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Bent Over Row - How to Do Rows With Proper Technique

The bent over row is a highly effective back exercise that has proven time and time again to produce significant muscle size and strength gains. Proper form is essential to the success of this exercise and if you are not prepared technically for the exercise then you will be in serious danger of a injury. The first thing you have to remember is that the bar will always start and end on the floor before and after each rep.

Note that there are many bent over row variations. In this exercise tutorial, I will be teaching the Pendlay row variation.

To get setup correctly before beginning you must first lower yourself towards the bar from the waist whilst standing in front of it. When your torso is parallel to the floor you are in the right position to grab the bar. When you do grab the bar make sure you have a wider than shoulder width grasp and you should employ an overhand grip with both hands. You must ensure you have your lower body in the correct position as well. Get your feet parallel to each other a shoulder width apart and slightly bend your knees as well as pushing your hips out a little. Make sure your knees and hips do not move when you perform the bent over row.

The barbell should be sitting straight under the area of your shoulder blades, quite close to your body and over your feet. Your shoulders themselves should be rolled slightly forwards to allow you to powerfully draw them back and arch your back during the lift. Once you are in position you should be staring straight at the floor with your arms going straight down to the floor where the bar is.

Just before you begin to lift the weight, make sure you are comfortable in your position. You may feel strange standing in this position if you are a beginner to this exercise but you should feel fine in the position without any nagging aches or pains. Feel the weight by either rolling the bar slightly or lifting it just off the ground. This will give you a feel for the weight and you can understand how much force you will need to lift it.

Now you're done setting up. It's time for the fun part: Actually executing the bent over row. It's important to internalize the fact that this is supposed to be an explosive lift. That means, lift it up as fast as possible (without screwing up the technique)!...

...The first step is to retract your shoulders consequently tightening the muscles in your back and arching it. Keep your head facing forward as your back arches and remains parallel to the floor and now lift the bar up using your lats and middle back muscles. Do not attempt to lift the weight with your hands as it will defeat the object of developing the muscles in your back, instead use your hands to grip the bar tightly and pull your elbows up towards the ceiling which will contract your back muscles to lift the weight off the ground.

As I said before, and I'll stress it again, the Pendlay row variation of the bent over row is an explosive movement. You should put in a powerful muscle contraction behind the lift to get the bar up as quickly as possible; bringing it to the lower part of your chest in a straight line.

To complete each rep you need to lower the bar back from the bottom of your chest to where it started on the floor. You can lower it at your own pace but the key thing is to make sure you have complete control of the bar all the way down until it is in its original resting sport on the floor, ready for the next rep.

And there ya have it! You are now a master of the bent over row. Keep up the good work and impressive results are sure to follow.


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