Bent-over barbell row

Bent-over barbell row

Exercise details

  • Target muscle: The back in general

  • Synergists: Latissimus Dorsi, Middle and Lower Trapezius, Rhomboids, Teres Major, Posterior Deltoid, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, Brachialis, Brachioradialis, Pectoralis Major

  • Mechanics: Compound

  • Force: Pull

Starting position

  • Stand over a loaded barbell, with the bar lining up with your toes.

  • Bend at the hips and a little at the knees and grasp the barbell with hands a little wider than shoulder width apart. Your back should be straight and close to horizontal.


  • Exhale as you pull the barbell up to your waist.

  • Hold for a count of two and squeeze your back muscles.

  • Inhale as you lower the barbell in a controlled manner until it nearly touches the floor.

  • Repeat.

Comments and tips

  • Keep your back straight and close to horizontal.

  • Keep your elbows close to your body.

  • Pull with your back muscles, not your arms.

  • Many people think that the biceps acts as a synergist in rowing exercises such as the bent-over barbell row, when, in fact, it only acts as a dynamic stabilizer, along with the long head of the triceps.

  • There’s a strict variation of the bent-over barbell row called the Pendlay row that involves explosively pulling the barbell up and letting it drop down to the floor at the end of each rep.