T-bar row

Exercise details

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

Starting position

  1. Stand over a t-bar with a wide stance and knees slightly bent.
  2. Keeping your torso upright and back straight, bend down, grasp the handles with either a wide or a shoulder-width grip, and pull the bar off the floor a little. Your back should be straight and almost horizontal, and your arms should be almost fully extended.


  1. Exhale as you pull the t-bar up to your abdomen.
  2. Hold for a count of two.
  3. Inhale as you return the t-bar to the starting position.
  4. Repeat.

Comments and tips

  • Pull with your back muscles, not your biceps.
  • Keep your back straight and close to horizontal.
  • Start light to give your lower back time to adapt.
  • If your gym doesn’t have a t-bar lever/machine, you can use a barbell. Just position one end of the barbell into a corner to keep it from moving, load the other end with plates, wrap a double row bar around the barbell, and you’re ready to go.
  • Unlike what most people think, in rowing actions such as the t-bar row, your biceps act neither as targets nor synergists, only dynamic stabilizers.

T-bar row video



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