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  1. #1
    Registered User clydeax's Avatar
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    Serious trouble with pendlay/barbell row

    Hello again!

    I can briefly say that i'm going to GYM for 1 years and i have spent my whole time with bro science such as bro split, 4 set 10 rep etc.. Now i'm doing fierce 5 novice and here is my lifts:

    Squat 150 (3x5)
    Bench 130 (3x5)
    Pendlay Row 100 (3x8)

    So, when i do that exercise (pendlay or barbell row) i face with low back pain, pressure exactly. It's sufferable but i'm afraid too much from hernia. I have already low back problems and i'm trying to rehab that with deadlift and core exercises. But as i said, i'm afraid of that barbell row will make more terrible.

    I can do deadlift with true form. Actually i believe i am doing barbell row with correct form but i still have low back pressure and pain. Is that normal? I'm saying again it is sufferable pain but can i do 45 degree incline chest supported dumbbell row instead? Thank you.
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  2. #2
    Registered User Hutrapper's Avatar
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    I had the same issue. I solved it by putting a folded towel on my dumbbell rack, and resting my forehead on it while doing the exercise. I don't put a ton of weight on my forehead, just enough to reduce back strain. It also keeps my form strict.

    Not saying this is the answer, just what I did, and it prevented any more back pain.
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    Registered User TopHeavyMirin's Avatar
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    barbell rows are just bad for you period.
    violently swinging heavy weight to your abs and rocking your back while supporting all your weight on your lower back?
    sounds like a death wish
    i have never done bent over rows and my back is huge.
    use chest supported rows or seated cable rows instead. maybye t-bar rows if you have the machine but t-bar row isnt that much better either.
    keep your lower back safe
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    Why are you rocking and swinging violently? That's a good way to NOT use your last food a lat exercise.

    Look, I suffer low back and sciatic pain due to a fractured L7 vertebra(yes L7 that's not a typo). You have to learn how to properly load your back, and work those muscles that support the lumbar. I used to be scared to deadlift, row, etc because it would stress my back, but doing those lifts and practicing proper spinal alignment while doing it is EXACTLY what fixed the pain.
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    I'm no doctor of course but perhaps you just need more practice and more low back strength.

    I feel low back takes a while to recover from really strenuous work. I alternate row styles between barbell row, pendlay row, dumbbell row and landmine row. You could try alternating to give your lower back time to recover. Also try back extensions or reverse extensions to directly work the lower back.Start easy so you aren't out with DOMS. I did them every other day for a month or two.

    Also I'd say make sure you have a hip hinge - deadlift or romanian deadlift - in there. I think any static position you put yourself in you should be comfortable and strong through adjacent ranges of motion as well.
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    Registered User Hutrapper's Avatar
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    Oddly enough, I rdl 330 pounds as part of my fierce 5 program, but the thing that makes my back hurt is pendlays @165...


    Not sure why
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    Registered User clydeax's Avatar
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    Thank you for answers!

    First of all, i know i can fix my pain with deadlift. So i am doing deadlift clearly and there is no problem. But still have an issue with pendlay or barbell row. I do with 100lbs in this afternoon and still have sorenes.. And it doesn't look like DOMS. Maybe i can decrease the weight to 90lbs and try again but can you suggest a new exercise? Thank you again
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    HeMB's Avatar
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    Yeah no need to do pendlays at all.

    Do something chest supported.

    Although if you are able to do them pain free, pendlays are a beast.
    Skwat bench ded
    but still DYEL?
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    I propose to think about the next option - use vertical traction as a developmental exercise for the latissimus dorsi muscles. As a compensation for the posterior deltoids, rhomboid and trapezius muscles of the back in the training program on a mandatory basis there must be a fly on the back and variations in deadlifts.
    To stabilize the shoulder joints, these measures are sufficient.
    bench press 165 kgx1, 125 kgx13, 100 kgх24
    overhead press 100 kgx1, 82,5 kg 4 sets х 5 reps
    deadlift 230 kgx1, 200 kgx4, 190 kg 3 sets x 5 reps
    raw squat 180 kgx1, 150 kg 5x5
    chin-ups +25 kg x10 reps
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    Originally Posted by Oleg1975K View Post
    I propose to think about the next option - use vertical traction as a developmental exercise for the latissimus dorsi muscles. As a compensation for the posterior deltoids, rhomboid and trapezius muscles of the back in the training program on a mandatory basis there must be a fly on the back and variations in deadlifts.
    To stabilize the shoulder joints, these measures are sufficient.
    What do you mean by vertical traction, do you mean hanging on the pull-ups bar to help back, or do you mean to do some pull-ups?
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    Originally Posted by HeMB View Post
    Yeah no need to do pendlays at all.

