Brief Overview

The bent-over row is an extremely effective exercise at developing back strength as well as strength through the upper arms and forearms, and is ranked in the top 5 strength building exercises. The bent-over row develops all the upper back muscles and makes use of the lower back muscles to maintain stability throughout the movement. 

The exercise is classified as a compound movement, as it makes use of many muscles and multiple muscle groups. Incorporate this exercise in your full-body or back workout days to give the best strength and muscle gains in your back and arms. 

If you are looking for help on exactly how to design a workout routine, I offer an article explaining step by step how to design an effective workout routine, as well as description of various other exercises. 

Bent-Over Row

Getting Set Up

Foot Position

The foot position for the bent-over row is very similar to that of the deadlift. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, with feet pointing directly forward or slightly pointed outwards. Stand with a slight bend in the knees, as pictured above, and bend at the hips to a 45 degree angle. 

Gripping the Bar

When grasping the bar, place your hands in a position that is slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Once you become better at the exercise you can experiment with different hand positions to isolate different muscles. 

The gip used to grip the bar in weightlifting is called the hook grip. This will insure that the weight lifter can control the barbell and will give minimal chance of dropping the bar. 


The Lift

From the starting position lift the bar off the ground a couple of inches to the point where your arms are fully extended down and your back is at a 45 degree angle relative to your hips. This is the starting position for the exercise.

Starting Position

From the starting position, keep your back slightly arched and your eyes looking forward while you row the bar directly upwards towards the bottom of your chest to a point where the bar is about one inch away from your ribs. This position is the end of the force producing portion of the movement and you can begin to slowly lower the bar back to the starting position. This cycle is one repetition.

Perform the movement for the desired number of repetitions ensuring to keep up proper form throughout the set. Return the bar to the floor when you have completed the exercise. 

Force Producing Phase

Learning The Bent-Over Row

The bent-over row can take some time to get used to but it is important to practice good form before tying to increase the amount of weight used to prevent injury. The bent-over row requires only a barbell and weights, meaning that it can be easy done at your house if you prefer working out at home. Here is a link to a great deal on a barbell, and weights. And as always, its great to wear a protective belt while doing a movement like the bent-over row, this will help support the lumbar spine and protect yourself from spinal injuries.