Barbell Row - Phase 2 - Day 2 - Strength. For the working set of this exercise, aim for 8-10 reps. The Barbell Row is a great exercise for the back, but it's essential to use good posture throughout this exercise as you can strain your back and neck if you're not careful. Avoid using a weight that's too heavy as this will round out your back, potentially causing injury. At the peak of the movement, make sure that you contract the shoulder blades together to activate the mid back muscles. Remember to pull the belly button to the spine throughout and pull the shoulder blades together for a full contaction. Note your weight and increase your weight gradually week to week. Nick Jones - World Bodybuilding Champion & Zoran Lekic - Bodybuilder.