Back Exercises: Bent Over T-Bar Rows

Bent Over T-Bar Rows are one of the best exercises you can do for your back. This easy to perform exercise will help build and strengthen your back muscles, particularly your middle back, and it also works your biceps and lats.

How to Do Bent Over T-Bar Rows

To perform the bent over T-bar rows, you will need an Olympic barbell. Place a weight on one end of the barbell only. Make sure the weight you choose, is one you will be able to lift up comfortably.

Bent Over T-Bar Rows

Bent Over T-Bar Rows | Setting Up

To prevent the barbell from sliding backwards while exercising, lodge the end of the bar that doesn’t have the weight on it, in the corner of a wall, or put something heavy behind the bar.

Place your feet on either side of the bar, and make sure they are flat on the ground. Slightly bend your knees and lower your upper body until it is almost parallel with the ground.

Stretch your arms out and grab hold of the bar. When grabbing the bar, place your hands one in front of the other just behind the weight. Your palms will be facing in toward each other. Now slowly lift the bar up until you can rest your bottom hand on your knee. You are now in the starting position.

Bent Over T-Bar Rows - Starting Position

Bent Over T-Bar Rows | Starting Position

While exhaling and keeping your elbows close to your torso, start to slowly raise the bar towards your chest. Keep raising the bar until the weight touches your lower chest. In order to help build strength in your middle back, while you are lifting the weight, start squeezing the muscles in your back. When the weight is touching your chest, hold this position for a couple of seconds. Do not arch your back while doing this. Keeping your back straight is very important, otherwise you can easily hurt your back.

Bent Over T-Bar Rows - The Lift Position

Bent Over T-Bar Rows | The Lift Position

While inhaling, start lowering the bar back down to the starting position. By lowering the bar slowly you will feel it pulling in your lats.

The bent over t-bar rows are not about seeing how much weight you can lift. Be sensible and only use the 25 pound plate. This weight will give you the most range of motion, and will result in a great workout for your middle back.

Take your time when doing this exercise and concentrate on what you are doing. If you are trying to see how quick you can perform the exercise, or you are not paying attention, your back will pay the price. If you do the bent over t-bar rows correctly, your back shouldn’t hurt, and you will strengthen the muscles in your back.

When you are done exercising, gently place the weight on the floor and slowly stand up. Stretch your back a little and even walk around for a minute.

Now that your back is stretched and your muscles have been loosened up you, are ready to proceed with the next exercise.


  • Try and aim for lower weight, but with higher repetitions to start with, and try and do at least 3 or 4 sets.
  • Using standard 45-pound plates could limit your range of motion, so if possible, use smaller plates like 25s and 35s
  • Remain in the bent-over position throughout the exercise, allowing your chest to rise only slightly as you bring the bar upward
  • To help prevent injury to your lower back, concentrate on drawing your navel in throughout the exercise, as well as maintaining the arch in your lower back
  • To more effectively target your lower lats, keep your elbows close to your sides as you pull the bar up. Flaring your elbows decreases the effectiveness

If you have any questions regarding the bent over T-bar rows, please post them in the comments below.


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