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Mastering the Underhand Barbell Row: A Comprehensive Guide

underhand barbell row

When it comes to building a strong and well-defined back, the underhand barbell row is a staple exercise that should be in every serious lifter’s arsenal. This compound movement not only targets the latissimus dorsi muscles but also engages the biceps, lower traps, and rhomboids, making it an excellent choice for overall back development. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the underhand barbell row, covering proper form, common mistakes, and the benefits of including it in your workout routine.

Understanding the Underhand Barbell Row

What Is an Underhand Barbell Row?

The underhand barbell row, also known as the Yates row, is a strength training exercise performed with a barbell. It involves bending at the hips and knees to pick up the barbell and then using your back and biceps to pull the weight towards your lower ribcage.

Muscles Targeted

The primary muscles worked during the underhand barbell row include:

  • Latissimus Dorsi (Lats)
  • Biceps
  • Lower Trapezius
  • Rhomboids

Benefits of the Underhand Barbell Row

  1. Back Development: This exercise is a potent tool for building a thick and wide back, enhancing your overall physique.
  2. Bicep Strengthening: The underhand grip places additional emphasis on the biceps, helping you develop arm strength.
  3. Improved Posture: Strengthening the lower traps and rhomboids can help improve posture by pulling the shoulders back and down.
  4. Functional Strength: This movement can enhance your ability to perform daily tasks involving lifting or pulling.

How to Perform the Underhand Barbell Row

Follow these steps to perform the underhand barbell row with proper form:

  1. Setup: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with the barbell in front of you. Bend at the hips and knees to grasp the bar with an underhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Starting Position: Your back should be straight, chest up, and your hips pushed back. Keep your arms fully extended and your knees slightly bent.
  3. Execution: With a controlled motion, pull the barbell towards your lower ribcage. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and engage your lats as you lift the bar.
  4. Peak Contraction: At the top of the movement, your elbows should be close to your body, and the bar should touch your lower ribcage.
  5. Lowering the Weight: Lower the barbell back to the starting position in a controlled manner, maintaining the tension on your back muscles.
  6. Repetition: Perform the desired number of reps, typically 8-12 per set.
  7. Safety: Always use proper form and avoid excessive weight to prevent injury.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Using Momentum: Jerking the weight up with your lower back can lead to injury. Use controlled movements.
  2. Rounding the Back: Maintain a straight back throughout the exercise to prevent lower back strain.
  3. Not Engaging the Lats: Focus on squeezing your lats as you lift the weight, rather than relying solely on your arms.
  4. To prevent compromising your form, it is crucial to initiate your training with a manageable weight.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1: Can beginners do underhand barbell rows?

A1: Yes, beginners can incorporate underhand barbell rows into their workout routines, but they should start with a light weight to master proper form and prevent injury.

Q2: What’s the ideal number of sets and repetitions for me to complete during my workout?

A2: Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions. Adjust the weight to ensure you reach muscle failure within this rep range.

Q3: Is this exercise suitable for women?

A3: Absolutely. The underhand barbell row is a great exercise for both men and women looking to strengthen their back and improve their overall physique.

Q4: Can I use a different grip for variety?

A4: Yes, you can use a wide overhand grip or a neutral grip (palms facing each other) to target different aspects of your back and arms.

Incorporating the underhand barbell row into your strength training routine can lead to a more powerful and well-balanced physique. By following proper form, avoiding common mistakes, and progressively challenging yourself, you’ll be on your way to achieving a strong and impressive back. Remember to consult with a fitness professional if you’re unsure about your form or starting weight, and always prioritize safety and injury prevention.

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