The Benefits of Bent-Over Barbell Rows (and How to Do Them)

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Written By Samarjit Sinha

Working out for 10 years | Has a home gym | CPD (UK) Certificate holder in Fitness

The Benefits of Bent-Over Barbell Rows (and How to Do Them)

For home gym users, bent-over barbell rows should be the main back exercise.

It will develop mass and strength.

And in this era of rounded shoulders and tight chests, BB row is one of your saviors.

🦍 What Are the Benefits of Bent-Over Barbell Rows for An Average Home Gym User?

Works the upper back and trapezius muscles

The barbell row helps to work the upper back and trapezius muscles, which can lead to better posture and a stronger back.

As per this 2009 study, standing bb row actives the most number of muscles.

Develop power and Work Capacity

Work capacity meme

The benefits of bent-over barbell rows include increased strength in the arms and torso, improved grip, and stability.

All this back strength will help you do deadlifts,

Doing BB row from the ground will surely build your work capacity as well.

A study done in the year of 2014 includes BB row as a work capacity builder for firefighters. 👨‍🚒

If it is working for them, it will work for you too.

Application to Deadlifts and Pulling Movements

Rowing a heavy barbell in a hinged position benefits Deadlifts and Pulling Movements.

The row builds strength that supports squats and deadlifts by developing stability and strength in the back/posterior chain.

This exercise also improves total-body stability and upper-body pressing and pulling.

Increased Back Size and Thickness

The bent-over barbell row helps to increase back size and thickness by working the muscles in the back.

Add some pull-downs, and pull-ups and your back will look as if it was chiseled from stone.

Building a Stronger Back

The barbell bent-over row is a great exercise for building strength and stability in your back.

It can be a satisfying exercise to master once you’re able to walk up to an imposing barbell and pull it off the ground.

barbell row demo

Reinforce Proper Hip Flexion

When performing the bent-over barbell row, it is important to hinge at the hips and keep your elbows angled at about 45 degrees.

This allows you to properly engage your core and lower back muscles, which helps you build strength and muscle tone.

Train Explosiveness

The benefits of explosive training are numerous but can be especially beneficial for developing strength and muscle in the upper body.

The Pendlay row is a great movement to develop explosive strength and build muscle in the upper body.

Carry Over to Other Major Lifts

barbell row can help with heavy deadlift

Bent-Over Barbell Rows are beneficial for other lifts because they strengthen other major compound movements, like the bench press, deadlift, and power clean.

Bentover row variations also teach how to properly bend at the hips and build tension in the posterior chain.

Upper Back Hypertrophy and Strength

Bent-over barbell rows are a great way to build upper-body strength and improve spinal control.

Use 10-12 reps for 3-4 sets for hypertrophy.

barbell bb row muscles

The exercise allows you to use more weight than other variations of rowing exercises, making it more effective.

What is the correct form for Bent-Over Barbell Rows?

The correct form for Bent-Over Barbell Rows is to bend at a 45-degree angle and pull the weight toward your chest.

It is important to use the best technique possible for every rep in order to prevent back pain or injury.

If someone has a bad back, it is suggested that they do inverted rows, one arm-supported DB row instead.

For bent-over barbell row, it would be best to use a lightweight when first starting out so as not to get sloppy with technique.

The goal is to row the weight up until it touches your sternum and then slowly lower it back down again.

#️ How many Bent-Over Barbell Rows should you do?

Most strength training reps for free weight total-body compound exercises are in the 4-6 range.

Stregnth traning vs hypertrophy training reps and sets

For muscle growth use around 70-80% of your weight for 3-4 sets for 10-12 reps.

Muscles Worked by the Bent-Over Barbell Row

Muscles Worked by the Bent-Over Barbell Row

Latissimus Dorsi (Back)

The latissimus dorsi muscle is one of the primary muscles involved in a bent-over barbell row.

The latissimus dorsi helps to maintain an erect posture and keep the shoulders from slouching forward.

Lats muscle at back

Rowing movements work your lats and rhomboid muscles, which increase the pulling strength and thickness of your back.

Spinal Erectors (Lower Back)

The bent-over barbell row is an exercise that works the spinal erectors.

Spinal erector muscle location

These muscles are responsible for maintaining a stable spinal position during exercise.

Lower back issues often prevent people from doing this exercise, so alternative exercises are typically chosen.

Source: Verywellfit


The hamstrings work isometrically to support the lifter, which can lead to a feeling of intense stretch in the hamstrings and glutes.

Scapular Stabilizers

The scapular stabilizers are the muscles that control the shoulder blades and allow you to row the bar up and down.

The shoulder blades are squeezed and released during each rep of the bent-over barbell row, letting you squeeze your back muscles.

