Step 3: The Descent
The final part of the bent-over row is lowering the weight back down to the floor in a controlled manner.
This is basically a mirror image of what you did to stand up.
Quickly lower the bar toward the ground until your arms are locked, and then drop your hips enough for the weight to reach the floor.
Your back should remain locked in its neutral position the entire time, and your core should remain tight. Don’t try to lower the bar slowly or quietly. The entire descent should take no more than a second.
You’re now ready for the next rep.
Many people don’t stop to reset in between reps and instead only lower the bar a few inches above the floor, like a Romanian deadlift. This is fine if you’re using light weights, but I prefer to reset between every rep—what some people refer to as a “Pendlay row” (named after Olympic weightlifting coach Glenn Pendlay).
In this case, you fully lower the weight to the ground after each rep and reset your bottom position—including your breath—before starting the next rep. This makes it easier to maintain proper form (and thus may reduce your risk of injury) and basically becomes a necessity once you start using heavy weights if you’re going to stay strict on your form.
That’s it for the classic barbell bent-over row!
If you want to run off and practice a little, grab a broomstick, pool cue, or similar implement and work through the movement.