    Do something chest supported.

    Although if you are able to do them pain free, pendlays are a beast.
    +1 agreed
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    Originally Posted by OldFartTom View Post
    What do you mean by vertical traction, do you mean hanging on the pull-ups bar to help back, or do you mean to do some pull-ups?
    This is any traction with resistance from top to bottom.
    Pull-ups, upper block or gravitron. Muscles called "musculus teres major)" or "musculus latissimus dorsi" have no brains to distinguish between the names of the exercises, they are either contracted or not.
    bench press 165 kgx1, 125 kgx13, 100 kgх24
    overhead press 100 kgx1, 82,5 kg 4 sets х 5 reps
    deadlift 230 kgx1, 200 kgx4, 190 kg 3 sets x 5 reps
    raw squat 180 kgx1, 150 kg 5x5
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    Originally Posted by clydeax View Post
    Thank you for answers!

    First of all, i know i can fix my pain with deadlift. So i am doing deadlift clearly and there is no problem. But still have an issue with pendlay or barbell row. I do with 100lbs in this afternoon and still have sorenes.. And it doesn't look like DOMS. Maybe i can decrease the weight to 90lbs and try again but can you suggest a new exercise? Thank you again
    I like Pendlays in F5, but starting out I had same problem with low back pain. What fixed it for me was I would squat somewhat to quads near parralel and bend my torso down so my belly was pretty much resting on my quads. Then I felt I could really lock my lower back and lower body, keep them tight during the lift. The first few times my quads felt like Jell-O toward the end of each set (especially since Pendlays come on squat day in F5), but now it's definitely the muscles I'm training that fail before my lower back or quads.

    Also, I made a conscious effort after each rep to relax my body and then re-tighten before taking the slack out of the bar

    If you want a new exercise, you can do seated row with a wide grip and sit straight up. Be sure to still tighten the lower back.
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    So what do you think about t bar row? Can it be an alternatife instead pendlay?

    So which exercise would you choose between t bar and chest supported dumbbell row? Thank you again
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    Registered User rdf1988's Avatar
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    MY lower back used to feel sore every time I did a barbell row. After years of this (and me subsequently leaving barbell rows out of my programming in favour of machine row variations), I eventually tried turning my toes in slightly in my setup position, then screwing my feet into the floor, creating and holding tension in the glutes. If I maintain that tension while doing barbell rows, my lower back feels fine. If I don't, it takes almost no weight for my lower back to get sore.

    But Pendlay rows (along with all other barbell row variations) are ultimately unnecessary. Bench rows, supported row machine, cable row and one-arm DB row are all perfectly adequate variations.
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    Originally Posted by clydeax View Post
    So what do you think about t bar row? Can it be an alternatife instead pendlay?

    So which exercise would you choose between t bar and chest supported dumbbell row? Thank you again
    From the substitutions post in the F5 Comprehensive thread:

    "Pendlay Rows-Any horizontal pull. T bar is a good example. Your arms need to be directly out in front of you for it to be considered a horizontal pull. BORs don't count."
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    I had similar problem. Just switched to t bar rows and never looked back.
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    OP, if you still think it's safe to give BB rows a shot. This is the set up that I find works.

    1. Hip hinge as far back as you can, now drop your arms to as wide as where you're gonna row. Your flat bench grip width can be a starting point.

    2. Whatever height that is, put up blocks or mats so the barbell is at that height, don't go any lower.

    3. Do a couple of pulls and see how it goes, the bar should move in more or less a straight line, so don't set up at your ankles if you're rowing to your nipple line. Your may have to screw your feet out to get your knees out of the way.

    4. When you pull, you should feel the stress distribute over your glutes and tension in your hamstrings. Keep thinking loaded hamstrings and butt as far back as possible, imagine sinking the lower disks of your spine slightly downwards.

    I feel like if you can do RDLs well and get painful stretches in your hams, you won't have much problem with BB rows as long as you set the barbell height accordingly. Not everyone can row from the floor.
    Last edited by Sherniee; 10-27-2019 at 11:38 PM.
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