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Bent Over Barbell Rows - Muscles Worked & Benefits

Exercise Type: Multi-joint
Primary Muscles Worked: Middle Back
Secondary Muscles Worked: Lats, Biceps and Shoulders

The Bent Over Barbell Row is an old-school movement which builds thickness in the upper back, while also using the lower back and abs to stabilize the body throughout the exercise. The biceps are also targeted during the exercise as they contribute to the movement. Be sure to keep your body in the correct position while doing the Bent Over Barbell Row as it can be easy to use poor form. Overall it is a positive mass builder and also develops core strength.


Bent Over Barbell Rows - Exercise Workout & Technique

  • Standing straight and gripping the barbell, palms facing down. Bend your knees slightly and position your torso above and beyond your feet by bending at the waist.
  • Keep you back straight so that it is nearly parallel to the floor, whilst maintaining the curve of the lower spine.
  • Keep your head up at all times, ensuring the barbell is hanging down in front of your body, arms extended, forming the starting position.
  • Keep your torso still as you exhale and lift the barbell upwards, your elbows moving close to the body.
  • At the top of the movement, squeeze the upper back muscles and hold for a moment.
  • At this point inhale and lower the bar back to the starting position in a slow and controlled manner.
  • Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Bent Over Barbell Rows - Tips & Safety

  • As with any rowing exercise, use relatively light weights initially to warm up your back muscles.
  • Keep the bar closer to you body to avoid excess strain on your lower back and posture.
  • Maintain a neutral back and proper posture at all times to ensure strain is minimised on your spine.
  • Alternating your grip, ie. palms facing outward or alternate grips (one palm facing in and the other facing out) can help vary the strain on your forearms and grip strength.

Bent Over Barbell Rows - Alternatives

  • You may also use dumbbells to perform the exercise.
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