Step 1: The Setup
The bent-over row starts with the bar on the floor, not on the rack or safety arms or pins.
Walk up to the bar and position your feet so they’re slightly narrower than shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed slightly out.
Then, move the bar toward you until it’s in line with your shoulders or slightly behind it. This will put the bar somewhere between against your shins and over the middle of your feet. For taller or skinnier people, the bar will probably be against their shins. For shorter or thicker people, it’ll settle somewhere around the middle of the feet.
Proper bar position is important because it allows you to pull the bar more or less straight up into your torso and generate maximum power, as opposed to up and in toward or away from your body, which is less efficient.
Next, stand up tall with your chest out and take a deep breath of air into your belly (as opposed to your chest), bracing your abs as if you were about to get punched in the stomach.
Then, move down toward the bar by pushing your hips back and bending slightly at the knees, similar to how you get into position for the deadlift.
Unlike the deadlift, however, you want to start the bent-over barbell row with your hips high and legs straight enough to allow your back to be more or less parallel with the floor.
Next, place your hands on the bar with a double-overhand grip (both palms facing down) a few inches wider than your shins, and squeeze it as hard as you can.
Make sure your shoulders are tucked back and down, your back is flat, and your head is in a neutral position with your eyes focused on a spot 6 to 10 feet in front of you. Don’t look up at the ceiling or down at your feet.
Here’s the final result that we’re going for:
Now you’re ready to ascend.