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How to Do the Hammer Strength Row For An Amazing Back Workout

If you’re looking to build a strong and defined back, you know that you need to incorporate heavy rows into your workout routine. But, the traditional bent-over position used in key row variations can put a lot of strain on your lower back. That’s where the Hammer Strength row machine comes in. This piece of equipment is an invaluable addition to your back training routine, as it allows you to perform heavy rows with a lot less stress on your lower back.

The Hammer Strength row is designed to keep your lower back in a safer and more stable position, allowing you to place your focus on the squeeze of your shoulder blades where you’ll see the most muscle-building gains. It’s also an effective tool for gaining a greater lat stretch while still incorporating more weight. This is why the Hammer Strength row is a must-have in any weight room and is a great option for anyone looking to build a strong and defined back. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about the Hammer Strength row, including proper form, benefits, mistakes to avoid, alternatives, and more.

How To Do A Hammer Strength Machine Row

Man Demonstrating How To Do A Hammer Strength Machine Row

Here’s how to perform this exercise with perfect form

Step 1: Positioning

  • Start by aligning the seat so that your chest is secure with the chest pad.
  • Choose your hand positioning.

Step 2: Bracing

  • Take a deep breath and brace your abs.
  • Drive your chest into the pad.

Step 3: Arching

  • Squeeze your glutes and let the bar pull you forward slightly.
  • This will give you an additional stretch.

Step 4: Pulling

  • Pull back each handle as you drive your chest into the pad, creating a slight hinge into the movement.
  • Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades for about two seconds.

Step 5: Returning to Start Position

  • Return to the starting position under complete control.
  • Make sure to get a nice deep stretch at the bottom.

Step 6: Repeat

  • Repeat the exercise until you have completed the targeted number of reps.

Pro Tips for Hammer Strength Row

  • Keep your stomach firmly against the pad and put one leg forward to help you arch your back and lessen compression forces on your lumbar area. This will help to isolate your lats better.
  • Visualize your hands as hooks while rowing.
  • Avoid pulling with your biceps. Keep a slight bend in your elbows and use them to contract your lats.
  • At the top position, hold the weight for a count of one, keeping your elbows slightly bent.
  • To get a deep stretch, extend your rear shoulders and upper lats forward at the bottom position.

Hammer Strength Row Muscles Worked

The Hammer Strength row machine is designed to target your back muscles, making each and every rep as effective as possible. Let’s take a closer look at what muscles you’ll be working when you hop on this machine.

Lats – The Power Players

Your lats, or latissimus dorsi, are the stars of the show when it comes to the Hammer Strength row. These muscles cover a large portion of your back, running from your lumbar spine to your shoulders. They help to retract and depress your shoulder blade, which is the key movement of the Hammer Strength row.

Biceps – The Assistants

Your biceps will also get involved during the Hammer Strength row, but they play a supportive role. As you complete the row movement by bending your elbows, your biceps and brachialis muscles help to facilitate this action.

Upper Back – The Supporting Cast

The Hammer Strength row is a compound exercise, meaning it works several muscles at once. Your rhomboids, middle and lower trapezius, infraspinatus, and rear deltoids will all receive some attention during the exercise. Although these muscles help to bear some of the load, the mechanics of the Hammer Strength row ensure that the majority of the work is done by your lats.

So, whether you’re looking to build strength, increase muscle size, or improve your posture, the Hammer Strength row has got you covered. Give it a try and feel the burn in your back!

How Many Sets And Reps Should You Do Of Hammer Strength Row?

The Hammer Strength Row can be included in your workout either at the start or end of your back session or upper body workout.

At the beginning of your workout, aim for four sets with a heavy weight, with 6 to 10 reps each. As a finisher, you can use lighter weight and do 3 sets with 15 to 20 reps, pulling to fatigue.

For muscle growth, aim for 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps, trying to reach muscular failure. For back strength, aim for 4 sets of 6 reps with a heavy weight. If you’re doing the exercise with one arm, do fewer sets with higher reps (12 to 15) to target your lats.

