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Thread: Bent Over Barbell Rows

  1. #1
    Senior Member scrawnybastard's Avatar
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    Bent Over Barbell Rows

    Can anyone direct me to a video of it done properly. Many youtube videos seem to conflict with each other.
    I'll have to gain a bunch of weight just to be skinny, and then a bunch more to even look like I lift weights.
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  2. #2
    All Natural Power Lunar Effect's Avatar
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    Last edited by Lunar Effect; 10-30-2008 at 12:37 AM.

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    Moderator joey54's Avatar
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    Not saying those two had great form, but isn't it funny how many big guys are used as examples of how not to do exercises?
    Last edited by joey54; 10-30-2008 at 05:09 AM.


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    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joey54 View Post
    Not saying those two had great form, but isn't it funny how many big guys are used as examples of how not to do exercises?
    I thought that too, but I'd bet that it was other stuff that contributed to getting them to look the way they do. Those rows look more like some kind of shrug variation or something. I dunno what the hell they were.

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    I don't do them this way (I do them from the floor, explosive, with more body English ) but here's a good example of a 'bodybuilder' row:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sx0ZxDxLBfo

  6. #6
    Senior Member FFHill's Avatar
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    LOL. This vid was posted by another member for a form check, but check out the rows in the background. hahahaha

    Video

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    Supplement Junkie MattBag's Avatar
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    lol did he mean to do a deadlift?
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  8. #8
    Who is John Galt? CrazyK's Avatar
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    I like to use an underhand grip, overhand doesn't hit my lats well at all.
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    All Natural Power Lunar Effect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyK View Post
    I like to use an underhand grip, overhand doesn't hit my lats well at all.
    We had a discussion about that very thing a few weeks ago. Interesting to hear the different feedback on that. I always felt like the overhand grip hit my lats much harder than the underhand grip, but I will sometimes use an underhand grip if I need to break through a plateau. To me an overhand grip feels more like back pulling, whereas an underhand grip feels more like arm pulling.

  10. #10
    Senior Member ELmx479's Avatar
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    I like the overhand grip myself. I had a guy tell me that dumbbell rows worked your chest because your pulling towards your chest

  11. #11
    SchModerator ZenMonkey's Avatar
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    Dont forget to squeeze at the top like a concentration curl. Narrow grip will help too. Bring the bar to your belly button w/ torso at 45 degrees.
    Sarvamangalam!

  12. #12
    small flabby and hairy joelhall's Avatar
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    i always used an overhand grip kinda narrow with my torso flatter than 45 degrees (around 20 degrees) and a squeeze/pause at the top, but ive dropped bent rows in favour of pendlay rows. found these easier on my dodgy leg going heavy, and better for building strength. with bent rows i could only use 170lbs because of my leg, with pendlays, with text-book form (and only brief rest between reps) i can easily top 200 + for reps.

    ive never had much response from my lats with rows, but ive found it awesome for my upper back and rear delts. anyone else do pendlays?

  13. #13
    SchModerator ZenMonkey's Avatar
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    I am really considering doing pendlays instead of BO rows after my current split cycle.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member OGROK's Avatar
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    IMO Pendlay rows are one of the worst ways to do them. The way Yates did rows was the best. By bending over only slightly and pausing at the top you are putting you lats at a mechanical advantage, you are minimizing the amount of hip drive you can use which lets you train with more intensity, and you are moving more weight.
    Last edited by OGROK; 10-30-2008 at 03:36 PM.

  15. #15
    The Flyfisher rbtrout's Avatar
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    Interesting comments. I seem to get my lats hit by pulling the bar up higher on my mid-section - not belly button level, but lower chest.

    On those 2 vids of bad form - notice that they're throwing around alot of weight instead of practicing good form. They seemed to have forgotten to check their egos at the door.
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  16. #16
    All Natural Power Lunar Effect's Avatar
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    Pendlay Rows are the absolute best way to develop power and strength. I do the them exclusively. I keep my back as close to parallel to the floor as possible, although with heavier weight this often gets compromised. I like to rotate my grip from close to wide every so often.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OGROK View Post
    By bending over only slightly and pausing at the top you are putting you lats at a mechanical advantage
    No, you are putting your traps at mechanical advantage.

    And they are not called Pendlay rows. He did not invent them, and never claimed to.
    Last edited by coldfire; 10-31-2008 at 10:35 AM.

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    I try to stay parallel to the floor when doing my rows. This post below from madcow on the Elite Fitness Forums is why I chose to learn them over yates style rows when I first started doing barbell rows

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ok - think about how the body is meant to perform a rowing motion - like a rowboat or better yet a crew shell since this puppy is made for speed and setup most advantageously for each rower. They are pulling directly into themselves, meaning that they are perpendicular to the resistence (their torso for the most part is at 90 degrees to the plane of water which serves as the resistence). I will throw in the caveate that the torso is not stationary during the row and it is very much a full body pull but you do get the point. Your back's primary rowing power is directly back. This allows the lats to be most heavily activated throughout the range of motion.