Who Should Do the Bent Over Barbell Row?

Everyone should do the barbell row.

Do not do it only if you have some back pain issues/your doctor has asked you to not do etc.

Correct bac position BB row

Strength and Power Athletes

The Bent Over Barbell Row is a great movement for increasing back strength and muscle growth.

The Olympic weightlifters use the Bent Over Barbell Row to increase strength in key positions in the clean and snatch.

barbell row

Fitness Athletes and the General Population

The bent-over barbell row is a great exercise for building muscle and strength.

It is especially beneficial for those who want to improve their postural control and strengthen postural muscles.

The hinged position of the row stretches the muscles beyond their normal range of motion, resulting in a significant stretch.

Bent-Over Barbell Row Alternatives

Pendlay Row

The Pendlay Row is a similar exercise to the barbell bent-over row, but there are two distinctions that make it better.

Pendlay Row

The first distinction is that you need to keep your back parallel to the floor at a 90-degree angle, instead of a 45-degree angle.

The second distinction is that you should let the barbell touch the floor after each rep, rather than pulling it back up towards your body.

I would suggest you to buy a proper barbell set for home for doing all the barbell-based rows.

Seal Row

The seal row is a variation of the chest-supported row that removes the need to hinge.

Seal Row

This exercise is great for isolating the back and minimizing momentum or bouncing during the row.

The seal row provides less stress and tension on the lower back and hamstrings, but it also means the amount of weight lifted may be less than what you could use with a conventional barbell row.

Chest-Supported Row

The chest-supported row is a type of back exercise that helps to minimize strain and stress on the hamstrings, lower back, and body.

Chest supported row

It is done by using a bench and dumbbells and is a great option for lifters who want to reduce the chance of injury while still training the back.

When compared to a bent-over barbell row, the chest-supported row allows for better posture and reduced injury risk.

If you do not have barbells or then just buy a dumbbell set to do rows.

Do you know the difference between BB row and T bar row!

How To Stretch Before Doing the Bent-Over Barbell Row

Best accessory lifts for BB row

Shoulder Protraction/Retraction

The benefits of stretching the shoulders before doing the Bent-Over Barbell Row are twofold.

First, it helps to warm up the muscles in the shoulder area.

Second, it helps to prevent injury by ensuring that the muscles are properly prepared for the exercise.

I often do scapula hangs and it works great for my shoulder.

Kneeling Arm Thread

When performing the kneeling arm thread stretch, it is important to maintain a cat-cow back position as a starting position.


The Cat-Cow stretch is important because it helps improve flexibility and range of motion.


What is the best bent over row sets and reps?

The reference states that the best rep range for bent-over barbell rows is between 6 and 12 reps.

This is because the form is more important than weight when doing bent-over barbell rows, and slow, controlled movements are the key to avoiding injury.

What is the best weight for bent-over barbell rows?

Lighter weights should be used in order to ensure the proper technique is being used. For experienced lifters, bent-over barbell rows should be the primary exercise.

In any case, if you have some DOMS here are some of the best foam roller for back pain :p and some glutamine in India :p

How can you progress with bent-over barbell rows?

The proper form is more important than the weight you lift.

On bent-over barbell rows, start with lighter weights to ensure the correct technique is used.

Slowly over time increase that weight with your rows.

What are some common injuries with bent-over barbell rows?

bb bent-over rows can lead to injuries related to the lower back 🙁

is bent over row a compound exercise?

Yes, all types of barbell-based bent-over rows are compound exercises. They target a lot of upper body and lower body muscles.

The Last Rep!

For a home gymmer – doing bent-over rows should be a priority.

It can get the job done in less time and provides muscle-building and strength-building benefits!

PS: No rowing machine for the home gym will ever replace this beast!


Working Out for 10 years | Owns a home gym |Certificate course done on Improving Aerobic Fitness, Diet | CPD (UK) Accredited Certification on Fitness

🥊 About The Skinny Author

Yo Friends, this is Samarjit! A skinny guy who is building his tiny home gym.

I have successfully gained 10 kgs in 10 months going to commercial gyms. And I have been working out on and off for about 10+ years now.

I have gone swimming, done martial arts, Olympic lifts and body building type workouts!

I cancelled the gym subscription as I was more into making my home gym for workout. And getting ready, then getting my cycle and ride to the commercial gym seemed a drag after 10 hours in the office.

Thus, I needed a home that I can access at any moment!
And I started building my home gym!

I had to research a lot to build my home gym and decided to share effective, budget friendly home gym machines, nutrition to buy as per your goals here in

If you have question then contact here

Ps: Author is highly experienced with making small workout routines, understanding and guiding people to get gym equipment and set up home gym as per their Fitness goals.

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