How to Do Wide Grip Row Properly

The wide grip row is a great exercise to build upper body strength in your torso and arms.

It is a strength training exercise that can be done with a seated row machine or the cable row machine.

The row targets the back and arms however the wide grip increases the range of muscles targeted.

To do this exercise:

  • Get into the starting position by adjusting the seat and chest pad as needed. Ensure your shoulders are at the same level as the handles.
  • Sit with your back straight on the bench and your core engaged. Bend your knees and set your feet flat on the pads. Shrug your shoulders while gripping the cable.
  • Exhale then pull the cable by hinging the elbows. Maintain your elbows tucked in.
  • Inhale then extend your hands to slowly return the cable to starting position.
  • Do one set of at least 15 reps.

WHAT MUSCLES DO WIDE GRIP ROW WORK?

The regular row works on the lats, rhomboids, traps and biceps. Adding the wide grip row to your routine works on your posterior deltoids and places insistence on the middle traps, and rhomboids.

1.      BACK

As mentioned earlier, the wide grip row works on the following back muscles: the latissimus dorsi, trapezius and rhomboids.

The latissimus dorsi (lats) are wing-shaped muscles found on the upper back. They are the widest muscle of your back. The lats connect your spin to your upper arms.

The lats also help sideways adduct your arm towards your body, lowering your arms from a raised position and internal rotation of the arm.

The rhomboids are upper-middle back muscles that connect your spine to the scapulas. They lie beneath the traps. And play a role in pulling motions, shrugging and keeping the shoulder blades connected to the spine.

The traps are muscles found on the upper to mid-back. They run from the bottom of the skull to where the spine and the lower ribs meet.

The traps help shrug, rotate and retract the shoulder blades. They also help move and stabilize your neck and twist your arms.

2.      ARMS

The wide grip row targets the biceps brachii also known as the biceps.

The biceps are two-headed muscles found in front of the upper arm. The biceps help with elbow flexion, shoulder abduction and adduction, rotation of the forearm and internal rotation of the arm.

They also help keep your shoulder stable.

The posterior deltoids are part of the deltoids. These are triangular-shaped muscles found on the shoulder.

The posterior deltoid is the rear deltoid. It is found on the back of the shoulder. The deltoids also contain the anterior and lateral delts.

The posterior deltoid plays a role in shoulder extension, shoulder abduction and internal rotation of the shoulder.

WIDE GRIP ROW BENEFITS

1.      REDUCE THE RISK OF INJURY

The wide grip row minimizes the risk of back strain since the exercise is performed while seated unlike exercises like the bent-over barbell row.

The seated row also reduces pressure on the legs reducing the risk of lower back pain.

The use of a machine also helps ensure any poor form can be corrected instantaneously without compromising the workout.

It is also a great exercise to use when rehabilitating from a shoulder or a back injury.

Being seated also reduces any risks of falling from poor balance.

2.      IMPROVED POSTURE

As a compound exercise that works on your shoulders, back and arms, the wide grip row helps you maintain good posture when you are doing your daily activities.

If you live a sedentary lifestyle, you may need to add this exercise to your routine to help strengthen your back muscles and prevent stooping or slouching.

3.      IMPROVED CORE STABILITY

Core stability is the ability of the abdominal, pelvic and hip muscles to keep the spine stable while controlling the movement of the lower body.

This exercise helps enable this by strengthening muscles near the spinal column.

ALTERNATIVES TO WIDE GRIP ROW

1.      MACHINE HIGH ROW

To do this exercise:

  • Adjust the machine to ensure you’re comfortable. Your feet should be flat on the ground, your thighs parallel to the floor and pointed out straight. The knee pads should be on top of the thigh. And the chest pad should be in line with your chest.
  • Stand and grab the handles with a pronated grip.
  • Start by retracting your shoulder blades to reduce the risk of injury to your elbows and engage your back muscles.
  • Drive your elbows backwards and down to ensure you don’t overwork your biceps.
  • Pull until the handles reach your chest, squeeze then let the handles return using a slow movement.
  • When your arms are fully extended, squeeze your shoulder blades to perform another rep.
  • Repeat as desired.

2.      RESISTANCE BAND ROW

This is a great alternative to the wide grip row if you don’t have a machine or access to a gym. You can also choose the weight of the resistance band to determine the level of difficulty.

To do this exercise:

  • Sit on the ground with your feet together and your knees slightly bent. Place one end of the band around the soles of your feet. Hold the other end with your palms facing inward.
  • Engage your core and pull until the band is above your thighs. Ensure your elbows remain tucked in and your back is straight.
  • When the band is over your thighs, hold the position for one second then extend your arms slowly to return to the starting position.
  • Do one set of at least 15 reps.

WIDE GRIP ROW MISTAKES TO AVOID

When doing the wide grip row, avoid shrugging your shoulders. This will create an imbalance in your workout making you focus on the traps more than the other muscles.

Do not arch your back when doing the row. To keep your back straight, ensure you engage your abs.

Keep your knees bent. If you lock them, you can subject them to strain.

Ensure you complete the full range of motion. If you are struggling to, consider reducing the weight you are working out with.

Do each movement slowly and in a controlled manner. This ensures the muscles are engaged instead of relying on momentum to complete the exercise.

To ensure that tension remains on your muscles throughout the exercise, avoid swinging.