This type of exercise is mainly used for powerlifting and bodybuilding. The exercise is primarily used to increase strength and body size. The workout targets back muscles; the area of the back affected depends on the workout form. The workout also the arms and hips, creating bigger biceps and bigger thighs. This is one of the exercises that most effectively increases your ability to bench press, squat, and deadlift. As the exercise heavily affects the lower back, caution is advised to avoid fatal injuries or muscle spasms, which can have a long-lasting effect. When the exercise is carried out properly, it promotes optimum physical health, which in turn makes for sound mental health. Here are some guidelines to ensure that the barbell row is executed properly:

How To Do A Bent-Over Barbell Row

  1. Hold onto a barbell with palms facing down as you securely grip the bar.
  2. Bend your knees a little and tilt your torso forward. 
  3. Bend at the waist and keep your back aligned until it is just about on a parallel level with the floor. 
  4. It is important to remember to keep your head upward. 
  5. The bar should hang immediately in front of you as your arms swing perpendicular to the mat and your back. This is known as your direct starting position. 
  6. At this point, with your back still, exhale and move the bar towards you.
  7. Keeping your elbows close to your body, use your forearms to grip the weight. 
  8. When it is at the top or contracted, clench the back muscles and hold for a moment. 
  9. On the inhale, lower the bar back to your start position. 

This is one full exercise. Repeat for as many repetitions that you have been recommended to perform.

5 Tips To Improve Your Barbell Row Performance

  1. Establish a firm grip on the bar: The grip needs to be firm when you exercise. A firm grip prevents mishaps like an accidental release of the bar, which carry a whole other set of risks. A firm grip also makes it easier to manipulate the barbell when transitioning from one position to another. Once a firm grip has been established, the rest of the workout can proceed.
  2. Pause at the top: once you have lifted the barbell, it is necessary to maintain the position to work the shoulders. When doing this, it is important to know your limits, as you can easily get stuck. Once you know your limit, you carry-out the process within those confines and have your body worked to the maximum.
  3. Regular time intervals: While it is necessary to push yourself to the limits, it is also important to insert regular interval into your workout routine. After each set of reps, take a short break, this is to allow your muscles time to stretch back to their appropriate positions and avoid ruptures which could have lasting effects.
  4. Keep legs in a fixed separate position: The barbell roll involves the leg muscles. When exercising, it is important to maintain a fixed position to avoid casualties. A slip could put you off-balance and make you fall. This could not only cause injuries to you but also potentially injure anyone else in the immediate vicinity.
  5. Always carry out the exercise with a partner: There have been cases where an individual gets stuck in a certain position while exercising and got severely injured. This can be avoided if another person could assist in freeing the individual. It is therefore advised to carry out such exercises with a partner, so there is another person to assist you, should the need arise.

Which Are Muscles Worked?

Since this exercise is a compound exercise and it uses free weights, it works a variety of muscle groups. It mostly targets the back, but if you pull the bar higher to the chest, it works the upper back more than the lower. If you pull it to your waist, it will work your mid-back instead of the upper. 

This type of bodybuilding exercise helps you to build a strong back, reinforces proper hip flexion, and can also carry over to other areas of your body. Bent-over rows strengthen your ability to perform them with the core strength of your back because it is an essential core exercise. It works out the entire body so it will stabilize your whole body and shape your shoulders. 

bodybuilder with muscular back

Tips For A Safer Workout

  • For those individuals who are healthy, have gotten a physician’s approval and have a good back, a proper form that doesn’t include slouching forward is best to prevent injury to your back or body. 
  • Always begin with lesser weights. If after a few exercises you feel that it is too little you can always add more weights.   
  • Variation: There is another way to perform this exercise that has your palms facing towards you that can be tried for a variation on the above guide.
  • This exercise is a great place to start as a beginner because it is a basic strength training exercise that is at the core of beginning your journey into bodybuilding.
  • You will want to start slow with a minimum amount of repetitions until your body gets used to the workout.
  • Working with a person who is knowledgeable in bodybuilding can spot and instruct you about the positioning of your body, which is the most important for safety and preventing injuries. 


The exercise is not advised for people who have back problems or injuries, as it puts a lot of strain on both the upper and lower regions of the back. Whenever you are done exercising, return all equipment to the appropriate stations. When equipment is left carelessly, there is a chance that dangerous of dangerous injuries occurring, it can, however, be avoided by returning all equipment to the necessary positions.

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