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posted: 9/3/2012 6:00 AM

Doing bent-over row correctly can enhance workout

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  • Bent-over row, step 1

    Bent-over row, step 1

  • Avoid rounding your back

    Avoid rounding your back

  • Bent-over row, step 2

    Bent-over row, step 2

  • Progress to an underhand grip

    Progress to an underhand grip


The bent-over row is a great pulling exercise that utilizes the posterior muscles of the back, shoulders and hips as well as the core, biceps and forearms. Your posture and biomechanics will be improved by working this often neglected posterior muscle chain.

We'll use dumbbells to demonstrate this exercise, but it can be performed with most types of resistance such as kettlebells, barbells, dumbbells, resistance bands, a low cable machine or even body weight.

To perform ...

Grab a set of moderately weighted dumbbells and hold them at your sides with palms facing inward. With feet hip-width apart, bend the knees slightly as you lean forward to about a 45-degree angle. Be sure to keep your posture while maintaining a tight core. Your body will stay in this position for the duration of the exercise. As you exhale, pull the dumbbells up and back while you bring your shoulder blades together. Your elbows should slide right past the sides of your body as you pull. Inhale as you reach the dumbbells back to the starting position and repeat for a total of 15 repetitions.

Try to avoid ...

It's very easy to lose your posture as you lean forward. Think of folding in half at the waist rather than slouching with the back. To do this, you must allow your hips to tilt forward as you fold your upper body forward. Also remember to keep a neutral position of the neck and never allow your chin to drop into your chest.

How to progress ...

A great way to increase the challenge of this exercise is to change up the grip. Begin with an overhand grip, but as you row the weights up and back, twist the dumbbell so you end up with an underhand grip. You'll twist the dumbbells 180 degrees on each rep. This supination will challenge your grip as well as recruit more muscles through the arms, shoulders and back.

So include the bent-over row in your workout routine to add more muscle tone and improve your posture. For more exercise and nutrition tips, check out our blog at or find us on Facebook.

Joshua Steckler and Mark Trapp are co-owners of Push Fitness, a personal training studio in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning and nutrition. Contact them at

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