Who Should Use The Hammer Strength Row Machine?

The accessibility of the Hammer Strength row machine makes this exercise suitable for anyone with a regular weight training regimen. This exercise is a favorite among bodybuilders because of its low-impact nature, which makes it possible to target muscles with little technical challenge.

How to Do the Hammer Strength Row For An Amazing Back Workout

Because of the ease with which substantial quantities of weight can be loaded, strength athletes also enjoy rapid development. If you’re into functional training, you may still benefit from this machine because it lets you lift more weight than you could with barbell or dumbbell exercises alone.

If you’re just starting out with rowing, the Hammer Strength row is a great way to develop a feel for the movement without having to worry too much about your form.

Hammer Strength Row Mistakes to Avoid

Improper Seat Height

  • Make sure your seat is set at the right height to align with the direction of your pull.
  • Avoid sitting too low or too high as it affects the effectiveness of your back muscles.

Pulling with Arms

  • Remember that the Hammer Strength row is primarily a back exercise.
  • To engage your back muscles, retract your shoulders as you row, rather than just bending your elbow.

Shrugging Shoulders

  • Watch out for shrugging your shoulders while rowing, it may be a sign that the weight is too heavy for you.
  • Keep your mind-muscle connection in check and avoid elevating your shoulders during the exercise.

Hammer Strength Row Benefits

The Hammer Strength row machine offers a variety of benefits that can be enjoyed by gym-goers of all levels and fitness goals. The unique design of the machine provides multiple functional benefits that are not limited to just one type of fitness enthusiast. Some of the benefits are:

Improved Stability

One of the best things about the Hammer Strength row is that it takes the stress off your joints and external stability, allowing you to focus on building your back muscles. With this machine, you don’t have to worry about lower back pain, losing control, or falling over while working out.

Flexibility in Training

Another great feature of the Hammer Strength row is that it gives you the option to train both arms at once or work with each arm separately. This variety of options allows you to choose how to best train your back, be it through bilateral movements, alternating arms, or focusing on one side at a time.

Easy to Use

Unlike free weights or cables, exercise machines like the Hammer Strength row are simple to work with. This makes it an excellent choice for beginners who may not be comfortable lifting heavy weights yet. With this machine, all you need to do is set the seat and add the desired weight, then get to work!

Hammer Strength Row Variations

If you’re in a gym and the Hammer Strength Row is occupied by a selfish gym-goer or simply not available, don’t fret! You’ve got other options to give your back the workout it deserves. Try these alternatives that are just as good, but with a different twist.

Seated Cable Row

Man showing how to do seated cable row with pause

The Seated Cable Row is a great option if you’re looking for a more comfortable alternative to the Hammer Strength Row. This exercise works your back in a similar way to the machine, but the resistance is more consistent. However, there is no chest support to brace against, so you’ll need to contract your core to stabilize your body while rowing.

Half-Kneeling Single-Arm Cable Row

This exercise targets your back, core, and hip muscles all at once. To perform this row, simply assume a half-kneeling position in front of an adjustable cable machine and row with one arm at a time. This will still challenge your lats, but you’ll also need to stabilize your pelvis during the exercise.

Prone Dumbbell Row

The Prone Dumbbell Row, also known as a Seal Row, is a great free-weight alternative to the Hammer Strength Row. The main difference is that you’re pulling vertically with your arms hanging down, rather than horizontally. The Prone Dumbbell Row is likely to be harder at the top of each rep and easier at the bottom.

Take Away

When it comes to training your back, the Hammer Strength row is a no-brainer. It’s as easy as pie, leaving no room for confusion and ensuring that your hard work is targeted toward your desired results. No need to worry about stability or other distractions, just sit back (not literally), load up, and let the gains roll in! Trust us, your back will thank you for it.


Rahul is a sports and performance consultant. Over the course of his 15-year career in the fitness sector, he has held positions as a strength and conditioning instructor, gym owner, and consultant. He is deeply committed to assisting people in finding happiness and feeling good about themselves. Rahul has a master's degree in exercise science and is a certified NSCA CSCS and CISSN.

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