • First of all, stand with your mid-foot under the bar (medium stance)
  • Start bending over and grab the bar
  • Try to keep your hips high while unlocking your knees
  • Lift your chest and keep your back straight
  • Pull the bar against your lower chest
  • After this, place the bar back on the floor and calm yourself. Keep your back in the straight position and take a long breath, hold it and perform your next rep.

Here are some important guidelines to do barbell rows perfectly 


Keep body parallel to the floor:

The more elevation you show more you take the upper back out of the lift. With this lower back, the erector spinae, hamstrings, and glutes all will contract isometrically. Do not change the natural position of the movement.


Wide grip:

The wider the grip you have the more you will be able to focus on the development of the body’s primary hyper-extender which needs to work as their function is important in shoulder health


Performing with barbells:

In general, dumbbells allow more flexibility with the lift but take out a lot of the other muscles like the lower back. In this regard, the barbell is better since it’s easier to apply weight.


Keep frequency same:

Row with the same frequency as your bench press.


Think elbows:

When you are all ready for the move with the bar in your hands and leaning forward, think about pulling back your elbows not pulling up the bar. It will help to keep everything tight and activate your lats.



If you cannot pause at the top of each rep then probably you have picked a weight that is too heavy. Touch the bar to your sternum, stop there and squeeze shoulder blades together. It helps to build a better posture that way.


Avoid these errors when performing barbell rows

  • Always keep your body in a proper position. Remember to keep your knees bent and do not lift from your lower back
  • You must solely use muscle power and do not yank the weight making the lift a free-flowing movement
  • In order to do justice to the exercise being performed, you must not bring your body down to meet the weight because that’s cheating. Try to bring the bar up to meet you instead of the opposite way around.

Muscles Worked

One of the best things about barbell rows is that it works those muscles in your body which you don’t see. Most people love to work out with chest, arms, and abs because when you stand in front of a mirror you see these muscles first. Due to this people’s focus has changed to arms, abs, and chest than to their back and legs. It’s something that may lead to an imbalanced and funny-looking physique if ignored for a long time. Train barbell rows hard so you look great not from the front but also when you turn around. You work these muscles with barbell rows:

Upper back:  You must pull your shoulder blades back together at the top to get the bar to your chest. It is effective for your broadest V-shaped back muscle. It also works for shoulders, traps, and all the small muscles of your upper back.

Lower back: While doing barbell row, ensure your lower spine stays in a neutral position to avoid any disc injuries. Resisting the gravity (which tries to bend your back with the bar) strengthens the muscles along your spine and protects against injuries.

Abs: When you barbell row, the ab muscles support your lower back while keeping your spine neutral. It ultimately strengthens the “six-pack” muscles that run over your belly.

Hips: Barbell rows strengthen your hip muscles by using static and dynamic contractions with or without movement

Arms: Your forearm muscles get involved in holding the bar your hands and your biceps work to bend your elbow and lift the weight. Your triceps are involved in bringing your upper arm behind the torso.

Barbell rows are more than just a lat exercise. You don’t really need to smash your back from every angle like a bodybuilder which literally takes so much effort and time. Additionally, barbell rows exercise is much more effective in building strength and muscle mass. You can train your whole back with heavier weights gradually.


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