How to Do Back Row Exercise Properly

Back row exercise is great for building muscles in your back.

A row exercise is a workout that involves a pulling motion that attempts to strengthen the muscles that retract your shoulder blades and pull your arms towards your body.

It’s highly recommended to include back row exercise should you want a bulky back. They should be the majority of your exercises if you want to work on your back.

Back row exercise is also highly efficient because they offset the horizontal strain that affects your back every day.

To do this exercise:

  • Bend over at the waist while maintaining a neutral spine.
  • Using your right hand, with your left hand holding on to a bench, raise the barbell towards your navel.
  • Keep your torso still and squeeze your lats.
  • Repeat for eight to 12 reps then switch arms.
  • This is the barbell row.

WHAT MUSCLES DO BACK ROW EXERCISE WORK?

As mentioned earlier, rows are an exercise that works on the muscles that retract your shoulder blades.

Back row exercise specifically targets the upper and mid-back, lats and arms.

LATS

In full, this muscle is known as the latissimus dorsi. It is the most significant muscle in your upper body.

It is what creates the V or winged look of your upper back.

It stretches from the spine to the sides and is a big part of the back length.

This is the primary muscle that moves when doing back row exercise.

DELTOIDS

These are the muscles that make up the shoulder.

When doing back row exercise, the posterior deltoid is the most engaged shoulder muscle.

TRAPEZIUS

This muscle is more frequently referred to as traps.

It sits on the base of the skull to the vertebrae next to your ribs.

It is a stabilizing muscle that helps you when you lift during back row exercise.

RHOMBOIDS

The rhomboid major and minor are found under the traps.

They run from the spine to the medial area of the shoulder blade.

They help with the movement of the shoulder joint.

ERECTOR SPINAE

These are muscles that run along the spine. They help with stability.

When doing back row exercise, these muscles help keep your back aligned.

BICEPS BRACHII

These are the biceps that sit on the front of your upper arm. Their main function is the flexing of the elbow joint.

The biceps help with lifting and pulling. They also help with the rotation of the forearm.

BRACHIALIS

This is a muscle that sits below the biceps and next to the elbow. Its main function is to enable the elbow to flex.

ROTATOR CUFF MUSCLES

These are the teres major, teres minor, and infraspinatus.

They help stabilize the shoulder and enable rotation of the shoulder.

The teres major also assists in lifting weights during back row exercise.

BACK ROW EXERCISE BENEFITS

There are many advantages to adding back row exercise to your workout routine.

REDUCE THE RISK OF INJURY

Back row exercise can be a full-body compound exercise.

Your back, arms, and core work together to make this possible. If you add weight such as a kettlebell, you can also engage your hamstrings and glutes.

During the exercise, the upper body will be moving while the lower body remains static.

This helps you develop better body control which will help minimize the risk of injury when you are doing daily activities.

GIVES REST TO SHOULDERS WHILE STILL WORKING THEM

Back row exercise lessens the strain on your shoulders compared to workouts like pull-ups.

Because back row exercise is done laterally, it reduces the burden on your shoulder joints while still strengthening them.

It also helps maintain the integrity of your posture.

BOOST CORE STRENGTH

Back row exercise engages your core when you lift the weights.

If you do a kettlebell row instead of a barbell row you go through a wider range of motion which can help boost muscle growth in your core.

BURN CALORIES

Back row exercise is a compound exercise that engages multiple body parts.

You expend a lot of energy when doing back row exercises especially if you use resistance bands or kettlebells.

This will help you burn more calories and lose weight.

BUILD BACK MUSCLES

Back row exercise targets the back. It will help work on the lats, traps and help you tone the muscles in your back.

Changing the position and movements helps keep the back muscles engaged and helps you grow your back muscles evenly.

ALTERNATIVES TO BACK ROW EXERCISE

There are many exercises you can do if you are bored with back row exercise and want to try something different that still defines your back muscles.

CABLE LAT PULLDOWN

To do cable lat pulldown exercise:

  • Attach the pulldown bar and sit on the bench with the thigh pad on your knees.
  • Grab the overhead bar with a grip slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  • Keep your head up with your neck and chest straight and your arms completely lengthened.
  • Pull down the bar until it reaches your chest while squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • Hold then return to the starting position.
  • Do up to 15 reps for one set.

PULLOVER EXTENSION

This exercise helps with deep stretches of the back and shoulders.

To do this exercise:

  • Attach a rope to the cable and set it near the floor.
  • Set up a bench in front of the cable.
  • Lie on your back with your head at the cable machine and grab the rope with a neutral grip.
  • Stretch your arms back behind your head with your elbows slightly bent.
  • Pull the rope above your chest until your arms are straight.
  • Slowly return to starting position.
  • Do 12 reps for one set.

REAR DELT FLYS

To do this exercise:

  • Sit down and lean forward with a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Stay bent forward.
  • Raise your arms to the side until they’re in line with your shoulders.
  • Lower to starting position slowly.

BACK ROW EXERCISE MISTAKES TO AVOID

A mistake commonly done when doing this exercise is putting your elbows in a poor position. Ensure you remain consistent and resist lagging your elbows due to fatigue.

When doing exercises like bent-over row or kettlebell row, make sure your back remains straight. Rounding your back can lead to back pain.

Don’t rock when doing the lifts. Keep your body still so you use your muscles to lift rather than momentum.

Engage your glutes and core for maximum effect. Tighten them as though you were doing a plank.