View Full Version : Thoughts on rows?

01-22-2012, 06:10 PM
Just thought I'd reach out and get people's advice and feedback on various forms of rows. My workouts are strength focused and mainly compound lifts in either 5x5, 3x5 or a warmup to a 5RM. I've generally always done Pendlay rows and had gotten to where I was doing 3x5 @275.

I kinda have two challenges with rows.

1) I got to finding that the rows and deadlifts were interfering as my lower back was getting fatigued no matter which order I did them in.
2) Also I question the form/weight I'm using. I generally use pretty strict form but can't help to question how much motion to move my back through. I try not to do any but can't help a little yet I see some people really do a lot of motion.

I'm considering changing the type of row I'm doing and wanted some input. I'm not big on Yates rows (can never seem to get the right feel for them) but can do cables, dumbells etc. Any other advice is welcome too.


01-22-2012, 07:28 PM
Post a video.

I hope you are not doing rows and dead lifts in the same workout.

I would drop the weight and stick with Pendlay or start doing Pendlay if you are raising up your torso quite a bit while rowing.

What does the rest of you workout look like?

What are your goals?

01-23-2012, 05:23 AM
I hope you are not doing rows and dead lifts in the same workout.

I do that
but I generally pick which one to go heavy on, and go light on the other for volume.

01-23-2012, 05:32 AM
as far as lower back is concerned, i find that the stress in order of severity is:
pendlay>regular bent over bb rows>yates>tbar>seated cable rows

can't say i'm a fan of pendlays. i much prefer yates type on a tbar. it permits some level of vertical in my form which eases some lower back strain. and when it is really bad, my lower back i mean, i go to the seated row....which takes lower back out of the equation to a significant extent.

personally, i would not do rows on the same day as deads, but ultimately as lower back is notoriously slow to recover, it seems it is always taking a hit....which is why i have opted for yates or seated cable, and i have lowered the weight and go for higher reps.

good luck.

01-23-2012, 05:46 AM
I do my rows on my chest and back workout and my deadlifts with my clean workout, i havent had any lower back problems

01-23-2012, 08:24 AM
Like Hammerfelt asked, what are your goals? There are several options but it depends on what you are targeting. I'm focusing on lower back thickness right now and my back workout is typically t-bar rows, cable rows, rack pulls, and dumbbell rows. Sometimes I'll substitute bb rows for the t-bar rows.

01-23-2012, 08:42 AM
Like Hammerfelt asked, what are your goals?


What you do and how you do it are entirely dependent on your specific goal. If you can do Pendlays @275 with decent form, you're obviously no noob, and will need some pointed advice.

Overall strength? Powerlifting comp? Strongman comp?

01-23-2012, 09:08 AM
Thanks for the great responses. I have really been focusing more on just strength the last couple of years. I do not compete in any form and don't plan on it.

My rows are on the same day a deads and currently I have it set up as rows, pullups then deads but I have swapped deads and rows on occasions. For the last couple of weeks I have been doing cable rows with slightly less weight and going to 8 reps where I also hold the weight in the raised position to feel the squeeze more, this is something I really can't do if I got heavy with Pendlays.

I haven't done videos in a while, I thought I had one on hand that might of been older but don't. I'll do some videos this week and post laster on. Back day isn't until Friday for me.

Thanks again.


01-23-2012, 10:02 AM
Thanks for the great responses. I have really been focusing more on just strength the last couple of years. I do not compete in any form and don't plan on it.

If you're training for yourself, it will then pretty much just come down to whether or not you can recover from working both Deadlifts and Rows (of any type) in the same session every week.

If both lifts are progressing fairly steadily, then keep on as-is. But if you're finding one or the other beginning to drop off, or stagnate, or you find your lower back/PC constantly feeling either sore or fatigued, it might be time to think about A/B-ing those exercises on a week-to-week basis.

As far as which row variant is "best," for someone other than myself, I can't say with certainty. In the most general of terms, if the particular Row(s) you're using are felt actually working in the area(s) of your back that you want, then again, keep on as-is.

The only real specific suggestion I might add is that if you want to continue using a Row on Deadlift day, try any of the machine versions available to you that provide lower back support, such as HammerStrength's stuff, or even Dumbbell Rows, where you can use the unilaterally non-working arm to support your lower back.

01-24-2012, 03:17 PM
I agree that rows and deads on the same day don't work. At least for me. I split heavy days over two days. One upper and another lower body. Never had an issue.