The Barbell Bent-Over Row: Muscle-Building Exercise and Variations

How to Do the Barbell Bent-Over Row

The barbell bent-over row is a compound exercise that primarily targets the muscles of the back. It is a great exercise for building muscle mass and strength and can be performed with a barbell or dumbbells. In this article, we will describe how to perform the barbell bent-over row correctly and some of its variations and common mistakes people make when performing it.

What muscles does the barbell bent-over row work?

The barbell bent-over row works the muscles of the back, specifically the lats (latissimus dorsi), traps (trapezius), and rhomboids. It also works the biceps and forearms to a lesser extent.

The advantages of this exercise over other forms of rows are that it allows you to use heavier weights, and it recruits more muscle groups (specifically the lower back and hamstrings). This translates to more muscle growth and strength gains.

How to perform the barbell bent-over row?

To perform the barbell bent-over row, start by placing a barbell on the ground in front of you. Bend over and grab the barbell with an overhand grip, your hands should be shoulder-width apart.

Lift the bar off the ground and bring it to your mid-chest, tucking your elbows close to your body. From here, lower the bar back to the starting position and repeat for reps.

It is important to keep a flat back throughout the exercise and to not round your lower back. Rounding your lower back can lead to injury.

Other cues for this movement are to squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement and to keep your core engaged.

Common Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes people make when performing this exercise is rounding their lower back. As we mentioned earlier, this can lead to injury.

Another common mistake is using too much weight. This exercise should be performed with a moderate amount of weight, using momentum or swinging the barbell will not only take away from the effectiveness of the exercise but can also lead to injury.

Focusing on controlled reps and using a weight that you can handle will yield the best results.

Variations of the barbell bent-over row

Variation # 1: Reverse-Grip Bent-Over Row

The reverse-grip bent-over row is performed the same way as the regular barbell bent-over row, except that you will use a pronated (palms facing down) grip instead of an overhand grip. The benefit of this variation is that it places more emphasis on the biceps.

To perform this exercise, start by placing a barbell on the ground in front of you. Bend over and grab the barbell with a pronated grip, your hands should be shoulder-width apart.

Lift the bar off the ground and bring it to your mid-chest, tucking your elbows close to your body. From here, lower the bar back to the starting position and repeat for reps.

It is important to keep a flat back throughout the exercise and to not round your lower back. Rounding your lower back can lead to injury. Other cues for this movement are to squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement and to keep your core engaged.

Variation #2: Dumbbell Bent-Over Row

The dumbbell bent-over row is performed the same way as the barbell bent-over row, except that you will use two dumbbells instead of a barbell.

To perform this exercise, start by placing two dumbbells on the ground in front of you. Bend over and grab the dumbbells with an overhand grip, your hands should be shoulder-width apart.

Lift the dumbbells off the ground and bring them to your mid-chest, tucking your elbows close to your body. From here, lower the dumbbells back to the starting position and repeat for reps.

It is important to keep a flat back throughout the exercise and to not round your lower back. Rounding your lower back can lead to injury. Other cues for this movement are to squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement and to keep your core engaged.

Variation #3: Seated Dumbbell Bent-Over Row

The seated dumbbell bent-over row is performed the same way as the barbell and dumbbell bent-over rows, except that you will be seated on a bench.

To perform this exercise, start by sitting on a bench with a weight plate or dumbbells in front of you. Bend over and grab the weight with an overhand grip, your hands should be shoulder-width apart.

Lift the weight off the ground and bring it to your mid-chest, tucking your elbows close to your body. From here, lower the weight back to the starting position and repeat for reps.

It is important to keep a flat back throughout the exercise and to not round your lower back. Rounding your lower back can lead to injury. Other cues for this movement are to squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement and to keep your core engaged.

Variation #4: One-Arm Dumbbell Row

The one-arm dumbbell row is another variation of the barbell bent-over row. This exercise can be performed with a dumbbell or a kettlebell.

To perform this exercise, start by placing your weight on the ground in front of you. Bend over and grab the weight with one hand, using an overhand grip.

Lift the weight off the ground and bring it to your mid-chest, tucking your elbow close to your body. From here, lower the weight back to the starting position and repeat for reps.

It is important to keep a flat back throughout the exercise and to not round your lower back. Rounding your lower back can lead to injury. Other cues for this movement are to squeeze your shoulder blade together at the top of the movement and to keep your core engaged.

Summary

In conclusion, the barbell bent-over row is a great exercise for building muscle. This exercise can be performed with a barbell, dumbbells, or kettlebell. There are also many variations of this exercise that can be performed to target different muscles. When performing this exercise, it is important to keep a flat back and not round your lower back. Other cues for this movement are to squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement and to keep your core engaged.

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