Barbell Row Exercise

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Bent Over Barbell Rows

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Bent over barbell rows is probably the best bodybuilding exercise for developing a thick, impressive back. It's also one of the most confusing exercises for both beginners and advanced weight trainers alike. The variations of the exercise seem to never end.

The first question I always get is, "Do you use on overhand or underhand grip?" It's extremely logical to use an underhand grip on this exercise. The idea is that the biceps are in a more advantageous position and will not fail before the stronger back muscles. Therefore, you can train your back to complete failure. That's the idea. However, in my case and in the case of several others I've trained and talked to, it doesn't work as well for working the back muscles. I prefer the overhand, traditional grip.

"How far do you bend over?" Good question. It really depends on what you are targetting. If you're trying to hit your lats primarily, then you need to bend over further. You would need to take a position where your upper body is angled slightly above parallel to the floor. If you are trying to hit more of your upper back, then take about a 45-55 degree angle to the floor.

"How wide is your grip?" I've experimented with several grip widths and found that I like a position just slightly wider than shoulder width.

The bottom line is this. The bent over barbell row is an exercise that you need to tailor to your specific needs. Experiment with the various ways to perform it and see what gives you the best results. Keep in mind what your goal is for the exercise and use it religiously in your back workouts. Your back will thicken up in no time.

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