Variations of The Barbell Row

Man performing bent over barbell rows

As you go about setting up your upper body workout routine, the barbell row is one of the top movements that you’ll definitely want to make sure that you’re including.

But, over time, you may find that just performing the barbell row gets a little stale. Sure, it started off great but now you’re bored with this exercise and your body isn’t quite responding as it did back when you first introduced it into the mix.

The key to overcoming this progress plateau is to start adding a few of the barbell row variations into the program to wake up your body while still challenging your muscle tissues.

Any time you’re doing the same thing in the gym day after day you are going to risk your body hitting a plateau, so some quick changes can quickly help you overcome it.

Let’s have a look at the main points to consider.

How To Alter The Muscles Engaged When Performing The Barbell Row

The very first thing to look at is variations of the barbell row that can be performed. A simple way to change the standard barbell row is to simply switch the hand position around so that the palms are facing upwards rather than downwards.

If you do this, you’ll now put more of the force on the bicep muscles, so this will prove to be a fantastic arm developer.

Another variation of the barbell row is to space the hands out a bit further than you normally would. While you don’t want to go too far with this so that it’s actually quite uncomfortable to execute, the larger hand grip will help to stimulate the lat muscles to a greater extent, which then means it’s more of a back oriented exercise for width.

Do this often enough and you should notice that you’re gaining size at the sides of your body rather than just mid-aback.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you want to take some of the focus off the lats and place it on the mid-back instead, place the hands closer together on the bar and pull up from there.

This will ensure that you target that mid-back region for strengthening results there.

Similar Exercises Like The Barbell Row

1) If you would prefer to just shift away from the barbell row altogether, consider the dumbbell row. This one is performed almost identical to the barbell row only this time you’ll use a set of dumbbells rather than a barbell.

With those dumbbells, you could also do an incline row where you place the body on a slight incline by lying stomach down on a flat bench that’s been raised to about a 35 degree angle.

2) Another exercise that is similar to the barbell row is the horizontal row, which is often performed using a cable pulley station.

So there are many different ways to shake things up from the standard barbell row and liven up your workout sessions. Make sure you aren’t ignoring any of these in your own workout program.

24 Variations of The Row Exercise Using Various Equipment

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