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Back Rows

Back rows are a fundamental strength training exercise that targets the muscles of the upper back, aiding in the development of strength, improving posture, and enhancing overall athletic performance

The Benefits of Back Rows 

Improved Posture: Back rows help strengthen the muscles responsible for retracting and stabilizing the shoulder blades, aiding in maintaining proper posture.

Increased Upper Body Strength: By targeting the rhomboids, trapezius, and posterior deltoids, back rows contribute to greater upper body strength and muscle development.

Injury Prevention: Strengthening the upper back and shoulder muscles can help alleviate neck and shoulder pain and reduce the risk of injuries.

Enhanced Athletic Performance: Strong back muscles are crucial for activities such as lifting, pulling, and throwing, making back rows beneficial for athletes and individuals participating in various sports.

Back Rows Muscle Worked

Back Rows Muscle Worked

 

Back rows primarily target the muscles of the upper back, but they also engage several other muscle groups. Here are the main muscles worked during back rows

Rhomboids

The rhomboids are located in the middle of the upper back and are responsible for retracting the shoulder blades. They are highly activated during back rows, helping to improve posture and strengthen the upper back.

Trapezius

The trapezius is a large muscle that covers the upper back and neck. During back rows, the middle and lower fibers of the trapezius are engaged, helping to stabilize and retract the shoulder blades.

Posterior Deltoids

The posterior deltoids, or rear delts, are the muscles located at the back of the shoulders. They assist in shoulder extension and are worked during back rows, contributing to improved shoulder strength and stability.

Biceps Brachii

The biceps brachii muscles, located in the front of the upper arms, act as synergists during back rows. While not the primary target, they assist in elbow flexion as you pull the weight toward your body.

Forearm Muscles

The muscles of the forearm, including the brachioradialis and wrist flexors, are also engaged during back rows to help grip and stabilize the weight.

7 Barbell Rows to Building a Strong Back

  • Barbell Rows
  • Upright Rows
  • Landmine Rows
  • Inverted Row
  • Bent over Row
  • Pendlay Rows
  • Seal Row

Barbell Rows

Performing barbell rows is an excellent way to target your upper back, including the lats, traps, and rhomboids.

barbell row ifast

 

Set Up: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, bend at the hips, and grip the barbell with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width.

Grip: Grasp the bar with palms facing your body (pronated grip).

Body Position: Keep a straight back, chest up, and engage your core.

Lift: Pull the barbell towards your lower chest or upper abdomen, squeezing your shoulder blades together.

Full Range of Motion: Ensure a complete range of motion during both the lift and descent.

Mastering barbell rows requires practice and proper form. Begin with lighter weights, gradually progressing as you improve.

Read More: How to do barbell rows

Upright Rows

Upright Rows

 

Start Position: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.Hold a barbell with an overhand grip, hands slightly closer than shoulder-width.

Lift: Pull the barbell straight up toward your chin, leading with your elbows. Keep the bar close to your body.

Barbell Height: Aim to bring the bar just below your chin or to upper chest level. 

Lower: Lower the barbell back down in a controlled manner.

Upright Rows are effective for developing shoulder muscles but should be done with attention to form and individual fitness levels. 

Read More: How to do upright rows

Landmine Rows

Landmine Rows

 

Setup: Use a landmine attachment or securely place one end of a barbell into a corner. Load weight on the opposite end.

Positioning: Stand perpendicular to the barbell. Maintain a slight knee bend with a straight back.

Grip: Hold the free end of the barbell with an overhand grip.

Execution: Pull the barbell toward your hip, keeping the elbow close. Squeeze your shoulder blades at the top.

Lowering: Lower the barbell in a controlled manner.

Read More: How to do landmine rows

Inverted Row

The inverted row is an effective bodyweight exercise that targets the muscles of the upper back, including the rhomboids, trapezius, and posterior deltoids. It can be performed using a suspension trainer or a bar placed at waist height. 

Inverted Row

 

Set up: Position yourself facing the bar or suspension trainer. Grab the bar or handles with an overhand grip, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms fully and walk your feet forward, leaning back until your body is at an incline.

Body Position: Keep your body in a straight line from head to heels, engaging your core and glutes. Your arms should be fully extended, and your shoulders should be pulled down and back.

Pulling Motion: Initiate the movement by retracting your shoulder blades and bending your elbows. Pull your chest towards the bar or handles while keeping your body straight. Aim to bring your chest close to the bar or handles.

Squeeze and Lower: At the top of the movement, squeeze your shoulder blades together to fully engage the upper back muscles. Pause briefly in this position. Then, slowly lower yourself back to the starting position with control, fully extending your arms.

Read More: How to do inverted row

Bent over Row

Bent over Row

 

Set up: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold a barbell with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Your palms should be facing down.

Starting position: Hinge forward at the hips while keeping a straight back. Your torso should be at roughly a 45-degree angle to the floor. Let the barbell hang in front of you at arm's length.

Pulling motion: Initiate the movement by pulling the barbell towards your lower chest or upper abdomen. Keep your elbows close to your body as you lift the weight.

Squeeze and lower: At the top of the movement, squeeze your shoulder blades together and pause for a moment to engage the upper back muscles fully. Then, lower the barbell back down to the starting position in a controlled manner.

Remember to engage your core and maintain a neutral spine throughout the exercise. 

Read More: How to do bent over

Pendlay Rows

Pendlay rows are a variation of the barbell row exercise that focus on targeting the muscles of the upper back, including the rhomboids, trapezius, and latissimus dorsi. They also engage the biceps, forearms, and core muscles. 

Pendlay Rows

 

Set up: Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Place a barbell on the floor in front of you. 

Grip the bar: Bend down and grab the bar with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Your palms should be facing down.

Starting position: With a straight back, hinge forward at the hips until your torso is parallel to the floor. Your knees should be bent, and your back should be at a slight angle, not completely parallel to the ground.

Pulling motion: Initiate the movement by pulling the barbell towards your lower chest or upper abdomen. Keep your elbows close to your body as you lift the weight. The barbell should touch your body at the top of the movement.

Squeeze and lower: At the top of the movement, squeeze your shoulder blades together and pause for a moment to engage the upper back muscles fully. Then, lower the barbell back down to the floor in a controlled manner, making sure to reset your form before each rep.

Seal Row

The seal row is a variation of the bent-over row exercise that primarily targets the muscles of the upper back, including the rhomboids, trapezius, and latissimus dorsi. It also engages the biceps, forearms, and core muscles.

Seal Row

 

Set up: Start by positioning a barbell on a rack or platform at about knee height. Place a bench or step in front of the barbell.

Grip the bar: Bend down and grab the bar with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Your palms should be facing down.

Position yourself: Step onto the weight bench or platform, with your torso parallel to the floor. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, and your knees should be slightly bent.

Starting position: With a straight back, hinge forward at the hips until your torso is parallel to the floor. Your arms should be fully extended, and the barbell should be off the rack or platform.

Pulling motion: Initiate the movement by pulling the barbell towards your lower chest or upper abdomen. Keep your elbows close to your body as you lift the weight.

Squeeze and lower: At the top of the movement, squeeze your shoulder blades together and pause for a moment to engage the upper back muscles fully. Then, lower the barbell back down to the starting position in a controlled manner.

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