Muscles Used • Exercise Type • Form Instruction • Tips and Techniques • Recommended Reps • Common Variations • Substitutions • Equipment Needed
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Compound Exercise, Pull Movement
With feet shoulder width apart, bend over at the waist to where the upper body is nearly parallel to the floor, hold barbell at arm’s length and pull it up to the lower chest, then lower down until arms are again extended.
Tips and Techniques:
Your grip is shoulder width or slightly wider and overhanded. The shoulder-width grip is best for emphasizing the middle back and the lats. As you move the grip wider, the rear delts take on more emphasis and the lats less.
You want to bend to parallel or just a little higher. Standing straighter is a common error and really turns the exercise into a traps exercise (Yates Row). Move the hips back to get down and balanced.
Keep your back straight with a slight arch. Keep your head up to keep the back from wanting to curl. Because you are nearly parallel, looking at the wall in front of you will cause some neck pain. So, instead, focus on a place on the floor in front of you (the point being to NOT look at your feet which will make the back want to curl).
The barbell should be over your toes at the bottom of the exercise. You are then pulling the barbell up to your lower chest or just below it. Focus on pulling the elbows as high as you can when you do the exercise.
The knees are kept slightly bent but still throughout the exercise. If you are having trouble keeping your back straight, slightly increasing the bend in your knees may help.
A slight variation is to use an underhanded grip. Doing this will have you doing everything the same but the elbows will stay closer to the body and you will be pulling to the stomach. This will bring the biceps into the exercise (but at the expense of the lats).
Recommended Reps For Muscle Building:
6-12 the majority of the time, trying higher or lower reps on occasion.
- One- Arm Dumbbell Rows
- Two-Arm Dumbbell Rows – Done with same form using two dumbbells instead of a barbell (typically with palms facing in).
- Underhanded Grip Barbell Bent-Over Rows – See above
- Machine-Based Bent-Over Rows – Lever and Smith Machines give you ways to do variations of Bent-Over Rows.
One-Arm Dumbbell Rows are a very good substitution, obviously. They give the trainer a bit of relief by allowing a more comfortable position with one half of the body stabilized by the bench. Seated Rows are the same general motion from a vertical position.
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