You are on a physical quest to get into the best shape of your life, and that’s all fine and dandy. But you’ll never get there if you act like a halfwit in the gym and use gross form. Take your back, for example.
The coveted “V-shape” is a mere pipedream if you don’t know what exercises to do or what good form looks like. Well, that’s where the bent over barbell row comes to the table. You may also know this exercise as a bent over row, or just the plain old barbell row, but regardless of what you call it, the exercise is the same.
The bent over barbell row is performed with a barbell, duh… It targets the lats, trapezius and biceps, as well as the abs to some extent. It’s a rather basic drill that even a novice can do, and by the end of this tutorial, you should have the confidence to safely add it to your rotation.
Without any further ado, here are the instructions to pull off this compound movement safely:
How to perform the barbell row correctly
1. Stand behind a loaded bar with your feet shoulder-width or slightly wider apart.
2. Bend down and grasp the bar with an overhand grip. Turn your hands into makeshift hooks when you do this, with your thumbs placed right by your index fingers.
3. Maintain a slightly arched back and look straight ahead or slightly up at an angle.
4. Keep your core tight and body still as you lift the bar from the ground.
5. Continue to move the bar up to your navel and keep your arms in close to your sides.
6. Stop for a full second and slowly lower the bar until your arms are fully extended.
7. Repeat for a series of reps.
Bent over barbell row tips
You now know the main points of performing a barbell row, but here are some further tips to keep you in the good graces of the bodybuilding gods.
First things first, being in a shoulder-width stance is only half the battle. You also want to make sure your feet are aligned properly. Make sure they are parallel to each other and your toes are facing forward. You don’t want to look like Daffy Duck out in the weight room. This can lead to improper mechanics.
Also, make sure you don’t shrug the weight up and use momentum. This will make you look like an idiot, plus set you up for injury.
Your breathing should be in sync too. Take a deep breath in before you do your row and exhale the entire time you pull it up. Then inhale as you lower and repeat.
Bent over barbell row alternatives and variations
As mentioned above, your focus muscles here are your lats, traps and biceps. There are some auxiliary exercises similar to the barbell row that you can also mix in for good measure.
Plus, you can do some variations with the bent over barbell row to tax your muscles a little differently. For example, you can use an alternate grip where one hand is facing in and one out. Or you can do a reverse grip where both hands are facing out. The latter will put a little more punch on your biceps.
Anything you do with a barbell, you can also do with dumbbells, so that’s another option. And to take this one step further, you can do one-arm dumbbell rows with one knee on a bench.
Lastly, you have cable one-arm rows, seated cable rows and kettlebell renegade rows, which will all work for the same muscle groups.
Taking your workouts to the next level
If you are serious about building your body, working out is only part of the equation. You also need good-quality supplements, which we have here at CrazyBulk. Such products as HGH-X2, D-bal, TestoMax and Trenorol can work alongside your protein shakes to give you the extra boost you need to perform at an optimal level.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to building mass, gaining strength and boosting your results all around. A good blend of hard work, proper diet and key supplements can make this a reality.
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