    Translating that motion into weights, the resistence for a weight is gravity which is on a vertical plane contrary to water's horizontal plane - both are the respective sources of resistence. Where the rower was upright at 90 degrees to the horizontal resistence, the weightlifter's resistence is now vertical - so 90 degrees to vertical means your back is horizontal to the floor.

    So that's the essence of where the 90 degrees comes from.

    Moving beyond that, rowing is a fairly fundemental motion and with significant weight it is hard to stay perfectly still and I'd venture a bit unnatural - you will find there are more dynamic methods of rowing with a barbell out there but this is the base (see the Johnsmith182 sticky at meso's training board linked here if you are curious - excellent read by the way - best 20 minutes you will spend: http://forum.mesomorphosis.com/showthread.php?t=12). So anyway, you tend to pull back a bit with heavy weight anyway and that is how rows should be done heavy and explosive. You should be accelerating that bar into your body. So someone starting at 90 degrees generally ends up cheating back just a bit and that's okay.

    In addition, a lot of guys lack the flexability to keep their back flat and perform the exercise as they get near the 90 degree point. In that case you shoot for 90 degrees but you go to where your body is comfortable.

    The reason why I stress it is because we have all seen the dochebags in the gym standing almost vertical and rowing through a minute range of motion. This is . It doesn't allow for proper activation of the lats since you aren't pulling in but up, the range of motion is drastically reduced, and on top of that you wind up looking like a moron so there's really nothing good to come of it.

    As for starting the motion at 45 degrees, I can't say it's optimal unless you can't get any lower (in which case flexability work or core strengthening would be my suggestion depending on the issue causing this). If you start at 45 degrees and row hard, you'll find yourself above 45 degrees at peak contraction and possibly significantly. Your range of motion is cut, your lats aren't getting proper activation because you are no longer pulling in but pulling up and you will end up relying on other muscles to generate the momentum (and that necessitates further straightening of the back).

    So anyway, it's a soft rule when I say 90 degrees. I am fairly flexible and I can get close but not a full 90 (you see this in the goodmorning too - everyone has a different range of motion). That said, the soft rule is meant to provide the necessary margin to correctly perform the exercise. There is a hard rule right behind it saying that you absolutely must come as close as you are able to the 90 degrees. Significant deviation compromises the exercise.

    Huge reply but it's better to give someone the full explanation. Give it some thought and do some rowing in the gym the next time - performing the motion makes it crystal clear. Be sure to work on accelerating the rep. A rower accelerates the oar through the water working harder and harder throughout the range of the stroke. He doesn't stop pulling hard once he gets the oar moving. This is critical to rowing success in the gym but watch your rib cage on the light ones.
    Last edited by Cmanuel; 10-31-2008 at 08:10 AM.

  19. #19
    All Natural Power Lunar Effect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldfire View Post
    And they are not called Pendlay rows. He did not invent them, and never claimed to.
    That's true. A "Pendlay Row" is actually the correct way to do a Barbell Row.

  20. #20
    Senior Member OGROK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lunar Effect View Post
    That's true. A "Pendlay Row" is actually the correct way to do a Barbell Row.
    No it's not. This is the kind of Rippetoe bull**** attitude that I hate. There are many, many different ways to do a barbell row. And the Yates row does place your lats at a mechanical advantage because the traps can assist and b/c of the angle at which you are pulling which is just better than 90 degrees, which turns it into a dynamic movement that is poor at building muscle. Pendlay rows suck at building muscle because it barely puts the muscle under tension for more than a second.

    Who made Pendlay rows the "correct" way to do them? Is there some secret powerlifting federation that does barbell rows instead of deadlifts? It's all bull****.

    Don't quote Madcow. He's just some guy from the internet who regurgitated Bill Starr's training program. There is nothing special about Madcow and he shouldn't be looked up to.

    Look at just about any Mr. Olympia and you won't find any of them doing Pendlay rows. They all do Yates-style rows. And don't bring up that bull**** "they use steroids" argument, they are all using steroids on a level playing field and if Pendlay rows were so great they would use Pendlay rows instead of Yates rows but that isn't the case.
    Last edited by OGROK; 10-31-2008 at 11:14 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OGROK View Post
    No it's not. This is the kind of Rippetoe bull**** attitude that I hate. There are many, many different ways to do a barbell row. And the Yates row does place your lats at a mechanical advantage because the traps can assist and b/c of the angle at which you are pulling which is just better than 90 degrees, which turns it into a dynamic movement that is poor at building muscle. Pendlay rows suck at building muscle because it barely puts the muscle under tension for more than a second.

    Who made Pendlay rows the "correct" way to do them? Is there some secret powerlifting federation that does barbell rows instead of deadlifts? It's all bull****.

    Don't quote Madcow. He's just some guy from the internet who regurgitated Bill Starr's training program. There is nothing special about Madcow and he shouldn't be looked up to.

    Look at just about any Mr. Olympia and you won't find any of them doing Pendlay rows. They all do Yates-style rows. And don't bring up that bull**** "they use steroids" argument, they are all using steroids on a level playing field and if Pendlay rows were so great they would use Pendlay rows instead of Yates rows but that isn't the case.
    What the hell does Rippetoe have to do with this? Glenn stated many times that these are standard Barbell Rows and he didn't invent them.

