Different Bent Over Barbell Row Types

Bent Over Barbell Row

The bent over barbell row is an incredibly popular type of row. It is highly viewed as one of the best ways to increase size and strength. Due to its popularity, there are many variants 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 if you have lower back problems the bent over over barbell row could cause unnecessary pain and injury. However, if you are a fit individual who is ready to mix up their workout routines, get ready to learn.

Different Bent Over Barbell Row Types

Two Arm Bent Over Barbell Row: This variant used two arms to lift the barbell from the floor to the stomach in a bent over position. This is the method described earlier and used pronated hands with straight back.

Two Arm Dumbell Bent Over Row: In this case the barbell is substituted for two dumbbells. One is held in each hand.

One Arm Dumbbell Bent-Over Row: This is a fun twist! For the most part you will enact this exercise with one knee and one hand on the same side of your body. Keep these braced on a bench and your back straight and parallel to the ground. The other hand needs to hold the weight with the arm extended outward. The weight should then be lifted towards the hips until the elbow is past a 90 degree bend and the humerus is lined up with your back. Then lower back to the original position.

Kroc Row: This is named after Matt Kroczaleski who made this a popular exercise. These use heavy weights with high repetition rows which most often require grip compensation straps at very, very heavy poundages. Up to or around 300 pounds or 140 kilograms!

Chinese Dumbbell Row: This is an exercise often used as supplementation exercise for the Chinese Weightlifting team (hence the name). Similar to the Kroc Row, this is a heavy weight, heavy repetition plan that puts you at a 45 degree stance and with little to no rotation at the waist level. This allows a wider range of motion in the upper body and also activates the trapezius muscle. The native name for this exercise, if it exists, is not known to the English sports community. It is important that this row is not mixed up with the completely different Chinese Barbell Rows (also known as Lying Barbell Rows).

One Arm Bent Over Barbell Row: Refer to the one arm dumbbell description as this one is very similar. However, it is performed with the added instability of a long bar. This causes you to work harder with the radial and ulnar flexors in the wrist which stabilize you by pulling. This will also improve pronation and supination grips because the movement of the bar is very easy to see and therefore you can correct yourself quickly.


When you try to invent your own ways of doing things, you’ll most likely get hurt. Follow instructions on how to properly perform barbell rows and you’ll be fine. Always start from the recommended start position or you’re probably going to get hurt. Make sure you have a stable form and alignment. This won’t always be easy to learn, but is necessary to be safe. Also, as an added safety precaution, don’t lift alone. It’s more fun and a lot safer… especially for, but not limited to, beginners who may need a helping hand more often than someone who’s been doing it for years. Here are some more safety tips:

Keep your abs tense. This will support your back and foster better posture. If you want to get scientific, this means contractions of the transversus abdominis and the rectus abdominis. This would cause the back to round out and relieve stress, especially from the lower back.

Make sure you bend your knees. This will lower your center of gravity as well as bring your pelvis closer to the ground. This will decrease the stretch in the hamstrings and make it easier to pick up your weight from the ground. It also makes it less dangerous when setting the weight down because of the reduced drop distance.
I hope you take these safety tips to heart and have fun trying out some of these awesome variations of the bent over barbell row.

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