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  • Jack Wilson

How to Perform Barbell & Dumbbell Bent-Over Rows With Proper Technique

Bent-over rows and barbell exercises help in building thickness in the upper back and strength in the lower back. It helps to improve stability during your workouts and targets the lats and rhomboids, plus, it works on the biceps, traps, core, and delts. When performed using proper form, it can bring a huge difference in your body and the way you do your workouts.

The majority of the people at the gym dothe bent-over rows the wrong way which could result in back injuries, spinal disc herniation and, to some extent, poor body posture.

Keeping that in mind, here is a great guide that explains how to perform barbell and dumbbell bent-over rows with the right technique. We’ll start off with dumbbell bent-over rows.

1. One Arm Dumbbell Row

As the name insists, the one arm dumbbell row targets one side of the lat at a time, resulting in strength and stability. It also helps to improve your performance in the majority of the lifts you perform at the gym.

This exercise will target your trapezius, infraspinatus, teres minor, teres major, latissimus dorsi, posterior deltoid, brachialis, and brachioradialis.

Here is how to perform it the right way.

Grab a pair of dumbbells of your desired weight. Take a flat bench and place your right leg by bending your knee on the top of the bench, while using your right hand at the front of the bench for support. Your left leg will be extended with your left foot on the floor for added stability.

Using your left hand, grab the dumbbell with the palm facing towards your body. Make sure your lower back is straight and neutral throughout the exercise. This will be your starting position.

Finally, take a deep breath and pull the dumbbell until it reaches the side of the chest just below the left armpit. Hold this position for a second by squeezing the lats and gradually lower the dumbbell back to starting position. Make sure that when you lower the dumbbell it is slow and steady without any rumbling or imbalance.


Perform at least 4 sets of 12-16 reps and repeat the same with the right side.

Mistakes to Avoid:

  1. The elbow should not go too far back.

  2. Prevent the head from protracting forward.

  3. Keep the spine position neutral throughout the exercise.

  4. Don’t bend the leg on the floor.


2. Bent-Over Barbell Row

Perhaps one of the most powerful exercises that targets a lot of muscles in the back region, and to some extend, in the legs as well. However, you should stack it with your back routine. It helps to strengthen the mid-area of your back. Before starting, make sure that you avoid slouching the back to prevent any injury and use a kidney belt for support (if needed).

Bent-over barbell rows targets the trapezius, infraspinatus, rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, posterior deltoid, teres minor, teres major and brachialis.

Hold the barbell and load it with your desired weight. Position your feet at shoulder’s width and hold the barbell with a supinated grip. Bend the knees and bring the torso forward by bending at the waist. However, keep the back straight and almost parallel to the floor for maximum stability. This will be your starting position.

Pull the barbell up into your bellybutton. Your torso should remain stationary and your back parallel to the floor. As it reaches the midsection, hold this position for a second or two. Squeeze the lats while holding this position.


Now gradually lower the weight, focus on the stretch and don’t let the weights bounce off the floor. Perform 4 four sets of 8-12 reps. You can increase the weight gradually.

Mistakes to Avoid:

  1. Do not lock the knees out.

  2. Never perform it standing on a bench.

  3. Do not roll the lower back. It must remain parallel throughout the exercise.

  4. It must be a row, not a barbell curl. The palms must always face the floor.

By incoroporating only these two exercises with your back routine with proper technique and avoiding unnecessary movements can boost your back growth to a whole other level.

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