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How to do a Barbell Bent Over Row

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Barbell bent over rows are an exercise that many weightlifters use to primarily strengthen their back muscles. Bent over rows also work the forearms, biceps and shoulder muscles. It is important to use the proper technique during bent over rows, since there are a variety of injuries that may occur from performing the exercise incorrectly.


Always stretch your arm and back muscles before you start your workout. It is a good idea to wear a weight belt for back support when you do bent over rows. You should also consider using a pair of fingerless weightlifting gloves, which will help you to grip the bar. To set up the barbell for rows, place it on the ground and add the amount of weight that you want to lift. Use a clip or collar to keep the weights from sliding off during the lift.

Performing Barbell Bent Over Rows

When you're ready to begin the exercise, bend from the waist and put your hands on the barbell a bit wider than shoulder width. Make sure that you keep your knees slightly bent during the exercise, which will reduce the amount of pressure on your back and hamstrings. Lift the bar up to just below your chest to start the first repetition, then slowly lower it back down toward the ground to finish, but do not let the bar touch the floor. Try to repeat the movement for at least 10 repetitions.

After you finish the last bent over row repetition, stretch your back muscles while you wait to start the next set. You can also loosen up or take off your weight belt between sets for comfort. If you were unable to perform 10 repetitions during the first set, you may want to remove some of the weight for the remaining sets. You can also ask a spotter to help you lift the bar during the last few reps.

Increasing the Intensity

Once you're able to perform barbell bent over rows with the proper form, consider increasing the intensity by adding more weight to the bar. You may want to use wrist straps to help you hold onto the bar once you start to lift a heavier amount of weight. See if you can still do the same number of sets and repetitions with the heavier weight, or remove some plates from the bar if necessary.

You can also increase the intensity of your back workout by doing super sets. There are many different ways you can use super sets during a workout, so you may want to experiment in order to find the right combination of exercises. For example, you could do a set of barbell bent over rows, rest for 30 seconds, then move on to a pushing exercise such as dumbbell presses. By alternating pulling and pushing exercises, you can let your muscles get a little bit of rest between sets.

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