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Bent-Over Barbell Row – Alternative to the Seated Cable Row

Bent-Over Barbell Row Featured Image - Alternative to Seated Cable Rows

Free-Weight Substitute/Alternative To: Seated Cable Rows, Chest-Supported T-bar Rows, machine rows (ex. Hammer Strength Iso Low Row)

Main Muscles Worked: Mid back, Latissimus Dorsi, Trapezius, Rhomboid, Deltoid, Bicep.

Other Exercise Names: Barbell Row, Bent Over Row.

Equipment Needed: barbell + weights

Instructions: Hold the barbell with a pronated grip (overhand), slightly bend your knees and bring the torso forward by bending at the waist while keeping the back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor. Keep the head neutral. The bar should hang directly in front of you as your arms hang perpendicular to the floor and your torso.

To begin, pull the barbell to your upper waist keeping the elbows close to the body. At the top of the lift, contract and squeeze the back muscles, then lower until arms are extended and shoulders are stretched downward, then repeat.

Starting position of the Bent-Over Barbell Row - image courtesy of bodybuilding.com

Top position of the Bent-Over Barbell Row - image courtesy of bodybuilding.com

Comments (from ExRx.net): Torso may be kept horizontal for strict execution. Knees are bent in effort to keep low back straight. If low back becomes rounded due to tight hamstrings, try either bending knees more, or don’t position your torso as low. Either fix may compromise involvement of Latissimus Dorsi since it forces more shoulder transverse extension and less shoulder extension range of motion. If low back is rounded due to poor form, deadlift the weight to a standing position and lower your torso into horizontal position with knees bent and back straight.

Alternatively, bent-over barbell rows can be performed with a Swiss Bar. Because of the neutral grips, Swiss Bars recruit muscles differently than a straight bar. Many lifters with shoulder issues find that movements with Olympic bars that would normally cause pain can be done completely loaded and pain-free with a Swiss Bar.

Swiss Bar for Bent-Over Barbell Rows

Many thanks to bodybuilding.com for their extensive exercise image & video collection.

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