Bent Over Row


A bent-over row (or barbell row) is a weight training exercise that targets a variety of back muscles. Which ones are targeted varies on form. The bent over row is often used for both bodybuilding and powerlifting. It is a good exercise for increasing strength and size.


  1. Starting Position: Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width, with your toes pointed forward or slightly outward. Position your feet so that the balls of your feet align under the bar.
  2. Squat down to grasp the bar just wider than the knees with either a knuckles forward or palms forward grip. Position the bar 1" in front of your feet.
  3. Prepare for the lift by keeping the spine in neutral, shoulder blades pulling down and back, chest lifted and head in line with your spine (or chin slightly raised). Your heels should be on the floor, and your shoulders over or slightly in front of the bar. Your eyes should be facing forward or slightly upward.
  4. Upward Phase: Before lifting, Brace your core and abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine. Lift the bar off the floor by simultaneously straightening your hips and knees to a 3/4 upright position where the barbell rests midway up your thigh with your arms straight.
  5. Slowly pull the bar toward your torso until it touches your abdomen. Maintain a rigid spine without any movement or change in the shape in your back. Keep both feet firmly planted on the floor while maintaining a slight bend in the knees and hips.
  6. Downward Phase: Slowly lower the bar back to the starting position while maintaining your back, hip, knee and foot position. Keep the shoulder blades squeezing together and the abdominal muscles engaged. Repeat.


  1. Technique is very important in this lift. The tendency is to increase the curve in the low back during the lifting phase.
  2. Engage your abdominals to maintain a normal-to-flat spine through the entire lift.


  1. Do not hunch your back to help you lift the weight.
  2. Do not allow your elbows to move away from your body. Keep you elbows close to your sides.
  3. Do not lock your knees or elbows.
  4. Do not bend your wrists or neck.


Target Muscles

Middle Back

Additional Muscles