Master Class – T Bar Row
Lesson Learned: Construct a Thicker Back with Row
Make this one of your major mass-building back moves, along with pull-ups and heavy barbell or dumbbell rows. Although pull-ups and pull downs are great for adding width to the lats, heavy rows are superior for thickening the back musculature.
Muscles Emphasized: Latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, middle trapezius primarily; biceps, posterior deltoids secondarily; erector spinae (lower back) for stabilization.
Mechanics: Stand on the platform of T-Bar Row apparatus with your feet about shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent. Lean forward, grab the handles with a shoulder-width, natural grip and begin with your arms extended, back flat and your torso between 45 degrees and parallel to the floor.
Keeping your back flat and chest out, contract your back muscles and bend your elbows to pull the weight in toward you. At the top of the motion, squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold the contraction for a count. Slowly lower the weight back to the start position, reaching full elbow extension at the bottom of each rep.
Do: Change your grip often to hit the muscles from slightly different angles. Many T-Bar’s allow you tog o narrow with a neutral hand position.
Don’t: Make it an upper-trap move by standing up too tall. The torso at 45 degrees with the floor should be the highest angle you allow.
Next Level: When you go heavy on this exercise, incorporate rest-pauses on your last set to squeeze out a few more quality reps. On the initial set, rep out until you can no longer get the weight all the way to your midsection. Rest for 10 to 20 seconds in the arms-extended bottom position, then bang out a few more full-range-of-motion reps.
Options: If your gym does not have a dedicated T-Bar apparatus, do this exercise the old fashioned way – secure one end of an Olympic barbell in the corner of a room or squat rack, load up the opposite end with your weight plated and put a neutral-grip cable attachment underneath the bar to hold onto.
Training Tenets: T-Bar Rows can be used interchangeably with bent-over barbell rows (for instance, switching between them every other back workout) to serve as a heavy, mass-building move early in your workout. If back thickness is a particular weakness for you (as opposed to width), consider doing this exercise first in your routine.