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How to Do T Bar Row for Back Development: The Ultimate Guide

athlete performing a t-bar-row

If you’re looking to build an impressive back, then T Bar Row is a great exercise to include in your routine. This guide will teach you how to do T Bar Row with perfect form so that you can get the most out of this exercise and see results!

What is the T Bar Row?

The T-bar row allows you to work for different muscle groups by using a barbell in a pulling range of motion, with or without the help of a machine.

Using a neutral grip while weightlifting results in a stronger and steadier position, meaning you can load up the weights more without fear of injury and see better gains as a result.

Muscles Worked by the T Bar Row

The T Bar Row is a back exercise that may help you develop a powerful, strong, and muscular back while also improving your pulling strength.

Another perk is that the T Bar Row is safer and more gentle on your back since it doesn’t put your lower back in a position where injury could occur.

The primary muscles that are worked:

·        Trapezius

·        Posterior deltoid

·        Latissimus dorsi

·        Rhomboids

The secondary muscles worked:

·        Core muscles

·        Biceps/Forearms

·        Spinae erector

·        Hamstrings/Glutes

Furthermore, wide lats can be achieved through Lat Pull Downs and Chin Ups, but it is rowing movements that give them density and thickness.

T Bar Row attachment

Benefits of the T Bar Row

  • Increased muscular strength
  • Better muscular coordination
  • Stronger and more muscular Back
  • Improve Your Posture
  • Improved core stability
  • Stronger core muscles
T bar row

How to do the T Bar Row

1.     Load up the barbell

2.    Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart behind the machine

3.    Place your chest on the padded surface (if using a machine)

4.    Reach down and grasp the T Bar machine’s handles

5.    While inhaling, tighten your core muscles, glutes and grip.

6.    Pull the Barbell towards your chest

7.    Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the move

8.    Pause and hold for a second

9.    Slowly lower the weight to its starting position.

10.  As you lower down, exhale through your mouth

11.  Perform the desired number of repetitions

T Bar Row Alternatives

These alternatives are all intelligent ways to stimulate and work similar muscle groups that the T Bar Row would hit.

·        Seal Row

·        Inverted Row

·       Dumbbell Row

·        Banded Row

·        Chest Supported Row

·        Yates Row

·        Underhand Barbell Row

·        Pendlay Row

·        Seated Close Grip Cable Row

·        Meadows Row

·        TRX – Row

·        Iso – Lateral Row

·        Barbell Row


What are the benefits of doing a T-Bar Row??

This exercise is a fantastic way to work your back muscles. It will develop considerable pulling power and muscle mass.

Is it better to use rows or pulldowns?

Rows, in general, induce a greater degree of muscular activation and growth than Pull Downs.

Do T Bar Rows Work Your Rear Delts??

Yes, they do.

T-Bar Rows: Does It Work Your Lats??

The latissimus dorsi is the primary muscle targeted by this type of Row.

The major back muscles, teres major, trapezius, and erector spinae are all targeted by this exercise.

T-Bar Row Common Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid these common errors to get the most out of T-bar rows.

Lifting more weight than you can handle: As a compound exercise, T-bar rows can be done with substantial weights, but using too much could make this exercise less effective. If you have to cheat to complete all your reps, round your back, or are unable to use a full range of motion, you are probably going too heavy. Reduce the weight and focus on your technique. In time, you’ll get stronger, and your weight will increase.

Having poor posture: T-bar rows are a terrific exercise for targeting the muscles on the back of your arms, as well as your lats. To make this exercise as efficient as possible, bend over to target your lats, rhomboids, and mid traps. Some T-bar rowers don’t lean far enough downward while others consider it an upright row. Upright rows work your upper traps and deltoids rather than your lats. You may be employing too much weight if you can’t lean forward and maintain a stable position. Reduce the amount of weight used or use a chest-supported T-bar row machine.

Don’t round your lower back: This is so important that we’re mentioning it again: rounding your lower back while working out puts a lot of unnecessary stress on your spine and could cause serious, permanent injury. If you aren’t sure about the position of your back, ask a training partner to watch you or video yourself during future workouts for feedback.

T-bar rows hurt my back – why?

Without you present to show me the exercise, it’s challenging to identify the root of the problem. However, back pain during T-bar rows is typically caused by one or more of these underlying issues:

·       Curving your lower back

·       Using too much weight

·       The erector spinae and/or weak core

·       Standing too far back from the bar or handle

If you’re looking to get rid of your back pain, start by fixing the issues listed above. However, if T-bar rows are still aggravating your back, try one of the alternatives from earlier. And finally, If your back starts hurting during other parts of your workout, be sure to see a doctor as soon as possible for professional help.

What is the ideal weight and reps for T-bar rows??

Don’t just throw any old weight on the T-bar row and expect to reach your fitness objectives. Instead, use the following suggestions to help you pick the best rep range and loading parameters for you:

  • Do 3-5 reps of an 85%+ one-repetition maximum (1RM) for strength. Rest 3-5 minutes between sets.
  • For those looking to grow their muscles (hypertrophy), do 6-12 reps using 67-85% of your 1RM. Take a break lasting 60-90 seconds between sets.
  • For muscular endurance, perform 13-20+ reps with less than 67% of your 1RM. Rest 30-60 seconds between sets.

If you don’t know how much weight to use for the T-bar row, that’s okay; just ensure that the weight allows your muscles to feel fatigued within the given number of repetitions. If you can’t meet the lower end of repetitions, then the weight is too heavy. However, if you can do more than what is specified as the upper limit, then it means that the weight choice is too light.

What is the best handle to use for a T-bar row??

The flexibility of the T-bar row is one of its best features. You can position your hands in one of four (or more) different ways, which adds some variety to your routines. While these variants are beneficial, one grip isn’t necessarily better than the others, and they all have advantages and benefits.

People usually find the narrow, parallel grip more comfortable because it allows them to lift heavier weights. However, a wider but weaker overhand grip is often times better for people who want to target their mid-traps and rhomboids.

If you’re stuck on which grip to use, why not try them all? You could do one set with each during your back workout or stick to just one for a month before changing. They can all be beneficial in their way, so don’t write any of them off. 


With this guide, you have everything you need to know about T-bar rows and how beneficial they are for your back. This move might take some extra time to master in comparison to other exercises, but it is worth it. You will see results quickly as your back muscles become stronger and more defined.


Also See:
DC Training  |  Mike Mentzer HIT  |  Dorian Yates Blood and Guts  |  Static Holds  |  Time Under  Tension  |  Rest Pause Sets  |  Extreme Stretching

Jake Anderson

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