How To Do Inverted Barbell Row Properly

The inverted barbell row is an exercise that involves the pulling of a barbell bar with your body in a horizontal position. This spot makes the workout a bit easier to do as it is less strenuous on your back minimizing any back injuries.

Categorized as a great warm-up for your muscles, this exercise has a plethora of benefits while stimulating your muscle groups. Include this exercise in your workout schedule as when you perform it regularly, you will be assured of arm, shoulder, and back strength.

As a variation of the barbell row, this exercise has its main difference being that the barbell bar will be above and you underneath it. At the gym, do this exercise using a squat rack or a Smith Machine while at home with a bar setup or a rail that is safely fixed.


  • Look for a Smith machine or a squat rack and set the barbell bar approximately at waist height. The reason for this is to give enough space for your arms to stretch fully while your body is off the floor.
  • Lie down your head facing up with the bar above you then check to see if your arms can be extended before grabbing the bar with an overhand grip
  • Your heels should be the only things touching the floor. Engage your core muscles and keep your body straight
  • Squeeze your glutes, exhale and start pulling yourself as close to the barbell as possible. Your elbows should form a 45-degree angle and your shoulder blades retracted when your body is up.
  • Pause for a few seconds before slowly moving down to the original position where your arms were extended and your shoulder blades protracted.
  • Do this exercise for roughly 3 sets



This muscle begins from the bottom of your neck to your shoulders. They stretche all the way to the middle of your back. Your trapezius is stimulated during this exercise when your arms, shoulders, head, and neck move upwards.

Made up of the upper, middle, and lower trapezius, this muscle helps provide stability to your shoulders as they protract and retract.

Every time you lift your arm in the inverted barbell row, the trapezius muscle ensures less strain of movements while balancing your spine.


The bicep is made up of the long head and short head and it is found at the anterior of the upper arm.

Both of these muscles work together to help in arm flexion at the elbow joint when the arm goes from being fully extended to forming a 45-degree at the elbow joint.


Rear or posterior deltoids are found at the back portion of your shoulders and are used when you pull yourself up towards the bar. They work as horizontal abductors, external rotators, and shoulder stabilizers.



This exercise works your back and over time, you will notice that your back is stronger than before. A strong back equals good posture and stability. So be sure to include this in your workout plan if you need a strong back.

Apart from working your back, the inverted barbell row also works your arms, shoulders, triceps, biceps, core, glutes, and even hamstrings.

With stronger muscles, you will be able to carry out daily activities both at home and at the gym with no strain.


The fact that this exercise can be adjusted from hard to easy by switching up your form and the bar minimizes the chances of injury caused during tension. This means that even though you are new to this exercise you still have a chance to do it and slowly progress to a professional


If you wish to better your grip strength then you are in luck as the overhand grip used in this exercise will do just that.

A stronger grip will increase the weight load you carry and improve your form as you continuously work your biceps and forearms



  • Put a dumbbell on the floor close to a bench then place your left knee on the bench and your right stretched on the ground.
  • Support yourself by bending over and placing your left hand close to the upper edge of the bench.
  • Grab the dumbbell with your right hand, your palm facing inwards. Breathe out and lift the dumbbells to the side of your chest.
  • Your torso should remain stationary and your back straight.
  • Hold this position for 2 seconds.
  • Breath in then lower the weight back down to its starting position
  • Repeat for about 10 reps then switch sides and do this over with the other arm


  • Grip a bar with both of your hands your palms facing outwards. This position will make you hang on the bar with your arms stretched
  • Your chin should just be above the bar when you lift yourself upwards. If by any chance your feet touch the ground bend them.
  • Pause at the top then slowly lower yourself and balance in this position
  • Repeat for around 10 reps


  • With dumbbells on both your hands, slightly bend your knees and arch your back. While facing each other, let your dumbbells be in front of you.
  • Lift them outwards then hold that position for sometime before bringing them back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for approximately 12 reps



When performing this exercise, form is key as it will determine the effectiveness and efficiency of the exercise. You need to ensure that your grip is an overhand grip that is neither too narrow nor too wide. However, it should be a  bit wider than shoulder-width.

For beginners struggling with this exercise, make it easier by you choosing to either raise the bar or lift your knees up to minimize the horizontal position. On the other hand, if this exercise is too easy for you, lower the bar to increase tension hence intensify the challenge.


To get all the desired results from this exercise make sure that you place the barbell in the right position. The bar should be placed at the middle part of your chest and neither your neck nor your head.

This will minimize any chances of injury that can arise from poor placement of the bar.


The good thing about this exercise is that it relies on both your upper and lower body to be done properly. Although this workout focuses mainly on the upper body, don’t fail to engage your glutes and core to keep you in the correct form


If you are looking for a wholesome workout, then the inverted barbell row is the one. It targets a large portion of your body muscle from both your upper and lower body.

With proper form and consistency, this exercise will give you muscle strength and boost your overall health. Try making a point to include it in your workout sessions.

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