Tip: Good and Bad Barbell Rows

Great exercise, but are you making these common mistakes?

The bentover barbell row isn't for beginners or those with lower back issues. (If that's you, start with the chest-supported row.) Sadly, it's one of the most butchered movements in gyms.

Doing it properly involves going through a full range of motion as you brace your core and pull the bar to your lower chest while having a bend in the hips. Most beginners lack the motor skills necessary to do this task effectively at first, which is why I recommend starting with a chest-supported row.

You'll often see people getting over extended, forgetting to squeeze their shoulder blades, and rounding their upper back in an effort to grind out a couple more reps. This generally looks like a really bad version of a clean high pull.

The most common rowing mistake is when lifters short-arm the movement by pulling to their hips or stomach in an effort to lift more weight than they can handle.

TJ Kuster is a certified athletic trainer (ATC) and certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), specializing in mobility and injury prevention. He coaches at Method Sports Performance in Bloomington, IL.