For decades, power lifters and exercise enthusiasts alike have been using the Bent- Over Barbell Row to develop significant strength and size in their backs. The main muscle group targeted here is the middle back; however the lats and rhomboids are also called into activation, as well as the core. This powerful exercise is exceptionally beneficial but can also be dangerous for those not trained in it properly. Proper form and technique are essential. Please read carefully:

1. Grab a barbell, load some weight on it and set it down in front of you.
2. Stand with your feet at around shoulder width, bend at the knees and squat down to grip the bar with and overhand grip (thumbs at the bottom) and your hands wider than shoulder width apart.
3. Keeping your back straight, stand straight up so you’re holding the bar in front of you against your waist.
4. To get into the starting position bend your knees slightly, and while keeping your back straight let the barbell slide down your thighs until it drops just below knee level. This is the stance that should not change throughout the set.
5. Now pull the bar up to just below your chest.
6. Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement.
7. Then slowly lower back to the start position.
8. Repeat for desired reps.

A few extra tips to remember:

1. Make sure you bring the bar up to the correct position. Do not bring it up too high (to your chest) or too low (to your stomach).
2. Control the weight throughout the exercise. Don’t allow it to drop quickly and pause for a count of 1 at the top of the movement.
3. And finally (most importantly) keep your back straight! If you bend at the back, you’re using too much weight. Keep your head up, and eyes looking forward throughout the whole movement. You might want to use a weight belt and squeeze the back of the belt with your lower back. This will ensure that you keep your back straight. Do the bent over row in front of a mirror or get a training partner/personal trainer to check your technique.

When done correctly, this is truly one of the best exercises you can do for the back. I recommend getting some in- person instruction first. But once you do, you’ll be hooked!