T Bar Rows for Back Workout

Is your gym equipped with a T Bar rows machine?

I am asking because not all the gyms I've seen were equipped with it. The typical T Bar rower is this:

T Bar Rower

It's a bar where you can load the plates and it has two foot stands. The you bend over, grab the handles (T shape) and pull.



SECONDARY MUSCLES: Rear Shoulders, Back (Traps, Lumbar and Rhomboids), Quads, Glutes, Biceps, Abs

EQUIPMENT: Incline Bench, Dumbbells

TYPE: Compound


Being a compound exercise makes it very effective for increasing strength and size of your whole back.

Biceps are well worked too here as in any other pulling exercise.

Let's say though that legs and abs are worked as stabilizers only.

T Bar Rows


INITIAL POSITION: Stand on the foot stand with parallel feet, about shoulder width apart. Bend over until you can grab the T Bar, making sure your back is straight and not bent. You don't bend your knees too much, just enough to find a stable position. Your body should make a 90 degree angle with your upper legs. Head in neutral position.

MOVEMENT: From the initial position pull the bar towards your chest keeping your back and abs tight, and squeeze your rear shoulders, then slowly lower the bat to the initial position.

BREATHING: Exhale while you pull and inhale when you lower the bar.

TIPS and ERRORS: Make sure you warm up and find a stable position before you execute the exercise. It's important to keep you core tight to stay balanced. Don't arch your back and don't "squat" to help the lift with your legs.


Rows can be executed with a T Bar like we have just seen, but there are other exercises that can be done if you want to change, and have the same results.

T Bar Rower Machine

As I said, I rarely see this machine at the gyms. More likely they are equipped with a T Bar machine that looks like this:

T Bar Rower Machine

It's a little bit different but it works the same back muscles. I'd say it's probably safer because you don't have to bend over (with related back posture issues). You just rest your chest on the pad and pull up the bar.

It's more an isolation exercise than the "original" T Bar rows because in that one you have to use your lumbar muscles, abs, glutes and quads to stay stable in that bent over position.

No T Bar Rows Machine in Your Gym??? At Least You Must Have a Barbell!

Ok, here we are at the extreme situation. If your gym is not equipped with any of the above machines, you have one last solution, 100% you have a barbell available...and a corner.

Put on end of the barbell in the corner on the floor, load the other end with some weights and grasp a V-bar handle (the same that you use for the low pulley for example, or you can just grasp the bar without handle). Then position the bar between your legs and do the exercise.

I like to position the other end at the corner of the multipower machine.

Barbell T Bar

Barbell T Bar rows

Rows can be performed with a barbell in the form called bent over barbell rows. The execution is very similar to the T Bar Rows. In fact you have to bend over in a "squat" position, grasp a barbell about shoulder width and pull it towards your body.

It works the same muscles as the T Bar: lats, rhomboids, lumbar, rear shoulder, biceps, abs, quads and glutes.

A pretty good deal I'd say.


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