The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Itís no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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Thread: Barbell Rows

  1. #1
    Father of Three Bosch232's Avatar
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    Barbell Rows

    What's the preferred width for hand position for bent over barbell rows?
    Or does it matter much?
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  3. #2
    THE 800 QUEST NickAus's Avatar
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    I Iike shoulder width personally, mix it up.
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  4. #3
    Power Lifting Noob Parker 1995's Avatar
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    shoulder width or maybe a little bit closer is what i do.
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  5. #4
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    Same grip as bench press

  6. #5
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    I mostly do them with my pinkies on the rings but sometimes I do them snatch grip. Never go too close as I just don't feel I get as much out of them. But I definitely feel it differently when I go from pinkies on ring to snatch grip.

  7. #6
    Senior Member tom183's Avatar
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    I prefer just wider than shoulder width.

  8. #7
    WannabePLer fpr's Avatar
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    This is what I do:

    pronated grip = about the same width as I bench, slightly wider than shoulderwidth
    supinated grip = slightly narrower than shouldwidth

  9. #8
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    I always do about shoulder width (just outside my legs).

  10. #9
    Wannabebig Member lawndarts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fpr View Post
    This is what I do:

    pronated grip = about the same width as I bench, slightly wider than shoulderwidth
    supinated grip = slightly narrower than shouldwidth
    ditto

  11. #10
    Pro Strongman | Moderator Tom Mutaffis's Avatar
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    I usually go a little bit wider than shoulder width, similar to bench press grip (someone else recommended this above).
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  12. #11
    Senior Member Allen Cress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bosch232 View Post
    What's the preferred width for hand position for bent over barbell rows?
    Or does it matter much?
    Whatever is a natural grip for you. The biggest thing I see people doing wrong with barbell rows is their technique. People always tend to bend over at a 45 degree angle or higher and this takes the back out of the plane of motion for maximum recruitment. yopu should be right at a 90 degree angle (parallel to the floor) with a flat back and sitting into your hamstrings for support (knees bent). As you row pull the bar towards the chest not the abdomen for even more muscle recruitment and as you go down reach toward yur toes to get a maximum stretch. A muscle stretched with resistance recieves the most overload. Also keep elbows at a soft lockout in the bottow position to keep the brachialias from taking over and keeping the tension on the back. Think about your arms from the elbow down as meat hooks just there to hold the weight.

    The main reason people bend over only 45 degrees or higher is you can use more weight but you are taking away from your back. Also doing bent rows at a 45 degree angle with a reverse grip is dangerous as you place extreme tension on the bicep and could possibly strain or tear it. This is how Dorian Yates tore his.

    Lift smarter, not always just heavier. Train your muscle not your ego.
    Last edited by Allen Cress; 09-02-2010 at 10:19 AM.

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Cress View Post
    Whatever is a natural grip for you. The biggest thing I see people doing wrong with barbell rows is their technique. People always tend to bend over at a 45 degree angle or higher and this takes the back out of the plane of motion for maximum recruitment. yopu should be right at a 90 degree angle (parallel to the floor) with a flat back and sitting into your hamstrings for support (knees bent). As you row pull the bar towards the chest not the abdomen for even more muscle recruitment and as you go down reach toward yur toes to get a maximum stretch. A muscle stretched with resistance recieves the most overload. Also keep elbows at a soft lockout in the bottow position to keep the brachialias from taking over and keeping the tension on the back. Think about your arms from the elbow down as meat hooks just there to hold the weight.

    The main reason people bend over only 45 degrees or higher is you can use more weight but you are taking away from your back. Also doing bent rows at a 45 degree angle with a reverse grip is dangerous as you place extreme tension on the bicep and could possibly strain or tear it. This is how Dorian Yates tore his.

    Lift smarter, not always just heavier. Train your muscle not your ego.
    Ah I always thought you were meant to lift to your hips/abdomen and not your chest. Does this apply to dumbell rows also?

    I do dumbell rows as I find them much easier to keep body at 90 degrees as it's too easy to cheat with barbell rows

  14. #13
    Senior Member Allen Cress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greemah View Post
    Ah I always thought you were meant to lift to your hips/abdomen and not your chest. Does this apply to dumbell rows also?

    I do dumbell rows as I find them much easier to keep body at 90 degrees as it's too easy to cheat with barbell rows
    It easy to cheat with any exercise its up to you not to. If you do DB rows you can row a bit more towards hips but rowing towards chest has greater recruitment

  15. #14
    Father of Three Bosch232's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the input. Especially Allen.
    "A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." ~ C.S. Lewis

  16. #15
    Senior Member kmagnuss's Avatar
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    I'm definitely guilty of using too much weight, going about 45 degrees, and even rocking it up. And yes, it's all about the ego for the most part.... but my traps love it.
    "There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." --James Madison, speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788

  17. #16
    big on TONING dynamo's Avatar
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    interesting...BB Row form adjustment in progress for me.
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  18. #17
    Senior Member Raleighwood's Avatar
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    I really like pendlay rows... Each rep begins and ends on the floor. Much more explosive movement.



