Bent Over Barbell Row – For Beginners

Bent Over Barbell rows are an all-encompassing workout similar to squats, deadlifts and military style workouts. They are difficult and will test your upper body’s ability. The bent over barbell row places emphasis on the entire back, but utilizes the entirety of your body from head to toes. This is why the bent over barbell row is often preferred when compared to machines at a gym, because the entire body grows instead of just a single muscle. This causes a greater intensity in your workout and in turn calls for intense periods of rest during which your body will heal and come back even stronger than before.

Barbell rows are an explosive workout which when used with lots of weight give the best returns. The actual bent over barbell row is very basic as far as concept goes, but takes a while for your body to condition itself enough so that it’s safe and easy to perform.

When I lift, I want to make sure my back is not going to get hurt, so I start with a flat back, bent over my ribs in such a way that I receive a bit of support from the thighs. I look into the distance about 10 ft in order to get my head in a good place. Then, with knuckles up, I grab the barbell and take a few deep breathes. I lift the bar up to the middle of my chest and bring it into the beginning position where the plates of barbell are slightly elevated from the floor.

How to Perform the Bent Over Barbell Row

Start standing up with a slight gap in the feet so that you feel normal and relaxed. For most people this will be about shoulder width apart. Maintain straight legs and tilt about 45 degrees forward. Focus on keeping an arched lower back and make sure most of your tilt is coming from the hips. Look ahead of you and if you’re doing all of this right you will feel a bit of tension in your lower back and hamstrings.

Next step is to bend your knees, while still keeping that slight tension in your back. When you lower yourself using your knees your tension in the hamstrings should go away. This is how you start the bent over barbell row.

I like to go “thumb-free” when my grip is concerned, because it makes me use my biceps less. Your arms are like hooks that, as you retract at the shoulders, your arms aren’t doing the work. It’s the rest of your body and this isn’t easy, but it keeps the bent over barbell row from being nothing more than a fancy bicep workout. This is where you want to build strength by just bobbing the weight and gaining control of it with the back muscles. If you keep this simple workout up for a while, you will be able to move onto more difficult versions of this row as well as add more weight.

Featured Image: Gabriel Sey

1 Comment
  1. […] of the bent over barbell row. If you want to learn how to do the original row, check out “What is a Barbell Row, The Bent Over Barbell Row”. As always, be sure you are in adequate medical condition to attempt this exercise. Especially […]

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