How to do Pendlay/Barbell Rows Correctly and Safely

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INTRODUCTION: PENDLAY ROW VS BENT OVER BARBELL ROW

The Row is regarded as one of the best upper body exercises available, as it strengthens and develops a key muscle group that is often neglected- the back. There are many different variaitons you can perform which uses your bodyweight, dumbbells, or barbells. In this tutorial we will be discussing the Pendlay Barbell Row.

Often times, when people perform barbell rows, they do it with varying degrees of back angles, varying ranges of motion, and they may use a significant amount of momentum.  As such, there is no way to standardize the exercise and it is difficult to ensure that you are training the appropriate muscles.

Pendlay rows are different in that the barbell always starts on the floor, and they are meant to be strict, with your back flat. In doing so, the exercise is much harder and ensures that you are training the appropriate muscles.

We do not think it is necessary to perform the exercise completely strict, therefore we will teach a hybrid of the two exercises in this tutorial.

PENDLAY BARBELL ROW FORM VIDEO

 

BENEFITS OF THE PENDLAY BARBELL ROW

  • Strengthens the lower and upper back muscles including the rhomboids, the mid-trapezius, the posterior shoulders and the latissimus dorsi

  • Helps re-establish proper shoulder positioning that happens from poor posture

  • Strengthens the core and overall lower body strength as you need to lift the bar off the floor into the proper position for every repetition

 

MUSCLES WORKED DURING THE BARBELL ROW

  • Rhomboids

  • Posterior Deltoids

  • Mid-Low Trapezius

  • Latissimus Dorsi

  • Forearms/Grip

  • Core Stabilizers

  • Hamstrings

 

PERFORMING THE PENDLAY BARBELL ROW WITH PROPER TECHNIQUE

  • Load an olympic barbell with the desired weights

  • The bar should be positioned at the mid shin level (you can place pads underneath your weight plates to get the barbell to the appropriate height)

  • Approach the bar and set your stance at shoulder width with you feet facing forward. Your shins should almost be touching the bar

  • Bend down and grab the bar at a distance that is slightly wider than your shoulder width

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  • Straighten your back, brace your core and ensure that your spine remains neutral throughout the entire exercise

  • When looking from the side, your back should almost be parallel to the floor

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  • Squeeze your lat muscles, take a breath and begin lifting the bar off the floor as if you are performing a deadlift

  • Once the bar has cleared the ground, begin rowing the barbell up towards your upper abdomen

  • You can initiate the row by driving your elbows up towards the ceiling and actively retracting your scapulae together

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  • Once the bar has made contact with your body, reverse the movement back down to the floor

  • Your spine should never change its alignment and your back angle should never go past 45 degrees

 

SUMMARY OF THE bARBELL ROW TECHNIQUE 

 

 

Click on each blue circle to view the key technical aspects of this exercise

 

COMMON MISTAKES

USING TOO MUCH MOMENTUM
 

It is important to use some degree of momentum to initiate the row, but it's easy to get carried away. If your back angle is changing more than 45 degrees from the start of the lift, then the weight is too heavy.

 

ALLOWING YOUR BACK ANGLE TO BECOME TOO VERTICAL

Again, if your back angle is changing more than 45 degrees from the start of the lift, then the weight is too heavy.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

DUMBBELL ROW VS BARBELL ROW: WHY NOT USE DUMBBELLS?

The dumbbell row is a great variation that you can perform, however, you are limited by the amount of weight that you can use on this exercise. Either way, it is important to cycle different rowing variation into your own program to benefit from the unique advantageous that each variation provides.

 

 

 

Check out a full list of our other exercises here

 

Alex & Brittany Robles are the founders of The White Coat Trainer, a site dedicated to improving the health and wellness of busy individuals. Learn more about them here and connect with them on instagram and Twitter. Feel free to send them a message here