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    Last edited by Raleighwood; 09-03-2010 at 08:18 AM.
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  19. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Cress View Post
    Whatever is a natural grip for you. The biggest thing I see people doing wrong with barbell rows is their technique. People always tend to bend over at a 45 degree angle or higher and this takes the back out of the plane of motion for maximum recruitment. yopu should be right at a 90 degree angle (parallel to the floor) with a flat back and sitting into your hamstrings for support (knees bent). As you row pull the bar towards the chest not the abdomen for even more muscle recruitment and as you go down reach toward yur toes to get a maximum stretch. A muscle stretched with resistance recieves the most overload. Also keep elbows at a soft lockout in the bottow position to keep the brachialias from taking over and keeping the tension on the back. Think about your arms from the elbow down as meat hooks just there to hold the weight.

    The main reason people bend over only 45 degrees or higher is you can use more weight but you are taking away from your back. Also doing bent rows at a 45 degree angle with a reverse grip is dangerous as you place extreme tension on the bicep and could possibly strain or tear it. This is how Dorian Yates tore his.

    Lift smarter, not always just heavier. Train your muscle not your ego.
    This is why I think pendlay rows are the way to go. You reset the weight each time which takes your legs and lower back out of the equation so you are only targetting what you need to target, and that is your middle->upper back.

  20. #19
    Senior Member Allen Cress's Avatar
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    The thing I don't like about Pendlay style is you take all the tension off the back and then when you do another rep the initial force is taken by the brachialis, not the back and you end up putting extra strain on your lower lumbar as well. When your in a set postion and have tension in the support system (hamstrings and low back) you will be less likey to strain then if you set the weight down between each rep because their is a tendancy to relax when the weight is on the floor.

    Also For developement puposes their is no time under tension because you reset after each rep and you are not able to get the pre-stretch on the muscle before the concentric part of lift. A muscle stretched with resistance recieves the most overload.

    As long as you train smart and row the weight and not throw it, regular barbell rows work best.
    Last edited by Allen Cress; 09-03-2010 at 03:01 PM.

  21. #20
    Father of Three Bosch232's Avatar
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    I did upper body again this morning, and definitely had to adjust the weight when I went to 90 deg. That's a lot harder.
    "A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." ~ C.S. Lewis

  22. #21
    Senior Member kmagnuss's Avatar
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    Lol... I strained a elbow/bicep tendon today doing rows. Awesome.
    "There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." --James Madison, speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788

  23. #22
    Rory Parker Behemoth's Avatar
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    There's nothing wrong with 45 degree rows. We use different planes of motion for our chest don't we people. It should simply be evaluated what your back goals are. Overall growth I agree stay low. But if you're looking for upper back and trap thickness at the expense of some lat activation then the only ego you need to leave at th e door is the holier-han-thou-form-nazi-ego and stand your ass up. Form and clean reps are important but just as the powerlifter does board presses to improve his sticking point so should the bodybuilder alter the movement to accommodate his weak points.
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  24. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Cress View Post
    The thing I don't like about Pendlay style is you take all the tension off the back and then when you do another rep the initial force is taken by the brachialis, not the back and you end up putting extra strain on your lower lumbar as well. When your in a set postion and have tension in the support system (hamstrings and low back) you will be less likey to strain then if you set the weight down between each rep because their is a tendancy to relax when the weight is on the floor.

    Also For developement puposes their is no time under tension because you reset after each rep and you are not able to get the pre-stretch on the muscle before the concentric part of lift. A muscle stretched with resistance recieves the most overload.

    As long as you train smart and row the weight and not throw it, regular barbell rows work best.
    Old thread but figured id add this...

    I like Pendlay rows because it keeps the stress off my lower back. However, I see what you are saying about doing a soft lockout vs completely locking out. I definitely feel the initial pull with my arms and not my back. My solution for this, to get the best of both worlds, is to put the weight on platforms. So if I need to set the weight down to take the tension off my lower back, I can initiate the pull with my back now as opposed to my arms.

  25. #24
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    Thank you for a real sensible and helpful series of posts. I used to row to my belly, which seemed to work for the time, when I could really feel the latissimus working. But I switched to doing less weight, back at 90' angle, or shall one say torso parallel with the floor, knees bent, supported by the hamstrings, and then rowing with to the upper chest. It has taken me time, but it seems to be working well. I have some lumber elbow, or tennis elbow, so I have had to proceed slowly, but I like these thoughts you have uttered here. It is easy to work the arms too hard, so I have tried to relax the arm muscles by the elbows, and sought to work the back muscles, not squeezing the life out of the bar, but like hooks holding the bar.



    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Cress View Post
    Whatever is a natural grip for you. The biggest thing I see people doing wrong with barbell rows is their technique. People always tend to bend over at a 45 degree angle or higher and this takes the back out of the plane of motion for maximum recruitment. yopu should be right at a 90 degree angle (parallel to the floor) with a flat back and sitting into your hamstrings for support (knees bent). As you row pull the bar towards the chest not the abdomen for even more muscle recruitment and as you go down reach toward yur toes to get a maximum stretch. A muscle stretched with resistance recieves the most overload. Also keep elbows at a soft lockout in the bottow position to keep the brachialias from taking over and keeping the tension on the back. Think about your arms from the elbow down as meat hooks just there to hold the weight.

    The main reason people bend over only 45 degrees or higher is you can use more weight but you are taking away from your back. Also doing bent rows at a 45 degree angle with a reverse grip is dangerous as you place extreme tension on the bicep and could possibly strain or tear it. This is how Dorian Yates tore his.

    Lift smarter, not always just heavier. Train your muscle not your ego.

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