What is a Barbell Row?

If you are new to lifting, then you probably don’t know what a barbell row is and are asking yourself, “What is a barbell row?”. Well, it’s your lucky day, because we can answer your question right away. A barbell row is a building block for many exercise routines and because of this it’s very adjustable to the kind of exercise program you want to achieve. It has evolved and many new varieties have popped up over the ages of bodybuilding.

They are a great way for not just veterans, but beginners and intermediate users to get a workout and can target many different types of muscles.

A barbell row will stretch out your muscles and ligaments as well as build up mass which is the main reason a lot of people perform this type of exercise.

The following is a general overview on how to perform a bent over barbell row which is one of the most popular rows being used today.


1. Grasp the barbell with a pronated grip (palms facing down), bend the knees slightly while at the same time bringing your torso forward by bending at the waist. Make sure you keep your back straight until you are almost parallel to the floor. It is important that you keep your head up. The barbell should hang directly in front of you as your arms hand perpendicular to the floor and your torso. This is the position you start in.

2. Keep your torso still, breath out and lift the barbell towards you. The elbows should be close to the body and the forearms should hold the weight. In your top contracted position, squeeze your back muscles and hold this position for a brief second.

3. Inhale while slowly lowering the barbell back to the start position.

4. Wash and rinse this method until you have reached your desired number of repetitions.


You will see increases in size and strength. Your muscles will grow and you will get stronger. This is indisputable. Remember those college days? Did you ever take time to check out the rowing team? I pretty much guarantee you that those kids had really, really nice backs. Rowing is a simple, but complex motion that is going to sculpt your body to perfection.

You will become more flexible. Believe it or not, every time you do a barbell row correctly your hamstrings are stretching because you’re keeping your legs as straight as you can. You’re also loosening up any kinks in your posterior chain.

You are going to walk taller and straighter. Better posture is an easy one. As you become stronger your muscles will more easily support your body in a correct fashion. It is a fact that poor posture and overall poor health are directly linked to improper positioning of the body during daily activity. So, keep on rowing and you’re gonna feel stronger, look better and be healthier.

Main Image Credit: Alisa Cooper