T-Bar Rows - Back Exercise Guide with Photos
Muscles Targeted: T-bar rows are one of the most important
exercises to include in your workout to target the large muscles
of your back, specifically the latissimus dorsi (lats). At the same
time, it also hits your teres major and biceps brachii.
Exercise Instructions: Grab a barbell
and position yourself in an area where you have an adequate
amount of room. Straddle the barbell and grab it with both
hands, one above the other (you can also attach a V-bar onto
the barbell). Bend forward at the waist so that your chest
is leaning forward over your feet. Keep your knees slightly
bent (a bit more bent than they are with one-arm rows) and
your feet just beyond shoulder width apart. Start with your
arms fully extended, allowing the barbell to hang at about
mid-shin level. Next, lift or "row" the barbell
up and close to your stomach. Return the barbell back down
to the starting position and repeat for the desired amount
of reps. Be sure to keep your head up and shoulders back throughout
this exercise in order to keep your back in a firm and stable
position throughout the movement.
Why This Exercise is Important: If you want to achieve the
classic V-taper look with a wide back and narrow waist, then T-bar rows is the exercise that can help you. It will improve
your posture and help prevent back injuries. It not only works your
back muscles, but also provides lower body and core muscle stimulation.
Most people avoid this exercise because its uncomfortable and awkward.
Unlike machines designed to simulate the action of a barbell row,
a two arm row requires the back to stabilize on its own. There are
no supports, braces or platforms that you can use. Along with this,
your lower body muscles are placed under tension and appear to pull
the focus away from your lats.
While using machines can isolate the movement directly on the lats,
the end results are subpar because the back muscles works as a cohesive
unit. The lats, rhomboids, and erectors are all components integrated
to work in tandem. Thus, when you perform isolated exercises, other
back muscles barely come into play. When that happens, your back
becomes shallow. That is, viewed from the front, you may have a
decent back, but when you turn to your side or back, you will find
inadequate development. So if you want a dense and muscular back,
you have to work all of the muscles as a unit with the right types
Things To Avoid: Pick a weight that is challenging enough
for you to complete a set but not too heavy that you lose your balance
or too light that you breeze through the movement. Tighten your
abs and hold your body upright. Shrug your shoulders back while
keeping proper posture. Bend down and pick up the barbell with both
hands and start the set.
Posture is extremely important when performing T-bar rows. Keep your back straight as you perform the exercise. If you
allow it to become rounded, the forces acting on the base of your
spine increase dramatically and you may end up injuring yourself.
Do not collapse your shoulders as you do the exercise. Flex your
arms and raise your elbows until they touch your body. Pause at
the top of the movement, then slowly lower the barbell back down.
Do not jerk your arms or hurry through the set. Do not use momentum
to pull the weight up.
Reps and Sets: Quality is more important than quantity when
doing T-bar rows. For beginners, do at least 8-10 reps
for 2-3 sets. Do not worry if you cannot complete the set at first.
Check the weight to determine whether you are trying to lift too
much and adjust the weight accordingly. Advanced trainees should
shoot for 4-5 sets of 6-8 reps.
Other Exercises To Use: For a well-rounded workout routine
for your back, do some barbell deadlifts and pull-ups
along with seated cable rows. The back is a large muscle
group so you need to put in more work if you want to fully develop
it. View our extensive database
of exercise guides for a comprehensive list of exercises that
target the back.