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  1. #1
    Registered User FitnessCPA's Avatar
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    Pendlay rows vs. barbell rows

    I tried the search function, but I trust the opinions of you guys more than the people in the exercises and workout routines section.

    I am currently doing Stronglifts (yes, the ripoff of Starting Strength) and the program calls for Pendlay rows.

    I was doing great at first, but as the weights are getting heavier, I am noticing that my lower back feels some strain in it with each rep. Nothing bad, not pain per se, but just a little straining. I do not feel any pain or discomfort after lifting or the next day or anything like that.

    I'm wondering:

    1. If standard 45-degree bent over barbell rows would be a good alternative
    2. If they are easier on the lower back (I would think yes)
    3. How they compare for building mass - my #1 goal - my only goal.
    4. Does the Pendlay row work any muscle in particular that would not be worked through a regular barbell row? I know some people say the Pendlay row hits the traps a bit more, but if I could do one or the other for building overall back mass, which do you personally recommend?

    I know opinions will vary but I'm curious to see your opinions and experiences.

    Thanks for all opinions!
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  2. #2
    Will lift for food. HunterCML's Avatar
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    T-bar and DB rows. You mad?



    We have a few threads open for this type of discussion btw.
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  3. #3
    Registered User SOJA's Avatar
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    SS is also a rip of Bill Starr's program. I do BB rows but I like DB rows more. You just have more control throughout the movement.
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  4. #4
    witty comment goes here SimonThePieman's Avatar
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    I started off training 'serious' with SS and pendlay rows. Once I got to75% BW I started having issues. Try to swap in something that works for you.

    SS or SL are great for beginners. But many people come to limitations quickly. It left my hammies, lower back and triceps massively lagging.

    Try adding in posterior chain work (something 90% of new to intermediate lifters miss out) on dead lift day.

    Swap your row type. Regular BB, Yates, tbar row etc

    Once you stall on the new row and your back and hammies are stronger try pendlays again.

    As a beginner I made progression quicker swapping exercises when I stalled. As an intermediate I make progression swapping rep schemes

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  5. #5
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    BB/DB all the way. Pendlay rows always feel weird to me.
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  6. #6
    Registered User FitnessCPA's Avatar
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    Bump.

    Any other opinions?
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  7. #7
    Registered User Andrew_S's Avatar
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    BB and Yates rows for more focus on lats, while Pendlay rows hit more traps and rhomboids. *IMO*
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  8. #8
    The Merciful alan aragon's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by FitnessCPA View Post
    Bump.

    Any other opinions?
    Take a look at where the force line is & notice how the brunt of the stimulation is in the upper back & rear delts, with the lats less involved. If I wanted to target the largest mass of back musculature & had to pick one exercise, Pendlay rows wouldn't be it. There's much more lower back stabilization required due to the length of the moment arm created in that position. This, along with lesser involvement from them there powerful lats compromises your load capacity. What you end up having to do is decrease the amount of weight on the bar just to be able to do the exercise. IMO, get your heavy stuff done first (ie, regular BB, DB, or cable rows), then if you insist on them, use Pendlays as an accessory movement to target the posterior shoulder musculature for prehab purposes & what have you (to balance out pushing work in that same anatomical plane).
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  9. #9
    Registered User FitnessCPA's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by alan aragon View Post
    Take a look at where the force line is & notice how the brunt of the stimulation is in the upper back & rear delts, with the lats less involved. If I wanted to target the largest mass of back musculature & had to pick one exercise, Pendlay rows wouldn't be it. There's much more lower back stabilization required due to the length of the moment arm created in that position. This, along with lesser involvement from them there powerful lats compromises your load capacity. What you end up having to do is decrease the amount of weight on the bar just to be able to do the exercise. IMO, get your heavy stuff done first (ie, regular BB, DB, or cable rows), then if you insist on them, use Pendlays as an accessory movement to target the posterior shoulder musculature for prehab purposes & what have you (to balance out pushing work in that same anatomical plane).
    Thanks, this is helpful.

    If I stuck with my program and my only major back exercise was BB rows, would I not sufficiently balance out the bench press and be in for some rotator cuff problems, or do BB rows sufficiently work as a good balance to bench press?
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  10. #10
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    1 arm db rows are my primary lat movement. i don't do bent over rows. my lower back gets hit hard enough from deads, so i couldnt do them on deads day. and by the time my second upper day comes along, i want to save my lower back for squats.

    plus, nothing activates my lats like 1 arm db rows.
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  11. #11
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  12. #12
    The Merciful alan aragon's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by FitnessCPA View Post
    Thanks, this is helpful.

