Top Bodybuilder’s Favorite Types of Bent-Over Row (and How to Do Them with Proper Form)

How to Barbell Bent-Over Row with Proper Form

We’re going to take a few minutes to discuss how to barbell bent-over row with perfect form because this is the most effective and technically demanding type of row you can do.

Furthermore, the skill you develop on this exercise will serve you well on all other types of rowing that you do.

So, there are three parts to bent-over rowing with proper form:

  1. The setup, where you position your body to pull the weight off of the floor.
  2. The ascent, where you pull the weight from the floor to your torso.
  3. The descent, where you return the weight to the floor.

Every aspect of bent-over row technique—whether it’s grip, foot placement, back angle, or anything else—can be filed under one of these three categories.

When it all comes together properly, it looks like this:

Watch Mark do those bent-over rows a few times and note the following points:

  • His feet are about 6 to 12 inches apart (taller people will generally prefer a wider stance).
  • His hands are about 3 to 6 inches wider than his shoulders.
  • There’s minimal movement in his lower body during the lift (as you get stronger you’ll inevitably use your legs to help out more, but you don’t want it to turn into a bastardized deadlift).
  • He brings the bar all the way up to his torso without jerking his back to build momentum.
  • He allows the weight to return to the floor in a controlled manner.

As the barbell bent-over row is the most common and widely considered the most effective kind of bent-over row, we’ll focus on how to do that. If you can do a barbell bent-over row properly, then you’ll also have no trouble doing the other variations with good form.

Let’s take a closer look at each of the three phases of the movement, starting with the setup.

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