Exercise Technique- Bent Over Row

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Rows are a great exercise for developing the upper back muscles.

Most people would benefit from performing more rows. Pressing, like bench and shoulder, get all of the attention in most settings.

For those with beat up shoulders, there is usually an imbalance from pressing versus pulling.

Pulling might not work on the muscles on the front of the body but creating a beast back can help with injury prevention and look good.

Rows can be done with dumbbells, cables, bands, and bars.

Technique can be butchered on any exercise, but bent over rows take a real beating.

There is a requirement to keep the spine neutral, hinge the hips, and pull the weight into the body all at the same time. It takes a lot of stability in a good posture.

Follow this guide and video to dominate the Barbell Bent Over Row.


-Hold the bar with the hands at shoulder width

-Use a pronated (overhand) grip

-Hinge the hips back with a slight bend in the knee

– Brace the core to hold the static “tabletop” posture.

bent row


When performing the row only one body part should be moving: the arms. The legs should not be thrusting into the lift, the back should not be moving to compensate, and the head should stay in a straight line.

The core should be tight to avoid rounding of the back and ensure adequate stability for effectiveness. 

Pull the bar into the abdomen with the muscles of the back, not just the arms. The rhomboids are in-between the shoulder blades, not in the bicep. Use the back muscles.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

1.      Using the legs, traps, any other muscle groups as compensation. Do not cheat the movement. Too often everyone tries to bent row 135 pounds when 95 would do the job.

2.      Rounded shoulders. The rhomboids cannot work effectively unless there is extension through the thoracic spine. When the shoulders are slouched the exercise is a loss. Not to mention how bad your back will hurt after.

3.      Not hinging the hips. This will cause the lower back to round. Lower back flexion is a big time risk for injury. By default the posture will also cause the shoulders to round and therefore not activating the proper muscle groups.

Give this exercise a try in order to develop some back muscles. It’s not always about what you can see in the mirror.

Over time, the rhomboids are a muscle groups that gets weaker. Weak rhomboids results in a ton of shoulder issues. Do not let a weak back put you on the shelf.