The barbell row is an outstanding exercise for building a bigger back. It's a basic compound movement that engages several major muscle groups. Not only are the lats worked during the movement, but your biceps, rear delts, lower back muscles and hamstrings are affected.
There are two different methods for performing the barbell row exercise, and each one hits the muscles a little bit differently. Here's a full description of both versions:
Underhand Grip - This method of performing barbell rows begins with your knees slightly bent and upper body positioned at a 45 degree angle to the floor. Grab the barbell with your palms facing the ceiling, thumbs pointing out. Your hands are positioned just outside your waist.
It's important to maintain the same 45 degree angle to the floor as you lower the barbell until your arms are straight. Then pull the bar up into the lower part of your abs, keeping both elbows pulled back toward your waist. This method targets the lower lats and biceps.
Overhand Grip - The other way to do barbell rows is quite different. Keeping your knees bent and lower back arched to protect the lower back muscles, use a wider grip on the bar placing your palms down with thumbs pointed inward. Keep your upper body parallel to the floor, and pull the barbell up to the upper section of your abdominal region.
Lower the bar down for a full stretch while keeping your lower back arched. Pull the bar back up to the upper abs, making sure your elbows are wide and flared at the top of the movement. This puts more stress on the middle lats, taking the effort away from the biceps due to the overhand grip. Also, because of wider hand spacing, this version of the barbell row helps develop the outer lats, which promotes back width. Work both variations into your back training routine.
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