The Bentover Row
Build and protect your back with this old-school standard.
Like peanut butter and jelly, the bentover row and bench press go together perfectly. The row strengthens the upper back, counterbalancing what the bench press does for your pecs and shoulders. It ensures good posture and provides a lower-body and core workout. Check your form with these tips from Keith Scott, C.S.C.S., a strength coach in Medford, N.J., and then see some row variations under “Get Bent”.
STAND WITH YOUR FEET BETWEEN HIP AND SHOULDER-WIDTH APART. With your lower back in its natural arch, crouch down and grab the bar with a slightly wider-than-shoulder-width grip, and then extend your hips and knees to stand up with it (as in a deadlift).
KEEPING YOUR LOWER BACK ARCHED, BEND FORWARD AT THE HIPS and bend your knees until your torso is about 45 degrees to the floor. Allow your arms to hang straight down, and focus your eyes on the floor [A].
SQUEEZE YOUR SHOULDER BLADES TOGETHER AND ROW THE WEIGHT upward until it touches your sternum. As you row, do not allow your torso to rise or dip [B]. Lower the bar back to the starting position. That’s one rep.
Try these row variations for back-blitzing workouts
“By using a palms-up grip, you can target the lats and biceps more directly,” says Scott. The hand position may also be easier on your shoulders, as some people feel a pinch from using the standard, palms- down version.
Using a very wide, almost double-shoulder-width grip (as used in the Olympic lift, the snatch) requires more work from your upper back.
The chest-supported T-bar row machine in your gym will allow you to lift heavier weights and “get a better squeeze out of your shoulder blades at the top of the range of motion,” says