Underhand Yates row

Exercise details

  • Target muscles: The back in general
  • Synergists: Upper and Middle Trapezius, Rhomboids, Latissimus Dorsi, Teres Major, Posterior Deltoid, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, Biceps Brachii, Brachialis, Brachioradialis, Sternal (Lower) Pectoralis Major
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Pull

Starting position

  1. Holding a barbell using a shoulder-width supinated (underhand) grip, stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Flex your hips and knees to lean forward at a 45-degree angle. Your arms should be almost fully extended and the barbell should be resting on your thighs.


  1. Keeping your head up and your back straight, exhale as you pull the barbell up to your waist.
  2. Hold for a count of two and squeeze your back muscles.
  3. Inhale as you lower the barbell to the starting position in a controlled manner.
  4. Repeat.

Comments and tips

  • Keep your body still; only your arms should move.
  • Pull with your elbows, not with your biceps.
  • The underhand Yates row is great for strengthening and building your upper back and arms, and developing upper-body strength. You can, of course, also use a pronated (overhand) grip.
  • The Yates row is a modified version of the bent-over barbell row, with the main difference being in posture. With the bent-over barbell row, you keep your torso horizontal, whereas with the Yates row, you keep your torso at a 45-degree angle. As a result, the Yates row has a shorter range of motion, is easier on your lower back, allows for a greater load, and elicits less activation of the latissimus dorsi. Unlike the bent-over barbell row, the Yates row also hits the upper trapezius and allows the biceps brachii to get involved as a synergist (with the bent-over barbell row, the biceps brachii only acts as a dynamic stabilizer even if you use an underhand grip). The biceps brachii can get more involved with the underhand Yates row because your elbows are held closer to your body, which means that they are more stretched and therefore more capable of working.
  • Since the bent-over barbell row and underhand Yates row each have their own pros and cons, use them both, alternating between them as desired.

Underhand Yates row video


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