If you have to choose only one exercise you have to perform to have a great back this is definitely the bent over barbell row. This exercise hit the back from the bottom to the top. It develops the back thickness and width. The bent over barbell row could be performed in many ways and variations depending of which part of the back we want to target. This is the basic variation which target mainly the middle and the lower parts of the back.
Grasp a bar using a shoulder width overhand grip and lift it from a rack or from the floor with a proper DEADLIFT technique. You should stand upright with your feet looking forward and slightly closer than shoulder width and with the bar in front of you. From this position slightly bend your knees and lean forward (as you maintain a straight back) until your torso is about 70-80 degrees to the floor. Your arms should be straight and the bar must be at the level of your knees slightly in front of them. Keep your head in one line with your spine, your chest puffed out, and your core muscles tight. This is the starting position.
Now as you keep your torso stationary start pulling up the bar toward your middle waist by first start to pull with your shoulder blades than the arms. When the bar reach your body squeeze your shoulder blades and contract the back muscles for a second, than slowly return the weight back to the starting position. Breath in before the beginning of each rep and breath out after the peak contraction.
- Try to keep your upper body stationary and you lower back flat during the movement.
- Before the beginning of each rep breathe in, hold your breath in your belly, flex your core muscles (abdominals and lower back) and puff your chest out. This will help you to keep the internal abdominal pressure and keep your lower back safe and away from injuries.
- Always keep your wrists straight and don’t curl it because that way you will put the emphasis on the forearms not on your back muscles.
- During the movement try to think not for pulling the weight with your arms but for pushing back with your elbows. That way you will lower the tension on your arms and put more on your back muscles.
- Remember your goal must be not only to bring the weight up to your body you must flex your shoulder blades at the top of each rep. Only then your back muscles are fully working.
- Use wrist straps if your grip is not strong enough.
- If you are new at this exercise give yourself enough time to learn the right form and be conservative with the amount of weight used.
- Don’t use side mirrors to watch yourself during the exercise, this can cost you a neck injury. If you are not sure that you performing the exercise in the right way provide yourself an experienced partner who observe you during the movement and corrects your form.
- Avoid these exercise if you have lower back injuries. A good substitute are every back machine with chest support or the SEATED CABLE ROW.