Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredCable
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePull (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelIntermediate
  • Secondary Muscles
    Abs, Biceps, Shoulders, Upper Back
Target Muscle Group


Lats Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Thibaudeau Kayak Row Overview

The Thibaudeau kayak rows is an exercise used to target the muscles of the back.

The exercise was made popular by world-renowned strength coach, Christian Thibaudeau. The Thibaudeau kayak row utilizes a cable pulley machine and mimics the motion one would use to paddle while in a kayak.

Thibaudeau Kayak Row Instructions

  1. Attach a medium width handle to a cable stack and assume a standing position.
  2. Grasp the handle with a pronated grip (double overhand) at roughly shoulder width.
  3. Keep the elbow slightly flexed and initiate the movement by depressing the shoulder blade, extending the shoulder, and laterally flexing the spine to maximally contract the lat.
  4. Pull one side of the bar towards your thigh until the lat is fully contracted and then slowly lower under control.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions on both sides.

Thibaudeau Kayak Row Tips

  1. Keep some tone through your abdominals as you pull the bar into your body to ensure you don’t arch excessively through the spine.
  2. If you feel your biceps being overused and your back remaining under active, consider utilizing a false grip (i.e. don’t wrap the thumb around the dumbbell).
  3. Don’t allow the head to jut forward as you pull.
  4. Similarly, ensure the shoulder blade moves on the rib cage. Don’t lock the shoulder blade down and just move through the glenohumeral joint.