    If I stuck with my program and my only major back exercise was BB rows, would I not sufficiently balance out the bench press and be in for some rotator cuff problems, or do BB rows sufficiently work as a good balance to bench press?
    The big picture is to do a relatively even volume of pushing & pulling sets. The smaller/less important picture below that is to do a relatively even volume of sets in the corresponding planes of motion for pulling & pushing movements. IMO, it's severe nitpicking to think you *have* to perfectly match the horizontal plane of motion @ the shoulder by adding Pendlay rows. Your standard rowing motions will be close enough, and you wouldn't be wasting energy on Pendlays if your main goal is to stimulate hypertrophy in the largest muscles as efficiently as possible. I personally do facepulls to hit the posterior shoulder, but it's more of a "just in case" move than anything else.
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  13. #13
    Registered User FitnessCPA's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by alan aragon View Post
    The big picture is to do a relatively even volume of pushing & pulling sets. The smaller/less important picture below that is to do a relatively even volume of sets in the corresponding planes of motion for pulling & pushing movements. IMO, it's severe nitpicking to think you *have* to perfectly match the horizontal plane of motion @ the shoulder by adding Pendlay rows. Your standard rowing motions will be close enough, and you wouldn't be wasting energy on Pendlays if your main goal is to stimulate hypertrophy in the largest muscles as efficiently as possible. I personally do facepulls to hit the posterior shoulder, but it's more of a "just in case" move than anything else.
    Thanks. I think I'll try standard BB rows and see how that goes for a while.

    I add pull-ups and dips to my program as well because I think they're important, particularly pull-ups.
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  14. #14
    superuser jammyo40's Avatar
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    I do Pendlays, but if you're one and only goal is hypertrophy, I'd vote for t-bar or cable rows.
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  15. #15
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    Originally Posted by FitnessCPA View Post
    Thanks. I think I'll try standard BB rows and see how that goes for a while.

    I add pull-ups and dips to my program as well because I think they're important, particularly pull-ups.
    Whatever you do, please fight the temptation to kip your pull-ups.

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  16. #16
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    Originally Posted by alan aragon View Post
    Whatever you do, please fight the temptation to kip your pull-ups.
    But if you do decide to kip your pull-ups, please film them in case hilarity ensues.
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  17. #17
    Not banned afterall MarkVI's Avatar
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    Not a fan of Pendlay, I think they are kind of silly. BB rows are good....Suppinated is my preference - then tbars - then pronated. I dislike Dumbells
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  18. #18
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    Originally Posted by MarkVI View Post
    Not a fan of Pendlay, I think they are kind of silly. BB rows are good....Suppinated is my preference - then tbars - then pronated. I dislike Dumbells
    I think Glenn likes them because of their more explosive concentric and lack of eccentric, like most Oly moves.
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  19. #19
    Not banned afterall MarkVI's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jammyo40 View Post
    I think Glenn likes them because of their more explosive concentric and lack of eccentric, like most Oly moves.
    WTF is glenn?
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    Originally Posted by MarkVI View Post
    WTF is glenn?
    He's Dwight's brother, the one who is always with Bernard.
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    Originally Posted by MarkVI View Post
    WTF is glenn?
    There's Glenn Pendlay the strength coach: http://www.pendlay.com/About-Pendlay-MDUSA_ep_7.html












































    & then there's the only Glenn that really matters....

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    Not banned afterall MarkVI's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by alan aragon View Post
    There's Glenn Pendlay the strength coach: http://www.pendlay.com/About-Pendlay-MDUSA_ep_7.html












































    & then there's the only Glenn that really matters....

    Not surprised the Glenn Pendlay prefers his own lift lol.
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  23. #23
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    Originally Posted by MarkVI View Post
    Not surprised the Glenn Pendlay prefers his own lift lol.
    He actually hates that people call it the Pendlay row.
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    Not banned afterall MarkVI's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jammyo40 View Post
    He actually hates that people call it the Pendlay row.
    pffft, yeah right.
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  25. #25
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    Originally Posted by MarkVI View Post
    pffft, yeah right.
    Skeptical Mark is always skeptical
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  26. #26
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    Who the hell is Mark?
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    Originally Posted by SOJA View Post
    Who the hell is Mark?
    The more that you read, the more things you'll know.
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  28. #28
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    Originally Posted by Andrew_S View Post
    BB and Yates rows for more focus on lats, while Pendlay rows hit more traps and rhomboids. *IMO*
    Yes, this.

    They are two completely different exercises, I think you should do which suits your goals more and which you prefer, not because one is better then the other. However, Ka0s rows > All other rows.
    "Whoa, peanut-butter does look a lot like Cum." - Alan Aragon

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    If your goals are bodybuilding primarily Pendlays wouldn't be high on my priority list. Conventional barbell rows are a better mass builder. Leave Pendlays to the strength athletes.

    Alan I dig your choice in music... first mentioning Phil Anselbro... and now Glenn Danzig (I've noted here a few times Danzig is my favorite band... would rep again but you are on spread).
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    Originally Posted by JasonDB View Post
    If your goals are bodybuilding primarily Pendlays wouldn't be high on my priority list. Conventional barbell rows are a better mass builder. Leave Pendlays to the strength athletes.

    Alan I dig your choice in music... first mentioning Phil Anselbro... and now Glenn Danzig (I've noted here a few times Danzig is my favorite band... would rep again but you are on spread).
    Seen Danzig live 2x. Wore my Danzig & Pantera shirts until they fell apart at the seams. Stoked to see Danzig is still at it despite being a fat balding geezer. Still think God himself wrote Sistinas with Danzig's pen.
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