Tip: Do the Tabletop Row

Stop butchering the barbell row. Do this accessory exercise, find your form flaws, then get back to heavy rows. Check it out.

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Most lifters butcher the form of the barbell row. Do this exercise to fix it.

Tabletop Row

Just before you do any row that involves a bent-over position, have a training partner place a plate or two on your middle upper back.

The Benefits

  • Helps maintain a steep, near parallel, bent-over position.
  • Improved form because the back must maintain a natural arch for the plate to sit on. Spinal flexion is impossible.
  • Eliminates top rock and excessive momentum. Otherwise, the plates will literally fall off the back and injure animals or small children.
  • Increased proprioceptive feedback from lats, middle, and upper back. The plates against your body provide sensory palpation, giving you better kinesthetic awareness of your back activation and postural alignment.
  • Greater direct overload to the entire posterior chain, including upper back, low back, glutes, and hams, without further fatigue to the arms and grip. As a result, your back muscles are more likely to fail before your arms.
  • Keeps you from over-rowing with excessive range of motion because the elbows and shoulder blades will run into the plates, causing them to move around on the back.
  • Improves low back strength immensely. The movement represents a combination Romanian deadlift and good-morning in terms of weight distribution with direct tension to the erector muscles.