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Are barbell rows necessary? [Article, Free Download]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Apr 5, 2019 9:30:00 AM

Are barbell rows necessary?

Are barbell rows necessary?

Barbell rows are not necessary for the gym. You can replace them with dumbbell rows. Still, many elite lifters report that a higher deadlift can be established by rowing more. 

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What is your why 


 Before we go into the question of whether barbell rows are necessary, let me ask you a couple of questions: 


  • Why do you want to barbell row?
  • Why do you want to get stronger? 
  • Why do you want to build muscle? 
  • What happens if you do? 
  • What happens if you don’t? 


These questions are central to your long term success. Answering them will make it more likely for you that you will stay committed to your fitness goals and see them through. Sitting down and answering them will pay dividends. Most people go through their lives like this: 


  • What do I want 
  • How do I get it 
  • Why do I want it 


With this framework, you will be chasing your own tail. What you want changes hundreds of times a day. It depends on whom you see, what you hear and where you spend your time. If you let your life be guided by your surroundings you will have a hard time to reach by our fitness and life goals. Something interesting happens when you flip this on its head: 


  • Why do you want something 
  • How do you want to get it 
  • What do you need to do to get it 


With this, all of your thoughts and actions are connected to one purpose. You will know why you are doing something and can evaluate whether you are getting closer to the desired goal. Others will notice to and will be more likely to support your cause. If you want to know how this works on a psychological level read Daniel Kahneman's thinking fast and slow. Simon Sinek's TED talk on the golden circle will also help you understand. 


The barbell row 


The barbell row either starts from the ground or somewhere below the hip. There are many variations and the basic idea is to get the barbell to a certain height and curing it to the chest in a straight line. 


Interesting visitations on the barbell row are the Yates row, pendulum row and reversed grip row. With the row, you are mainly training the rear delts and lats depending on how they are executed. 


Hand placement for the barbell row


Your hand placement can influence which muscles you want to focus most on with the row. The wider the grip, the more you will train your lats and grip. The more narrow the grip the more you will incorporate the biceps, triceps, and traps in the movement. 


You can play around with the variations depending on your needs. 


Body English 


Body English refers to how much you are moving your body through the row. The more body English there is, the higher the injury risk. Rows with a lot of body English are popular with powerlifters. It suits their training style of maximizing their one repetition maximum. 


Bodybuilders usually tend to favor time under tension and minimize their body English to focus on specific muscles. 


Is the barbell row necessary for Weightlifting 


Weightlifters might want to use the barbell row to bring up their back strength. Often the s arch grip deadlift and the good morning are preferred exercises to accomplish this task. Still, a big row is always impressive. 


Barbell row for Bodybuilding 


As bodybuilders do not compete with the barbell they can also use dumbbells to row. This might even be more beneficial as you have more freedom to tilt or turn the dumbbell slightly to attack muscles more targeted. 


Barbell row for Powerlifting 


Many lifters with very good deadlift numbers will recommend the barbell as an accessory lift on deadlift days. This helps to bring the back strength up to deadlift more weight. 


Barbell row for CrossFit 


Again, a big row never hurts to build more strength. Still, CrossFit athletes seldom, if ever, compete in the barbell row. It might benefit your deadlift for certain circuits if it is weak. 


Barbell row for General fitness 


To achieve general fitness goals like losing weight or getting ripped neither dumbbells or barbells are necessary. Here you have to pay attention to diet and cardio. 


Are barbell rows necessary 


Barbell rows are most necessary for powerlifters. The effects can be easily replicated with dumbbells when it comes to muscle growth. 

Topics: Lift stronger, Fitness, Strength, Barbell