Get the most out of T-bar rows

Get the most out of T-bar rows

If you are looking to strengthen the robust muscles in your back, you would need to perform a series of compound exercises that focus on various parts

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If you are looking to strengthen the robust muscles in your back, you would need to perform a series of compound exercises that focus on various parts of your upper body. The T-bar row is a fantastic exercise that is effective when it comes to working the muscles of your lower, middle, and upper back. The T-bar row, which is one of the “row” exercises, is one that sees you utilize a pulling movement to work your back muscles. The prone incline bench row, seated row, one-arm dumbbell row, and the bent-over barbell row are some of the other row variations that target the major muscles in your back.

Muscles worked when performing T-bar rows

While you are doing the T-bar row, you would be able to feel the various muscles of your body working to stabilize your lower back and pull the weight close to your chest. When you pull the weight toward your torso, your shoulder blades would retract and, in turn, aids with the pulling downmuscular guy and back of your shoulders.

You need to train your body to stay in this position as our shoulders are always rounded when we are seated, which would lead to poor posture. Correcting this is easy as you have to aim for an upright, neutral spine position, ensuring it is not flexed too far backward or forward.

When doing the T-bar rows, these are the primary muscles that are targeted;

  •         Rotator muscles; consist of the infraspinatus and teres minor.
  •         The teres major; is the muscle located close to the deltoid and is responsible for adducting and medially rotating the arm.
  •         Rhomboids, this muscle is responsible for squeezing the shoulder blades together.
  •         Trapezius, this muscle extends from the neck down along the spine and across the shoulder blades.
  •         Posterior deltoid, this muscle is also known as the rear shoulders.
  •          The latissimus dorsi is the large muscle that covers a significant part of the mid to lower back and is responsible for extending, abducting, and rotating the arm.

Common mistakes to avoid when performing T-bar rows

These are the common mistakes people make when performing the T-bar row that could affect the efficiency of the workout and also make you more likely to sustain injuries.

Pulling with your Biceps instead of your back

When doing the T-bar row, if you feel like you are getting more of an arm workout than back activation, it could be because of a number of reasons. The first reason is that when you get to the top of the movement, you don’t retract your scapula. Your scapula should be fully stretched at the bottom of the movement and fully retracted at the top. If you are one of those trying to establish a strong mind-muscle connection, then it is advisable to utilize a second hold at the top to make sure you squeeze the muscles in your back as hard as possible.

Another reason could be that you grip the weight so tightly that you activate more forearms and biceps. To correct this, imagine that your hands are hooks and pull with your elbows so that you can properly envision pulling the weight with your back.

Maintaining a wrong posture

A very common mistake people make when doing the T-bar row is placing severe tension on the upper spine and neck. When doing this exercise, you have to keep your spine and neck as neutral as possible to prevent significant tension that could strain the muscles or lead to a tension headache. This signifies that your face, as well as your upper body, should be parallel to the ground. Your head should not be up while performing this exercise as most people are fond of looking at themselves in the mirror while doing reps.

Not taking advantage of multiple attachments and grips

Your back is a relatively large muscle group that consists of various muscles, functions, and insertion points. This is why it is advisable to target it from multiple angles now and then, and not stay stuck with the same old variation. T-bar rows should be treated as the versatile exercise that it is. You can opt to use the straight bar handle or the normal V-handle. You can then perform an underhand or overhead-grip row from there, or you can choose to hold the bar with your hands directly without the use of any attachments. Doing this places uneven stress on your back, which is essential for further muscle damage and stabilization. Always maintain balance be ensuring that you alternate your grip with each set.

Not bending over enough

Your upper body needs to be parallel to the ground if you want to maintain proper form when doing the T-bar row. Also, for every degree that makes you not fully parallel to the ground, there would be a shift in the emphasis from your middle back and lats to your traps and upper back. If your primary reason for doing the T-bar row is to work your lats, you need to bend over as much as you can. But, if you are looking to work your traps and upper back, then you should maintain a more upright position.

Keeping your legs straight during the lift

Just like with other rowing movements, a lot of people are fond of keeping their legs straight, which will most likely lead to injuries. However, it doesn’t only involve sustaining injuries as you would not have a solid base for holding yourself in place and lifting the maximum amount of weight if you don’t bend your knees during the lift. When you bend your knees, you would be able to push your hips back, which would place the weight under your center of gravity instead of at your front.

You use a lever like equipment for the T-bar rows. This means that the length of the level would determine how difficult it is for you to lift the weight. Harder in this context doesn’t mean overloading your upper back and lats more. When your legs are straight during this movement, your lower back would have to work three times more, which would most often lead to lower back pain.

Benefits of T-bar rows

The T-bar row is an exercise that provides you with a lot of benefits, which include;

Adaptability and loading

You can perform T-bar rows no matter your strength level. This is because you are given the freedom to use the amount of weight you are comfortable with. You don’t have to worry about delaying or interrupting your workout as removing or adding weight will take you only seconds. Plate-loading machines are mostly used for T-bar rows, so you can increase your workload in small increments by using low denomination weights.


When doing the T-bar row, the weight is placed right underneath your center of gravity, so that your lower back is not subject to a lot of stress. Other rows that could pull you forward and increase the strain on your lower back include the Pendlay rows and bent-over barbell rows.


You can work your back from different angles thanks to the T-bar rows machines that give you the freedom to use a variety of hand positions. These are some of the most popular grips for doing T-bar rows;

  •         Narrow-underhand grip
  •         Wide-overhand grip
  •         Shoulder width-neutral grip
  •         Close-neutral grip

You can add a lot of variety to your workout by utilizing these four hand positions.

It is a total back exercise

The T-bar row goes beyond being an exercise for just your lats. It is an exercise that targets the whole posterior chain, which is why it is a very effective exercise. If you are going to be doing only one back exercise, then it should be the T-bar row. In addition, it would also target your biceps.

How to perform the T-bar rowT-bar

There are ways to perform the T-bar row so that you would get the maximum benefits and also reduce your chances of getting injured. This exercise consists of unsupported forward flexion, which could strain your spine and lower back muscles. These are the steps to perform the T-bar rows correctly;

  •         First, you mount yourself on the platform, ensuring that you keep one foot on each side. You should place your feet in a distance that is between shoulder-to-hip-width apart.
  •         Hinge forward from your hips while bending your knees slightly and keeping your feet flat. Your back should be arched a little.
  •         Use your two hands to grasp the handles. Then lift the weight with your arms until you get your torso to a point between an angle of 45 degrees and parallel to the ground.
  •         Then, bend your arms before pulling the handle toward your chest. Ensure your wrists are straight and always lead with your elbows. Ensure that you do not round your lower back.
  •         Then, you extend your arms fully and repeat the movement.
  •         If you opt to perform some cheat reps, ensure that you prevent your lower back from rounding as you could put yourself at risk of sustaining severe injuries and also use your legs for assistance.