How to Do Smith Machine Bent Over Row Properly

The Smith machine bent over row is an important part of Smith machine back workouts which will ensure that your spinal erectors no longer become fatigued at the expense of your traps.

It will give you a significantly broader and more aesthetic upper body and a healthier lower back.

HOW TO DO SMITH MACHINE BENT OVER ROW PROPERLY

As mentioned briefly earlier, the Smith machine bent over row is an upper body exercise that will target the muscles of your back, particularly the latissimus dorsi, commonly known as lats.

Here is how to do it effectively for maximum gains.

  • Set the barbell attached to the Smith machine at a height that is about 2 inches below your knees.
  • Slightly bend your knees and bring your torso forward by bending at the waist and remember to keep your back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor. Also ensure that your head is up.
  • Now grasp the barbel using a pronated (overhead) grip and unlock it from the Smith machine rack. Allow it to hang directly in front of you as your arms hang extended perpendicular to the floor and your torso too. This is your starting position.
  • While keeping your torso stationary, lift the barbell as you breathe out, keeping your elbows close to your body and not doing any force with your forearm other than holding the weights.
  • On the top contracted position, squeeze your back muscles and hold for a second.
  • Slowly lower the weight again to the starting position as you inhale. This is one rep. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

SMITH MACHINE BENT OVER ROW TIPS TO CONSIDER

MAINTAIN A NEUTRAL SPINE

Maintaining a tight, punch-resistant core while keeping your head up is the most effective hack that will save you from dangerous spinal rounding.

Although the results will not be immediate, your spine will eventually start complaining due to the unhealthy form you have been putting it through.

On the other hand, maintaining a neutral spine will ensure that you have an easy time in engaging your core. This position will additionally make you stronger and lead to more back strength.

PULL WITH YOUR ELBOWS

Inasmuch as you might be tempted to pull with your biceps in order to work them, this will shift the focus from this exercise’s target muscle- your back. In order to get a thick and healthier back, you need not only to row but to row with attention.

USE AN OVERHAND GRIP

By now, you know that vertical pulling movements will work your lats, which is, your back width while horizontal rowing movements will mainly focus on your traps, which is your back thickness.

Consider squeezing your shoulder blades together to activate your traps. Additionally, you can heighten this activation by using an overhead grip, in order to build a thicker back.

This position will make your elbows to naturally flare out to the sides.

Additionally, the position will also put your lats in a position of mechanical disadvantage that forces your traps to work harder and grow bigger in turn.

GET A FULL RANGE OF MOTION

Nothing kills your back development faster than half rep training.

Not only will shortcutting the range of motion cause your muscles to shrink, but if you’re lifting heavy weights at the expense of proper form, then it will also bring you a step closer to spinal damage.

Instead, consider stretching your traps at the bottom of every rep and then squeeze your back at the top of every rep. While stretching your traps at the bottom of every rep, be keen not to round your shoulders too much.

SQUEEZE HARDER

In case it didn’t hit home, you must squeeze your traps much harder if you want a thicker back.

You don’t necessarily need to hold the contraction for more than a split second. Instead, lift explosively and squeeze as you pull the weight towards your abs.

WHAT MUSCLES DOES SMITH MACHINE BENT OVER ROW WORK?

TRAPS

These are the main muscles targeted by the Smith machine bent over row exercise.

While gripping, don’t make your grip too wide as this will turn the exercise into a rear delt routine.

LATS

A supinated shoulder-width grip will naturally enable you to lift more weight and apart from working your lats, it is a convenient way of sneaking in some bicep work.

REAR DELTS

These get heavily worked during the rowing movement. The more you flare out your elbows, the more your rear delts will get worked.

BICEPS

The Smith machine bent over row exercise is surprisingly a great mass builder for your brachioradialis.

FOREARMS

These also get some stimulation during the Smith machine bent over row wide grip.

BENEFITS OF SMITH MACHINE BENT OVER ROW

As mentioned earlier, this routine will lead to a thicker and healthier back, which will give you that look you have always wanted.

The exercise will also give you a healthier spinal cord, which is essential in general body balance and posture.

This routine is easier to set up compared to barbell rows. This is because the machine will naturally raise the bar off the floor for you to load plates, compared to barbell rows where you will have to bend all the way to load the plates.

ALTERNATIVES TO SMITH MACHINE BENT OVER ROW

The following are the alternative exercises to this.

Smith machine reverse grip row

Smith machine inverted row

Single-arm Smith machine row

COMMON SMITH MACHINE BENT OVER ROW MISTAKES TO AVOID

Avoid rounding your shoulders as this could lead to injuries.

Avoid core momentum as this could lead to spinal rounding.

Avoid ego lifting. Instead, add the weights gradually.

TAKE AWAY

If your spinal erectors have been having difficulties keeping up with your traps and as a result you end your sets way earlier due to lower back fatigue, then you should consider the Smith machine bent over row exercise.

Having lower back fatigue means that you have to leave your lats and traps constantly and this will definitely show in your physique.