Inverted row exercise

Inverted row

Exercise details

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

Starting position

  1. Adjust the height of the Smith machine bar so that it’s a little higher than arm’s length from the floor.
  2. Lie under the bar with your legs and body straight.
  3. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip that’s a little wider than shoulder width.


  1. Keeping your legs and body straight and your elbows close to your body, exhale as you pull your chest up to the bar.
  2. Hold for a count of two and squeeze your back muscles.
  3. Inhale as you lower your body until your arms and shoulders are fully extended.
  4. Repeat.

Comments and tips

  • In a comparison by Canadian scientists of the inverted row, the bent-over barbell row, and the standing one-arm cable row, the inverted row was found to elicit the highest activation of the latissimus dorsi, upper-back, and hip extensors. The exercise was also found to place far less stress on your lower back, making it ideal for people who have back problems.
  • To make the inverted row easier, either raise the bar higher or perform the exercise while sitting on your buttocks.
  • To make the exercise more difficult, either wrap a chain around your torso, wear a weighted vest, or elevate your legs so that they are almost level with the bar. If you elevate your legs, you can also safely place a weight plate on your abdomen.
  • You can perform the inverted row at home by lying under a chair, holding the chair’s sides, and pulling yourself up.
  • Also known as the body row, supine row, Australian pull-up, and fat-man pull-up.
  • See also the underhand-grip inverted row.

Inverted row video


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