Bent Over Row Video Guide

Exercise Profile

  • Strength
  • Barbell
  • Compound
  • Pull (Bilateral)
  • Beginner
  • Abs, Biceps, Lats, Lower Back, Shoulders
Upper Back Exercises Diagram Target Muscle Group

Exercise Instructions

  1. Assume a standing position while holding the bar using a double overhand grip.
  2. Hinge forward until your torso is roughly parallel with the floor (or slightly above) and then begin the movement by driving the elbows behind the body while retracting the shoulder blades.
  3. Pull the bar towards your belly button until it touches your body and then slowly lower the bar back to the starting position under control.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Exercise Tips

  1. Experiment with head position and see which option (looking forward vs. packing the neck) works better for you.
  2. Keep some tone through your abdominals as you pull the bar into your body to ensure you don’t arch excessively through your spine.
  3. Don’t allow momentum to dictate the movement, control the bar throughout the entirety of each rep.
  4. Don’t allow the head to jut forward as you pull.
  5. Similarly, ensure the shoulder blade moves on the rib cage. Don’t lock the shoulder blade down and just move through the glenohumeral joint.

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41 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Mon, 06/19/2017 - 04:17
Benjamin

Hello again everyone,

Do we need to keep our shoulder blades retracted during the WHOLE exercise after initiating the movement or do we relax them each time we start another repetition?

Thank you.

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Posted Mon, 06/19/2017 - 09:21
JoshEngland

Hi Benjamin,

Begin each rep by retracting the shoulder blades.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 01/11/2017 - 10:43
Simon

This excerise seems terrible for the lower back.

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Posted Fri, 02/17/2017 - 11:58
Chris

Like so many strength exercises, it's really not - when done properly! This is why it's important to keep your back straight the entire time - if you allow it to bend either forward or backwards, it could lead to over-strain or injury. But much like dead-lifts, a properly performed bent-over row will do a lot to strengthen your spinal muscles!

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Posted Fri, 01/01/2016 - 21:53
Samanthag

If i dont have a barbell for a lot of the exercises like the bent over row can i use 2 dumbells?

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Posted Tue, 08/23/2016 - 15:57
Mitch

For sure! simular idea with this exercise. Google bent over dumbell row, lots of videos and articals on it.

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Posted Sun, 11/22/2015 - 19:04
jas

How much of a bend in your back affect the exercises? whats ideal

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Posted Mon, 04/03/2017 - 13:30
Somebody

Bend forward until there is just enough room for the bar to clear your knees for a full-range workout. You should have a slight bend at the knees, and your butt should be sticking out a bit like you're about to sit down, and keep the back as straight up on the bend angle as possible (Don't arch the back down). Don't use too much weight to where your form gets bad or if you can't hold it at the top briefly. I usually do a grip with my palms facing away, it's an awesome upper back and tricept workout!

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Posted Thu, 07/30/2015 - 03:32
evan

very good

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Posted Mon, 07/27/2015 - 21:46
Todd

Can I use t-bar instead?

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Posted Tue, 07/28/2015 - 10:26
MikeWines

Todd,
The T-bar is a solid choice as well but just keep in mind that different exercises aren't exactly the same, so telling someone they could switch the mechanism of movement entirely would be false on my part.

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Posted Tue, 02/10/2015 - 10:57
Stig Johnny Hansen

when i'm doing this exercise, when i pul the bar up, should i keep my elbows pointing out of/from my body or having them close to my body when i pul it up?

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Posted Thu, 11/20/2014 - 15:53
Mime

Do not flare out your elbows. Doing so puts emphasis on the rear delts.

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Posted Sat, 11/08/2014 - 04:58
Habibullah

Hi Steve!

Is there any alternative for bent over row?

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Posted Mon, 02/20/2017 - 10:57
stig johnny hansen

One Arm Dumbell Row

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Posted Mon, 07/07/2014 - 10:07
rick

i was wondering is there any other alternative exercise i can do instead of bent over barbell ?

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Posted Wed, 07/02/2014 - 05:44
Mads

Everyone needs to stop rating exercises. No exercises are bad, but it is your form that is.

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Posted Wed, 06/25/2014 - 00:40
Zoe McMurtrie

This guy is pulling the bar towards his stomach. Is this correct?

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Posted Tue, 10/22/2013 - 17:35
Richard

No free weight barbells at my gym sadly, what is a good replacement I could do with dumbbells possibly?

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Posted Tue, 10/22/2013 - 17:35
Richard

No free weight barbells at my gym sadly, what is a good replacement I could do with dumbbells possibly?

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Posted Thu, 08/15/2013 - 05:01
Adam

Its better to stand with bar, then bend over (back straight) untill just above knee then pull bar up along thighs (not resting on thighs though)

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Posted Wed, 06/19/2013 - 15:49
Evan

Would doing this with a supinated grip work different muscle groups?

mnsjason's picture
Posted Wed, 06/19/2013 - 17:37
mnsjason

There is a tendency to use biceps/shoulders when you approach this with and underhand grip. Just make sure you're focusing on your back, as you don't want arms to be doing the lifting in this movement.

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Posted Fri, 05/10/2013 - 09:56
Tony

I do these on my dead lift day, up to 200 pounds now with no problems with my back, none!!, think of the opposite of a bench press, also I can now dumb bell row with 105 pounds 2 sets of 8, I'm 6 foot, I weigh 195, remember to keep your form and use control, very good exercise

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Posted Thu, 12/19/2013 - 14:04
jason.kolbo

thanks for tip i am same stature so any time some sayssome tihng it help

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Posted Thu, 04/18/2013 - 07:41
rahul sen

very good workout for back

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Posted Sun, 04/14/2013 - 13:51
Max Jabbour

Guys, ignore thid stupid exercise. It's unnecessarily difficult and puts too much stress on your lower back and legs.
Do seated rows instead. They're easier to youse, you can do them safely no matter what, and they target the muscles better. Arnold did ROWS not this piece of crap exercise.

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Posted Fri, 04/26/2013 - 11:26
David B

Arnold actually is shown doing some intense T Bar rows (called close grip standing rows on M&S) in "Pumping Iron".

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Posted Sun, 04/28/2013 - 22:43
lewe

he did both pull rows and this apparently crap excercise ? this is effective dude

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Posted Thu, 04/04/2013 - 18:51
Gibbo

Use a smith machine for easy control of movement and precise lift!!

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Posted Wed, 03/20/2013 - 16:37
Ross

This seems hella dangerous if not done correctly

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Posted Sun, 01/27/2013 - 09:27
Liam

Is there an alternative to this exercise. I dont want to encounter any injury.

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Posted Sat, 10/27/2012 - 14:45
Hessian

It seems he is not bringing up the bar bellow the chest, but to his stomach!!

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Posted Wed, 09/19/2012 - 14:16
Clh68

Pendaly? (not sure if thats the correct spelling) Rows are far more superior option

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Posted Sun, 09/16/2012 - 16:39
SID

Is there alternative to this?

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Posted Sun, 09/09/2012 - 10:42
Jason

His back's not straight?!

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Posted Mon, 04/23/2012 - 14:10
Hatty

What angle should my back be to the ground? 45Degree? or more/less parallel with the ground?

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Posted Mon, 04/09/2012 - 06:22
lou

can a T-bar machine be used? will that help to keep my back straight?

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Posted Tue, 04/03/2012 - 17:03
Bubba

He's jerking the weight up at the top of the motion. Good way to get injured.

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Posted Tue, 04/03/2012 - 05:15
abdelrahman

I do wear one for all back workouts

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Posted Fri, 03/23/2012 - 22:36
andrew cotton

do you wear a back brace ?