4 Ways to Add Rowing Exercises to Your Workouts

STACK Expert Roger Lockridge advises adding these Row variations to your training to build a stronger back.

Just as Presses are important to help you develop your chest, Rows are essential back exercises to help you maximize your development as an athlete and lifter. Although movements involving pulling down or up are great as well, rows target the lower lats, the middle of the back, and the rear deltoids in some cases. Add these four row variations into your plan, and you should notice some serious size from the rear as well as improved strength.

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1. Barbell Row

The advantage to this movement is that both arms and both sides of your back pull a heavy object together so you can handle more weight. This extra volume can shock your muscles and improve your power.

  • Hold a barbell at arm's length with an overhand grip.
  • Bend at the hips while keeping your back as straight as possible. Your body should make a 60-degree angle. The bar should still be at arm's length and close to the floor.
  • Using force from your back and keeping your arms close to your sides, pull the bar up and into your waist. Don't swing the bar up and don't create momentum by jerking with your body, as this can lead to injury.
  • Once the bar meets your waist, squeeze your back muscles and lower the bar slowly to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 10-12 reps, resting for 2 minutes between sets.

Extra tip: Use an underhand grip to focus on your biceps and the lower part of your lats if you're focusing on bodybuilding.

2. One-Arm Dumbbell Row

This movement allows you to isolate one side or the other while benefiting from the use of a free weight.

  • Bend over and brace yourself with your left hand on a bench or machine.
  • Place your left foot out in front of you and your right foot back.
  • Grab a dumbbell from the floor with your right hand and hold it at arm's length. Maintain a neutral and straight spine.
  • Keeping your arm at your side, pull the dumbbell into your side. Squeeze your back muscles and lower the weight to the starting position.
  • When using your left hand, switch your feet and brace yourself with your right hand.
  • Repeat for 3 sets of 10-12 reps on both sides, resting 2 minutes between sets.

RELATED: Know Your Row: The Pros and Cons of 8 Different Back Exercises

3. Seated Row Machine

The benefits of Seated Rows: you're in a fixed path with a machine so it's easier to isolate the back; and they're safer than free weights. You are also seated instead of standing, so you're less likely to cheat the movement. Each machine has its own instructions, so follow the directions on the machine to perform the movement properly. It should require you to pull the handles in to your sides and lower them slowly to the stretched position while maintaining control.

  • Perform 3 sets of 15 reps, resting 90 seconds between sets.

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4. Cardio: Rowing Machine

This machine is great not only for the back muscles but also for burning a lot of calories in a short amount of time. This is because you use your whole body to control the machine, as opposed to a treadmill, which only requires you to use your legs. Like the weight training machines, different rowing machines have different instructions, so follow them as written.

  • Perform 10-15 minutes of rowing for great cardio after your weight training.

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