Underhand Yates row


Exercise details

  • Target muscles: None; the back in general. See synergists
  • Synergists: Upper and Middle Trapezius, Rhomboids, Latissimus Dorsi, Teres Major, Posterior Deltoid, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor, Biceps Brachii, Brachialis, Brachioradialis, Sternal (Lower) Pectoralis Major
  • Dynamic stabilizer (not highlighted): Triceps Brachii (long head only)
  • 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.

Execution

  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. What’s more, whereas the Yates row hits the upper and middle trapezius, the bent-over barbell row hits the middle and lower trapezius.
  • The extent to which the biceps brachii is activated by the Yates row depends on whether you use an underhand or overhand grip. With the underhand grip, the biceps brachii gets involved as a synergist, whereas with the overhand grip, the biceps brachii gets involved only as a dynamic stabilizer. 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. (Note that with the bent-over barbell row, the biceps brachii only acts as synergist even if you use an underhand grip. The reason is that there’s less tension on the biceps brachii as a result of the torso being kept horizontal.)
  • 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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