How to do a Barbell Row

How to do a Barbell Row

In this lesson you will learn how to do barbell rows. The barbell row is a back exercise where you learn forward and pull up a barbell up to your trunk. This exercise is the opposite to the barbell bench press. If you want a strong upper body. the barbell row should definitely be part of your routine. Barbell rows in particular develop the latissimus dorsi and are very good for the thickness of your upper back muscles. Find more back exercises at weight training and bodybuilding.


  • Stand with your feet one shoulder width apart and keep your back straight. It is very important that you don't relax your lower back. You can slightly hollow your back, but rounding is not ok. If you want to support your lower back, use a weight lifting belt. Bend forward and grasp the barbell with an overgrip while maintaining your back straight. After lifting the weight, your upper body should remain aligned horizontally and your knees should be slightly bent. Distance between hands: 1,5 shoulder widths. Don't let your shoulders hang. Pull them up an during the entire exercise. Inhale before you lift the barbell from the floor and exhale when you lift it. Elbows, shoulders and hands are lined up vertically. The head contributes a great part to the position of the spine. If you bend your head down, you will automatically round your back, which is not good for your spinal disks. I recommend you do your barbell rows looking straight forward into a mirror. This way you will not round your back.
  • Lift the barbell until the bar touches your lower upper abdominals. Keep your shoulders high and exhale at the same time. Don't stand up as you lift the weight. The legs and the back remain still. Don't look to the bar or to the floor. The movement should feel comfortable for your joints and you should be able to feel your altissimo work. The up motion should be a bit faster than the down motion (approx. 2 seconds).
  • Then move the barbell back down without lowering the shoulders. The down-motion should be slightly slower than the up-motion. Don't let the weight fall. Inhale at the same time and keep your shoulders, your back and your legs still.


  • Never buckle.
  • The most popular back exercises are the barbell row, the chin up and the barbell deadlift.
  • Avoid this exercise if you have lower back problems. There are also rowing machines with a support for your upper body.
  • Stretch your shoulders, your back and your arms between sets and exercises.