How to Do a Barbell High Row

The high barbell row is generally considered a back exercise, but the muscles of the entire body are active during this movement. The muscles of the middle and upper back (latsi, rhomboid, trapezius, posterior deltoid) together with the biceps allow the pulling movement. But the core, glutes, erectors spinae, and hamstrings should also work to stabilize the body during high barbell rows.

This exercise is most often done in a gym because the equipment is readily available, but can be included in your home workout if you have a barbell and weights. It can also be performed with dumbbells if there is no bar available. But it's easier to add more weight with a barbell.


The high barbell line offers benefits for bodybuilders, strength training athletes, and ordinary people who want to get through the day with more ease and stability.

Train the body for ADL

Pulling exercises, such as high barbell rows, are exercises in which the focus is on the concentric contraction. Concentric contractions involve shortening the muscle and are generally those exercises that involve pulling resistance toward the body. Most exercises include a concentric and eccentric phase. But some moves, like the high bar line, emphasize pulling more than pushing. It is important to include push and pull movements in a comprehensive training program.

During activities of daily living (ADL), your body needs strength for typical pulling activities. The more you build strength with eccentric (jerk) training, the better equipped you will be for activities like opening a heavy door, lifting a child, or getting groceries out of the trunk of your car.

Increases upper body size and strength.

If weight training is your focus, the high barbell line will help you build a larger back effectively by helping to increase the size of the large wing-shaped latissimus dorsi, commonly called the "back." The lats are the largest muscles in the upper body. The lats participate in movement through the shoulder joint. Strong lats also help provide stability during arm and torso movements.

Well-developed lats also give your back a wide V-shape that is often desired by bodybuilders. While many bodybuilders focus on concentric training to increase muscle size (hypertrophy), studies have shown that eccentric training is just as effective for building bigger muscles.

Promotes spinal stability

There are many different muscles involved in maintaining central and spinal stability. The researchers identified two muscle groups, including a "local" system and a "global" system that work together to stabilize the spine during dynamic movements.

The local system (multifidus, transverse abdomen, diaphragm, and pelvic floor muscles) includes muscles that attach directly to the vertebrae. The muscles of the global system transfer load directly to the rib cage and pelvic girdle to promote stability.

The latissimus dorsi, together with the erector spinae, rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques, quadratus lumbar, and gluteus maximus are included in the global system. These muscles must be active to correctly execute the high line of the bar. By strengthening them with this exercise, you promote greater spinal stability and neuromuscular control.

Balances the body

When you train in the local weight room, it's easy to focus on just the muscles in the front of your body, especially when you start weight training. Sometimes called "vanity muscles," the chest, abdomen, shoulders, and biceps are most apparent when you look in the mirror. Therefore, it can be tempting to build these areas first. But building a strong spine with exercises like the high barbell line helps balance the body both visually and functionally.

Step-By-Step Instructions

If you are new to the exercise or strength training routine, you should consult a doctor to make sure there are no special modifications to follow. If you were sedentary, injured, or returned to exercise after pregnancy, ask your doctor for permission first.

Prepare for the high line of the bar by standing in front of a bar with your feet about hip-width apart. Test the weightless plate movement first, just to get an idea of ​​the proper shape. When adding weight, start with less than you think you will need and add weight as you get comfortable being in good shape. Always secure the weight plates with a barbell collar.

  • Slightly bend your knees and lean forward, rotating your hips and pushing your buttocks back.
  • Squat down and grab the bar with an overhead grip to prepare to row. The back should be strong and flat, with the knees bent. Try to keep your gaze neutral (don't look down, crank your neck, or look too high). Hands should be placed on the bar at shoulder height. In this starting position, your shoulders should be only a few inches higher than your hips.
  • Exhale and wrap your shoulder blades and mid-back to pull the bar toward your torso. The elbows will be raised forward and backward diagonally. The core is still strong. At the highest point, the bar lightly touches the area at the bottom of the rib cage.
  • Slowly release the bar down until your arms are fully extended and repeat.
    Do 2-3 sets of 8 to 10 reps per set.

Enjoy Watching This Video About Strength

Source: Jeremy Ethier

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