    You are contradicting yourself by saying that you put the lats in mechanical advantage and then you say that the traps can pull more.

    Madcow is very intelligent and knows way more than your people at Mr. Olympia.
    Oh, look, Ronnie is doing partial benches. That's probably the better way because it puts you in mechanical advantage, right?

    And accelerating the bar sucks at building muscle. Just look at all the weightlifters and powerlifters.
    Time under tension with the pink dumbells rule!

    And I think your attitue is the main bull**** here.
    Last edited by coldfire; 10-31-2008 at 11:39 AM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member OGROK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldfire View Post
    What the hell does Rippetoe have to do with this? Glenn stated many times that these are standard Barbell Rows and he didn't invent them.

    You are contradicting yourself by saying that you put the lats in mechanical advantage and then you say that the traps can pull more.

    Madcow is very intelligent and knows way more than your people at Mr. Olympia.
    Oh, look, Ronnie is doing partial benches. That's probably the better way because it puts you in mechanical advantage, right?

    And accelerating the bar sucks at building muscle. Just look at all the weightlifters and powerlifters.
    Time under tension with the pink dumbells rule!

    And I think your attitue is the main bull**** here.
    I am not contradicting myself at all on the Yates rows. Your traps assist more which lets you lats pull harder than if you tried to do them from a 90 degree angle. Sure, pulling from the 90 degree angle isolates the lats more, but it also severely limits how much stress you can place on them.

    We don't even know who Madcow is. There are no pictures of him on the internet, just some crap he wrote up about periodization. If I had to guess, he would probably be a 40 something year old nerdy exercise science major who never made it big himself.

    Ronnie does partial benches to keep constant tension on the muscle and to keep the weight off the joints, which causes more fiber damage. These guys are professionals and you are an idiot if you think you know more about bodybuilding than them. They aren't just steroid gorillas, they know what they are doing and that's why they are bigger and stronger than you.

    If you ever watch the IPF lifting events most powerlifters don't look like bodybuilders at all. You watch some fat trucker-looking guy and ordinary, average-looking people with no visible muscle mass lift big weights for a single fast rep. Olympic lifters have big legs and that's it... And most of them look like regular people too. Sure, when you see them on TV there are some guys that are big and strong and look vaguely like bodybuilders, but these guys are the top 0.0001% of olympic lifters.
    Last edited by OGROK; 10-31-2008 at 11:59 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OGROK View Post
    I am not contradicting myself at all on the Yates rows. Your traps assist more which lets you lats pull harder than if you tried to do them from a 90 degree angle.
    Contraditing yourself again. Allowing the traps to pull more doen't make that lats work harder. Why not just switch to shrugs?
    Sure, pulling from the 90 degree angle isolates the lats more, but it also severely limits how much stress you can place on them.
    Says who?

    We don't even know who Madcow is. There are no pictures of him on the internet, just some crap he wrote up about periodization. If I had to guess, he would probably be a 40 something year old nerdy exercise science major who never made it big himself.
    I don't need to know how someone looks to understand if what he speaks makes sense or not. Maybe that's your problem.

    Ronnie does partial benches to keep constant tension on the muscle and to keep the weight off the joints, which causes more fiber damage. If you ever watch the WPO lifting events most powerlifters don't look like bodybuilders at all. You watch some fat trucker-looking guy and ordinary, weak-looking people lift big weights for a single fast rep. Olympic lifters have big legs and that's it... And most of them look like regular people too.
    Have you seen Dave Tate after he lost some fat? Have you seen Marius?
    Olympic lifters have big legs and that's it? This is just silly.

    And what are you? Advanced bodybuilder? You are just a 200 pounder (natural?) lifter. What applies to them doesn't apply to you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OGROK View Post
    No it's not. This is the kind of Rippetoe bull**** attitude that I hate. There are many, many different ways to do a barbell row. And the Yates row does place your lats at a mechanical advantage because the traps can assist and b/c of the angle at which you are pulling which is just better than 90 degrees, which turns it into a dynamic movement that is poor at building muscle. Pendlay rows suck at building muscle because it barely puts the muscle under tension for more than a second.

    Who made Pendlay rows the "correct" way to do them? Is there some secret powerlifting federation that does barbell rows instead of deadlifts? It's all bull****.

    Don't quote Madcow. He's just some guy from the internet who regurgitated Bill Starr's training program. There is nothing special about Madcow and he shouldn't be looked up to.

    Look at just about any Mr. Olympia and you won't find any of them doing Pendlay rows. They all do Yates-style rows. And don't bring up that bull**** "they use steroids" argument, they are all using steroids on a level playing field and if Pendlay rows were so great they would use Pendlay rows instead of Yates rows but that isn't the case.

    Bitter much?

  25. #25
    mind/body zen's Avatar
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    lats & traps... lats & traps... and here my dumbarse always thought he was trying to hit the Rhomboids, Teres and Infraspinatus.
    'In order to alter the inertial mass of weights, you must become one with them, like a machine, the totality of your motion is as one'

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