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  1. #1
    Registered User HeMB's Avatar
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    Problem with the barbell row

    So I have a problem with the barbell row. Once I add more weight (usually 5 pounds per progression) after completed desired reps with good form, I find very hard to maintain that form- my back goes upward, cannot keep it as horizontal as possible. This happened a few times, even after a deload. I just hit a certain point in the barbell weight when I cannot keep my form and I just start cheating.
    And most importantly, I cannot progress. Worth to mention that other lifts are not problematic in that regard.

    So what can I do? Maybe it is okay to cheat a little as long as I keep adding weight on the bar and not going crazy upright?
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  2. #2
    Registered User ECGordyn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by HeMB View Post
    it is okay to cheat a little as long as I keep adding weight on the bar and not going crazy upright?
    It's ok, in general.
    Are you doing a Pendlay row, with your back horizontal to the ground, or the more common barbell row with your back already angled upright a bit?
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    I used to try to maintain the back at the same angle throughout the exercise, but then I realized pretty much every bodybuilder I see uses momentum on this exercise when doing their routines, some more than others, and only coaches when teaching the exercise try to keep the back stationary. So I just do it like the pros and use a bit of momentum so my back goes up when rowing and down again at the starting position. It's just a more natural movement this way.
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  4. #4
    Registered User HeMB's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ECGordyn View Post
    It's ok, in general.
    Are you doing a Pendlay row, with your back horizontal to the ground, or the more common barbell row with your back already angled upright a bit?
    I am doing the second variation, though I try to maintain about 60 degree angle; not 45, like the yates row
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  5. #5
    Registered User ECGordyn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by HeMB View Post
    I am doing the second variation, though I try to maintain about 60 degree angle; not 45, like the yates row
    If you go too upright, you bring in more upper traps, and you lose the benefits of rowing, namely full back development. If it were me, I'd drop the weight enough to focus on feeling the right muscles work, and then build back up with good form from there.

    The Yates row is actually a steep back angle, meant to hit the lower lats and lower mid-back. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNjwZ1fxtCQ
    The "barbell row" is more like a Pendlay, torso horizontal to the floor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0uhDZ06hrQ
    But since most people set their torso at a 45 degree angle, the horizontal row started to get a special name: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlRrIsoDpKg
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    Originally Posted by HeMB View Post
    So I have a problem with the barbell row. Once I add more weight (usually 5 pounds per progression) after completed desired reps with good form, I find very hard to maintain that form- my back goes upward, cannot keep it as horizontal as possible. This happened a few times, even after a deload. I just hit a certain point in the barbell weight when I cannot keep my form and I just start cheating.
    And most importantly, I cannot progress. Worth to mention that other lifts are not problematic in that regard.

    So what can I do? Maybe it is okay to cheat a little as long as I keep adding weight on the bar and not going crazy upright?
    I highly recommend the inverted row: https://youtu.be/4cnXBP1bUSU
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    perhaps try a Pendlay or a DB Row, progress on those.
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  8. #8
    I'll Mod 'til I'm dead. ironwill2008's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by HeMB View Post
    So I have a problem with the barbell row. Once I add more weight (usually 5 pounds per progression) after completed desired reps with good form, I find very hard to maintain that form- my back goes upward, cannot keep it as horizontal as possible. This happened a few times, even after a deload. I just hit a certain point in the barbell weight when I cannot keep my form and I just start cheating.
    And most importantly, I cannot progress. Worth to mention that other lifts are not problematic in that regard.

    So what can I do? Maybe it is okay to cheat a little as long as I keep adding weight on the bar and not going crazy upright?

    Next to Barbell Curls, Barbell Rows are probably the most-cheated of exercises.

    The first thing to do is to stop cheating. Reduce the weight to a point where you can keep good form, and work harder at adding a rep or two while maintaining the same good form over time. Jerking, heaving, or otherwise using momentum to "move" the bar won't serve you well, and may prove to be a good way to injure yourself.
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  9. #9
    Registered User HeMB's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ironwill2008 View Post
    Next to Barbell Curls, Barbell Rows are probably the most-cheated of exercises.

    The first thing to do is to stop cheating. Reduce the weight to a point where you can keep good form, and work harder at adding a rep or two while maintaining the same good form over time. Jerking, heaving, or otherwise using momentum to "move" the bar won't serve you well, and may prove to be a good way to injure yourself.
    Would you, and others, say that barbell row is harder to progress on, than compared with, for ex. bench press? That would actually justify the struggle to maintain the form when increasing the load; consequently, this may lead to considering of incrementing the load with smaller jumps /or doing more reps first.
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  10. #10
    I'll Mod 'til I'm dead. ironwill2008's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by HeMB View Post
    Would you, and others, say that barbell row is harder to progress on, than compared with, for ex. bench press?.
    IMO, yes, if for no other reason than you get to lie down when Benching, but you have to bend over almost parallel to the floor with an arch in your back for BB Rows, and maintain that form for the duration of the set(s).



    this may lead to considering of incrementing the load with smaller jumps /or doing more reps first.
    This is always a viable option when adding the prescribed amount of weight increment becomes more and more difficult over time.
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