What is bent over row?

Most of us don’t think about our backs until the day they give out. We underestimate the strain that a sedentary lifestyle and sitting for hours in front of a screen causes to our back. All of this in the long run results in a stiff back and neck. 

The solution to all this is to give importance to back training. This is where the classic bent over row comes to the rescue.

A bent over row is a weight training exercise that helps strengthen and balance the muscles in your upper body. 

This exercise targets different muscles depending on whether you are doing the bent over dumbbell row or the bent over barbell row and if you are using one or both arms. 

What are the different variations of bent over rows and their respective benefits?

There are several variations of the bent over row, all of which have been used by the greatest athletes in the world for decades. And for all good reasons. 

This is a great compound exercise that has more benefits than you can imagine. Here are some of the best variations of the bent over row exercises and their benefits:

  1. Bent over barbell row: Often referred to as the greatest back exercise of all times, the BB bent over row works on your lower back, core, hamstrings, biceps, and more. 


  • To start the BB bent over row, place the barbell to the hip level.
  • Grasp it with your hands with a shoulder-width grip. Your palms must be facing down.
  • Pull it off the rack and widen your feet at hip-width. The bar should be held at an arm’s length against your thighs.
  • Draw your shoulders and brace your core while keeping your head, pelvis, and spine aligned.
  • Allowing your hips to bend naturally, pull the bar closer to you to let it touch your shins.
  • Activate your back muscles and row the bar up to your abdomen.
  • Hold for a couple of seconds and lower it back down.


  • By building strength in your muscles, the bent over barbell row exercise improves your workout performance and functionality.
  • It gives you a stronger grip.
  • It improves your posture and reduces back pain and stiffness.
  • The bent over barbell row exercise helps you burn calories and prevents obesity-related health problems.
  • It is easy to include this exercise in your routine of workout at home.

  1. Bent over dumbbell row: Also known as the DB bent over row, this is amongst the most popular exercises for getting a V-shaped torso. It works on your rhomboids, traps, and lats while engaging your core. 


  • To start the dumbbell bent over row, stand straight with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Hinge at your waist to give your hips a slight push while bending your knees.
  • Lower your upper body till it is nearly parallel to the floor.
  • The dumbbells should be hanging at arm’s length with your palms facing each other. 
  • Engage your shoulder muscles, tuck in your elbows and row the weights to your sides.
  • Hold the pose for a couple of seconds and lower the weights to the starting position of the dumbbell bent over row.


  • The DB bent over row exercise adds strength and stability to your upper body.
  • This bent over row workout improves the balance and stability in your body.
  • By sculpting your biceps, forearms, shoulders, and back, it gives you an aesthetic appearance. 

  1. Lever bent over row: This exercise, as the name suggests, is performed using a weighted machine. It works on some of the major muscles such as the trapezius, rhomboids, deltoids, brachialis, triceps, hamstrings, and quadriceps.


  • Stand between the levers handles and bend over slightly. Do this while bending your knees slightly and keeping your back straight.
  • Grasp the lower handles.
  • Pull the lever up to your sides while extending your arms.
  • Hold the pose for 3-4 seconds and return the levers to the starting position.


  • The lever bent over row strengthens your core, shoulders, back, and abs.
  • It improves body control, balance, and stability.
  • By helping your build lean muscle, it works as an excellent weight loss exercise
  • This bent over row workout gives you’re an amazing physique.

  1. Seated bent over row: This is an excellent exercise to target your rear delts. 


  • Sit comfortably on the edge of a bench with your legs together and the dumbbells behind your calves.
  • Bend slowly at the waist while keeping your back straight to pick up the dumbbells using an overhand grip.
  • Bend your elbows to make a 90-degree angle between your upper arm and forearm.
  • Lift the angles straight to the sides till both the arms are parallel to the floor.
  • Contract your biceps for a couple of seconds and lower the dumbbells down.


  • The seated bent over row is for those who suffer from back problems and cannot do this exercise standing.
  • By targeting your upper body, it improves its strength and stability.

  1. Reverse bent over row: Due to the reverse grip used in this exercise, it not just targets almost all the back muscles but also works on your lower back muscles. 


  • Stand straight and hold a barbell with your palms facing up.
  • Bring your torso forward while bending the knees slightly. 
  • Start bending at the waist till your back is almost parallel to the floor. 
  • The barbell should hang directly in front of you with your arms perpendicular to the floor.
  • Keeping your torso stable, lift the barbell as you breathe out.
  • Squeeze your back muscles on the top position and hold the pose for 2-3 seconds.
  • Slowly lower the bar. 


  • The reverse bent over row works on your biceps and lats more.
  • It promotes better ab bracing and neutral spine positioning.
  • It prevents postural problems such as pain and stiffness.


To gain the benefits of these multi-joint exercises, it is important to be mindful of the bent over row form. This helps in preventing injuries and muscle strain. It is essential to learn the correct bent over row form from an experienced trainer. 

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