How To Do T-Bar Row

Muscles Worked, Proper Form, Benefits And Common Mistakes While doing T bar Row

There’s a very common saying in the Bodybuilding community; if you want your back to grow, you gotta row! While a lot of exercisers do endless sets of pulldowns and pull-ups to build bigger lats, if you want a thick, densely muscled back, you need to do t-bar rows.

The T-bar row allows you to use a neutral grip—palms facing each other—which is the most biomechanically efficient pulling position. T-bars have an edge over bent-over rows in which the palms are turned down. Because you can use both hands, you can lift more weight, giving the T-bar a distinct advantage over dumbbell rows. The only drawback is that many gyms lack a T-bar row station, but we’ve got you covered!

Rows are a great back-building exercise, however, it is crucial to execute the workout with proper form in order to optimize your training session and minimize the risk of injury. When doing activities with a higher load, there’s an increased risk for both strength and injury.

Exercise Name – T-Bar Row
Also Called – Grappler Row, V Bar Row, Corner Row, Landmine Row, Fixed End Barbell Row
Primary Muscles – Lats
Secondary Muscles – Rhomboids, Rear Deltoids, Biceps, Middle Trapezius, Upper Trapezius
Function – Strength, Hypertrophy, Endurance
Mechanics – Compound
Force – Pull
Required Equipment – Barbell with V-Bar Handle Attachment, or T-Bar Row Machine
Optional Equipment – Landmine (used with barbell–this combo is second best to a t-bar row machine), Landmine Handle Attachment, Lifting Straps
Experience – Beginner
Rep Range – 5-15
Tempo – 1-0-x-1
Variations – Single Arm T-Bar Row, Supinated T-Bar Row
Alternatives – Yates Row, Chest Supported Row, Pendlay Row, Bent Over Barbell Row

Muscles Worked During T-Bar Row

Muscles worked during t-bar row
Muscles worked during t-bar row, image credit:

T-bar rows are a compound exercise. They usually require the use of two joints or more, as well as numerous muscle groups. T-bar rows are a back exercise, but other muscles are used as well. The main muscles are:

  • Latissimus dorsi – This muscle is responsible for shoulder extension and adduction and is located on the side of your back. The lats, as they’re often referred to, resemble wings when properly developed. When it comes to big lats, they’re visible from both the rear and the front.
  • Middle trapezius – The trapezius muscle, also known as your traps, is the diamond-shaped muscle that covers much of your upper back. The retraction of the shoulder girdle is its main purpose. The mid-traps provide your upper back with some thickness.
  • Rhomboids – The rhomboids are located beneath your mid-traps and aid in the retraction of the shoulder girdle, too.
  • Posterior deltoids – This muscle is responsible for horizontal extension and external rotation of the shoulder joint and is one of three deltoids or shoulder muscles.
  • Biceps brachii – The biceps brachii is generally shortened to “bicep,” this being your main elbow flexor. You can’t do T-bar rows without using your biceps as well.
  • Forearms – There are a lot of muscles in your forearms, many of which are utilized during T-bar rows. You’ll need a powerful grip to do this exercise, and some lifters use straps to assist them hold on to the bar better.
  • Erector spinae – The erector spinae group of muscles makes up your lower back. The erector spinae provide isometrics or a static hold to your spine during T-bar rows in order to keep it stable and avoid your back from curving too far.
  • Glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps – T-bar rows work your upper body, but they also engage your legs to an extent. Your glutes and hamstrings assist to keep your hips in place while your quadriceps work hard to keep your knees stable. These muscles can assist you in raising the weight if you deviate from strict reps.


If you don’t have a landmine unit at your gym, follow these steps.

Man doing t-bar row at gym
  • Place the end of an empty barbell in a room’s corner..
  • Put some weight plates or a heavy dumbbell to hold it down.
  • Load the other end with the desired amount of weight and straddle it.
  • Bend over at the hips with your torso 45 degrees to the floor and arms extended.
  • Hold the bar with both hands using a V-grip handle (the type you’d find at a cable station) underneath.
  • Keeping your lower back in its natural arch and squeezing your shoulder blades together, lift the bar until the plates touch your chest.
  • Lower to the starting position and repeat.

Benefits of T-Bar Rows

It’s a total back exercise: A T-bar row is much more than a lat exercise. It targets the entire posterior chain, including your glutes and hamstrings. This makes it a highly efficient back exercise. If you only have time for one back exercise, the T-bar row is a good pick. It’s also a fantastic biceps builder.

Easier to learn than barbell bent-over rows: Barbell bent over rows are a fantastic exercise, but they might be difficult to perfect. You must decide for yourself where to place your hands on the barbell and whether you should use an underhand or overhand grip when performing bent-over rows. You must first lift the bar from the floor before beginning your first repetition, and then perform a sort of Romanian deadlift to get into your starting position.

T-bar rows are significantly simpler. The weight is guided by the setup, making it far easier to get into your starting position. All this translates to T-bar rows being easier to learn.

Versatility of hand positions: Most T-bar row machines allow you to vary your hand positions to work your back from a variety of angles. The T-bar row can be done with the following types of grips:

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

Safety: The weight is directly below your center of gravity (COG), so T-bar rows put less strain on your lower back. Barbell rows and Pendlay rows put the weight in front of your COG, which can pull you forward and cause lower back strain.

Adaptability and loading: The T-bar row is a powerful exercise suitable for people with all kinds of strength levels. You may use as little or as much weight as you feel comfortable with and can manage. Adding or removing weights is quick, so you may easily modify the load without disrupting or delaying your routine. Because most T-bar rows are plate-loading machines, you may also use low-denomination weights to increase your workload in tiny increments, such as 2.5 pounds.

Common T-Bar Row Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid these common mistakes to get the most out of T-bar rows.

Using too much weight: Being a compound exercise, T-bar rows may be done with a lot of weight, but using too much might render it ineffective. If you have to cheat, round your back, or are unable to execute a complete range of motion while performing all your reps, you’re probably lifting too heavy. Reduce the weight and concentrate on your form. You’ll get stronger over time, and your weights will increase.

Standing too upright: When you bend over, the stress on your lower back rises, but to get the most out of this exercise, you must lean forward to hit your lats, rhomboids, and mid traps. Some people don’t bend far enough, turning the T-bar row into more of an upright rowing movement. Upright rows, unlike bent-over rows, target your upper traps and deltoids rather than your lats. If you can’t lean forward and keep your posture correct, you’re probably lifting too much weight. Reduce the strain by lowering the weight or, alternatively, utilizing a chest-supported T-bar row machine.

Don’t round your lower back: We’ve spoken about it before, but it’s so important that we’re going to say it again! Rounding your lower back puts a tremendous amount of strain on your spine and may result in serious and even lifelong damage. If you’re not sure about the position of your back, ask a training partner to observe you and offer feedback. You could also video yourself during your workout as an alternative.

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