The bent-over row is one of the essential upper and middle back exercises. For some time now, bodybuilders, powerlifters, and athletes have been using the bent row to increase the strength and size of the muscles in the middle to upper back. If you’re looking to add bulk and shape to your upper body, then the bent row is an important exercise that you must fit into your back workouts.
Targeting the Lats, the bent row combines the potent benefits of allowing you to train through a complete range of motion with a heavyweight, target your lats with targeted precision, and move closer to the classic V-shape taper that you want! While most of the top muscle-building exercises allow you to train multiple muscles simultaneously, the bent row doesn’t allow any other muscle groups to steal the load and cut into the amount of stimulation your lats receive. This is one of the significant benefits of working bent-over rows into your lat workouts. You get maximum lat stimulation with a heavyweight.
Muscles Used During The Bent Over Row
Aside from the Latissimus Dorsi, a few other muscles carry some of the load. The Teres Major, Posterior Deltoid, Biceps Brachii, Brachioradialis, Brachialis, Rhomboids, and Trapezius all aid in the completion of this movement, but the vast majority of the load is carried by the last supper back. When performed in the correct form, the bent row uses very few of the muscles listed above. Still, when served with poor condition, it is one of those exercises that can start to push a lot of the load from the target muscle group to the secondary muscle groups. That’s one of the reasons that it’s critical to learn how to perform barbell rows the right way.
How To Perform The Bent Over Row
1. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip with your hands spaced slightly wider than shoulder width. Spread your feet shoulder-width apart and bend your knees slightly. Lean forward at the waist at approximately a 45° angle. Make sure to keep your back straight during the full range of the movement. If your body is aligned correctly, the bar should be positioned above your knee before beginning the exercise.
2. Pull the bar up to your lower chest, keeping your core muscles contracted (to stabilize your spine). When correctly performed, you will lift your elbows towards the sky while holding your upper body in a stationary position.
While performing this exercise, you should feel the muscles in your upper back contracting. The lats are located along both sides of the spine along your back. To ensure that you are focusing on the lats properly, it helps to visualize the muscles you are using (or are supposed to be using) and attempt to pull your shoulder blades up and back at the top of the exercise. This will force your latissimus dorsi to contract if it isn’t already engaged. Once you feel the muscles that are supposed to be performing the bulk of the work during bent-over rows, making minor adjustments to your form becomes easier to ensure that the right muscles are being targeted.
3. Allow the bar to move back down to the starting position in a slow and controlled manner, but still focus on using your lats to complete the eccentric portion of the lift.
As with all free weights exercises, varying the position of your grip will allow you to target different parts of your middle and upper back. You will emphasize the lower part of the trapezius and your rhomboids if you perform barbell rows with an overhand grip. While performing bent rows with an underhand grip will place most of the emphasis on the upper portion of the trapezius and the biceps brachii.
If you want to increase the size and strength of your upper and middle back, barbell rows should be a significant part of your lat workouts. Not only will you be able to target your lats with laser focus and take a step towards acquiring the v-taper upper body, but you’ll be able to train with a heavy enough weight to make a noticeable difference quickly.