Bent Over Barbell Row

Exercise Summary
Primary Muscle(s) Middle Back
Secondary Muscle(s) Biceps, LatsAbdominals
Equipment Barbell
Emphasis Compound
Type Pull

Bent Over Row Instructions

  • Assume a strong lifting position: core and glutes activated, shoulders braced, chest up, knees slightly flexed, and eyes fixed ahead.
  • Position your feet slightly inside shoulder-width.
  • Hinge at the hips while maintaining strong core, braced shoulders, and neutral spine.
    • Maintain a slight knee bend throughout.
  • Grip the barbell with a pronated hand position. Your eyes should be looking down, not straight ahead.
    • Neutral neck position.
    • Pronated = palms facing down
  • Activate your shoulder blades/scapulas, feeling as if you are pinching a quarter between your shoulder blades.
  • Your arms are merely lever for your mid back. Don't 'yank' the weight up or rock your torso backward.
    • Initiate and control the movement with the mid-back.
  • Your arms remain passive in this movement.
  • Keep the bar path vertical, not letting it stray from your center of gravity.
  • The top position is the bar by your upper abdominals.
  • Lower the bar slowly, maintaining tension on the lats and mid back.


  • Avoid 'rocking' your torso to move the weight up.
    • Maintain a strong core and neutral spine from throughout the movement.
  • Using momentum negates the exercise because it takes tension off of the lats and mid back.
  • Use lighter weight to ensure technique proficiency and proper muscle activation. 
  • Don't let your shoulders roll forward or your upper traps shrug during the movement.
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