Muscles Targeted: Lying T-bar rows mainly target the muscles in the upper and middle back. They are also fantastic for those muscles located in the upper arms which include the biceps. The lats, or the lattisimus dorsi, are the main muscles targeted. These are located in the middle back and below the arm. The teres major and trapezius (upper back and neck) also receive a workout. Lying T-bar rows work the shoulders too, along with all of the muscles in your arms used to pull the weight up. The pulling muscles are worked in all of the different row variations and consist mainly of the biceps and forearms.
Exercise Instructions: Position yourself on a T-bar row machine with your chest lying on the pad. Grab the T-bar handles with each hand using an overhand grip. Detach the T-bar from it’s locked position and let it hang straight down so that your arms are fully extended. Next, lift or “row” the T-bar up and into your stomach area. Slowly return the weight back down to the starting position and repeat. Be sure to keep your head up and shoulders back during this exercise to ensure that your back is in a firm and stable position.
Why This Exercise is Important: Lying T-bar rows are a great alternative or addition to standing T-bar rows. This exercise puts less strain on the knees and legs than its traditional counterpart while effectively isolating the middle back, biceps, rear deltoids, upper back and lats. Workouts that contain any type of rowing are great for the body because they target a wide range of muscles that are not often focused on in day-to-day life. In order to keep the body balanced, symmetrical and in proper proportion, the back muscles (like those targeted in lying T-bar rows) must be given an equal amount of attention.
Things To Avoid: When executing this exercise, pay close attention to your elbow position. The elbows should be tucked close to the obliques or sides in order to receive the best workout. Allowing them to float away from the sides causes the shoulders to tense up and spreads the tension away from the targeted middle back muscles. Tensing the shoulders can lead to unnecessary stress on the delicate neck area and is ultimately something to avoid. In addition, lying T-bar rows require extra equipment (either a bench or a lying T-bar row machine). It is imperative to make sure the equipment is adjusted to the correct height in order to avoid injury. Ideally, legs should be slightly bent before the weight is lifted.
Reps and Sets: For this exercise start with 10-12 reps and 2-3 sets. Advanced lifters can use heavier weights and perform 4-5 sets of 6-8 reps. If the weight is too difficult, make sure to decrease the weight to execute the lift properly and avoid injury. However, if it’s too easy then add another couple sets or increase the weight. Make sure to rest for 1-2 minutes in between sets.
Other Exercises To Use: If you are training your back and want a great workout for size and strength then consider pairing T-bar rows with seated cable rows. These work a similar set of muscles as T-bar rows but will also touch on the lower back and core muscles. Make sure that if you train a muscle group you also train its opposing muscle. For example, since T-bar rows and lying T-bar rows work the upper back they should be paired with a move that works the chest. You should also make sure to train your lower back which is critical for overall back support and stability. The lying back press (also commonly known as the ‘superman’) satisfies this requirement. Underhand cable pulldowns are also good to pair with lying T-bar rows because they work the biceps along with the shoulders and upper back. View our extensive database of exercise guides for a comprehensive list of exercises that target the back.