The bent over Barbell Row is a great exercise for building strength and muscle withing the Lats, Traps and Rhomboids. Though there are multiple variations that you can use in your workout program for your specific muscle building or strength goals.
Standard Bent Over Barbell Rows
How to Perform the Standard Barbell Row
Grip the Barbell at shoulder width with your palms facing toward your body. Then like the other rowing variations start with the bar at the final position of a Deadlift.
From there you want to lower the bar to just bellow and in front of your knees. Whilst keeping your chest up and legs slightly bent at the same angle.
Then row the bar to your mid to lower abs. Do this while keeping your upper body and knees at a static angle.
To finish the repetition lower the bar into the same position below and in front of your knees.
Reasons to do the Standard Overhand Barbell Row
When you do the Barbell Row closer in to your body you will be using more of your Rhomboids than as to gripping the bar wider.
But you still will have some lat engagement as well but it will be lessened by the use of your arms as well as your Rhomboids.
Also if you are using this exercise to build muscle it will be targeting your lower lats because you will be pulling the bar lower to your lower to middle abdominal region.
The reason for why you can not pull the bar to your upper abs/lower chest like the wider grip version is that if you try to row the bar to this region with your hands so shoulder width apart you will putting your shoulders in a compromising position.
This is because unlike the wider grip version to pull the bar to your upper chest and upper abs your elbows will go a greater distance past your back while being flared out. Which puts a lot of tension on your rotater cuffs.
I would recommend this version to those who are trying to get generally stronger this version will has a decent correlation to the Dead lift as well.
Wide Grip Barbell Row
How to Perform the Exercise
To do the Wide Grip Barbell Row you will want to grip the Barbell past shoulder width approximately pinkies on the rings of the bar(personally I go farther to my ring finger but do what is comfortable for you).
Then lift the bar of the Rack or if you are starting from the ground lift the bar as if you were to do a Deadlift.
Once you have the Bar in this position keep your chest up and lower the bar a little past your knees. With the bar just in front of your knees whilst bending over. It is also ok to slightly bend your knees.
From this position you want to pull the bar in toward your body at the level of your upper abs or your lower chest. While holding your upper body in the same position.
To complete the repetition slowly lower the bar back into the starting position slightly below the knees.
I would Recommend this form of Barbell Rows if you are trying to increase the appearance of width in your back. It is also good if you are trying to specifically increase the the muscle in your upper Back.
Reasons to do Wide Grip Barbell Rows
This Form of Barbell bent over barbell will work more of your Traps and your Lats. The reason behind this is that since your arms are wider on the bar you will be pulling the weight higher up on your abs or to your lower chest.
In this form of the Barbell Row you will use less of your biceps since your arms will be extended and contracted less.
In addition as in with all Barbell Rows you will be using your Core as well to stay upright.
That is because this movement like said prior really isolates your upper back and takes a lot of the other muscles out of the movement. Though this exercise can also be used for specifically strengthening the back.
Underhand Barbell Row
How to Perform Underhand Barbell Rows
Grip the bar approximately shoulder width apart with your palms facing outward. Start with the bar at the top of a Deadlift position. With your chest up and knees slightly bent lower the bar slightly in front and bellow your knees.
Then pull the bar to your mid to upper abdominal level. Make sure again you try to keep your upper body and knees at the same level through out the movement.
Lower the bar to the original bellow the knee level to finish the movement.
Reasons to Do Underhand Barbell Rows
This version of the Barbell row will work target even more of your lats than your Terris Minor(portion of your back right bellow your Rear Delts). The reason for this is that your elbows will flare out less than in an overhand barbell row. They will also be going farther back than with the standard Overhand Barbell Row.
The Underhand Barbell Row will also target your Biceps because of the increased elbow contraction.
Given that your arms are closer to your body and you will most likely be able to lift more weight with this version of the Barbell Row. I would recommend it for building strength
But this version of the Barbell Row is also very useful for increasing your back width. Though keep in mind it will be more difficult to change the appearance of width in any of your body parts.
The reason for this is that the appearance of being wider is mainly due to your bone structure. Even though this is the case, thickening the muscle fibers on the outside of your lats will add some distance in the width of your lats.
Pendlay Barbell Row
How to Perform the Pendlay Barbell Row
Start with the Bar approximately over the middle to upper part of your foot.
Then grab the bar slightly outside of shoulder width with your knees slightly bent.
Pull the bar to your upper abdominal or lower chest area while holding your upper body in the same position as much as possible.
Finish this movement by lowering the bar to the ground over your mid to upper foot.
Reasons to Do the Pendlay Barbell Row
The Pendlay Barbell Row is good for building strength and muscle in your Upper Back, Mid Back and Rear Delts.
This movement will help to strengthen your upper back because you will be pulling the bar higher up on your body as like with the Wide Grip Barbell Row.
This movement is good for building strength even though you may not be able to do as much weight as you can with the other exercises.
The reason is because instead of getting a stretch reflex at the bottom of the movement you have to consciously force the bar up on every rep. This is because the bar will be at rest on the ground at the end of each rep.
Performing Barbell Rows for Strength.
When performing Barbell Rows for Strength instead of doing the standard form for all of these Barbell Row variations you may want to make a couple tweaks so that you can use more muscle fibers and lift heavier weight.
So to do Barbell Rows to specifically increase strength you will want to lower the bar just bellow your knees but instead of the bar being in front of your shins you want the bar to be touching your shins.
From there you want to pull the bar to the abdominal level you would for each variation of Barbell Row the difference however is you want to use your legs and upper body a tiny bit to get the bar moving.
Then you as you pull the bar to the level suggested for each variation, lower your upper body to meet the bar. Then lower the bar to the starting position
Some people may call these cheating reps but they have a lot greater cross over to strength movements that require the use of multiple muscle groups like the Deadlift and Power Clean.
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