How to Do The Barbell Delt Row Properly

The barbell delt row is an exercise that is tailored to utilise space and weight.

However, before you begin the exercise it is prudent that you choose the right set of weights to build upon. Before you start the exercise, keep the following things in mind:

  • Stand in a neutral position with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Reach out and grab the barbell with an overhand grip.
  • Place your hands as wide apart as you can along with the barbell.
  • Start this exercise by rowing the barbell towards the bottom of your torso.
  • Keep your back and your legs straight throughout the duration of this exercise and maintain a slight bend in your knees.
  • Continue to row the barbell towards you, stopping when it is about two inches from your torso.
  • To intensify this exercise you can either hold the bar in the peak position for a count that you extend incrementally, or you can add more weight.
  • Slowly lower the barbell back into the starting position to complete a single rep of this exercise.


  • Stand up straight while holding a barbell using a wide grip that should go above your shoulders and let your palms face your body.
  • Bend knees slightly and bend over as you keep the natural arch of your back. Let the arms hang in front of you as they hold the bar.
  • Once your torso is parallel to the floor, flare the elbows out and away from your body. Your torso and your arms should resemble the letter “T”. Now you are ready to begin the exercise.
  • While keeping the upper arms perpendicular to the torso, pull the barbell up towards your upper chest as you squeeze the rear delts and you breathe out.
  • When performed correctly, this exercise should resemble a bench press in reverse. Also, refrain from using your biceps to do the work. Focus on targeting the rear delts; the arms should only act as hooks.
  • Slowly go back to the initial position as you breathe in.
  • Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.



Actions involving pulling always engage the lats due to how much of the back it covers. Lats also act as a linking chain between the back and the upper arm.

Therefore when you use your arms while doing the barbell delt row it automatically drags your lats and engages them.


The biceps are engaged when you perform the actions that require pulling as you do the barbell delt row i.e., when you pull the barbell up towards your chest


The rear deltoids are the most intensely engaged muscle block during the barbell delt row, hence its influence in the exercise’s name.

The rear deltoids are engaged when the barbell has been lifted right up to the mid level. At this point, the rear deltoids act as the power source and anchor point simultaneously



Building the back is one of the more unpopular statements when people talk about working out. This is mostly because although they exist, back muscle gains aren’t exactly glamorous.

However, building your back is a very important practice to anyone who takes working out seriously. Exercises such as the barbell delt row give you balance.

Failure to engage the back muscles can affect your functional strength i.e., ability to do day-to-day activities as a result of an imbalance

This often happens in the event that there is a muscular imbalance. Muscular imbalance could also lead to an exercise-related injury down the road.


As you go along on your fitness journey you will realise that every workout is not the same.

There are exercises that are used to build, shed and even sculpt and define their respective target areas.

A lot of times beginners often do exercises without really knowing what they’re best for.

Well, when it comes to muscle definition in the rear deltoids, there are fewer better exercises than the barbell delt row.

This is mostly down to the wide hand grip you use which helps define the rear delts as you keep doing reps.


The barbell delt row works the lats, the muscle that actually determines how slouched or straight your posture seems.

Weak lats propagate slouched posture when it shrivels. However, strongly engaged lats usually open up your poster and facilitate what is termed as upright posture.

Therefore, the more you engage the lats and strengthen them, the better your posture gets.



The dumbbell rear delt fly targets the rear shoulder just like the delt row. However, it achieves these same goals by using a dumbbell.

To do the exercise:

  • Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Push your hips back behind you and bend your knees slightly as you lean your torso forward with a flat back. Maintain this hip-hinge position throughout the exercise.
  • Let the weights hang down toward the floor with your elbows slightly bent and palms facing each other.
  • Keeping your shoulders down away from your ears and a slight bend in your elbows, lift the weights out to your sides until they’re in line with your shoulders.
  • Lower the dumbbells with control.


To do this exercise:

  • Unrack a barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width and your palms facing forward.
  • Hold the barbell on your upper chest and front shoulders. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Evenly distribute your weight and grip the floor with your feet to create a stable position.
  • Create tension throughout your body by engaging your core and squeezing your quads and glutes.
  • Lift your chest without extending your spine and push your head back slightly to create room for the bar path.
  • Rotate your shoulders so your elbows are pointed straight down. The barbell should rest on the heel of your palms, and your palms should be in line with your elbows.
  • All repetitions should begin from this position.
  • Initiate the upward movement by straightening your elbows and pushing the barbell toward the ceiling while maintaining a neutral spine.
  • Continue to push the barbell overhead until your arms are long with a slight bend in the elbows.
  • The barbell should be slightly behind your ears, with your head pushed forward to a neutral position and your chin tucked as if you were holding an egg under your chin.
  • Use your shoulders and upper back to support the barbell in the overhead position. Pause at the top of the movement.
  • Slowly pull the barbell down by bending your elbows and pulling with your lats until the barbell is back in the starting position.
  • Repeat for your desired number of repetitions.



This refers to the use of momentum to water down the strain that comes from doing the barbell delt row.


Slouching your back places excessive strain on your back and spine which can lead to an injury.


A slanted neck also affects your spine position. Therefore, if it’s positioned too high or too low then it could likely put your spine under excessive strain.


The banded delt row is often done by people who are thorough about engaging even the less engaged areas.

It’s an effective exercise that works a lot of areas across the body on top of providing definition.