T-Bar Rows (How To, Muscles Worked, Benefits)


How To Do T-Bar Rows

T-Bar Rows are an amazing exercise for building and developing a big, strong back. The T-Bar Row Machine allows you to have your chest supported, taking stress off the low back even when rowing heavy weight.

In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to do T-Bar Rows including important coaching points, muscles worked and a few alternatives.


How To Do T-Bar Rows


Equipment Needed

  • T-Bar Row Machine

Muscles Worked

  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Teres Major
  • Trapezius
  • Rhomboids
  • Posterior Deltoids
  • Biceps

How To

  • Set yourself up on the T-Bar Row Machine*
  • Feet should be flat on the platform and the chest supported on the pad.
  • Grab the handles, brace the core and unrack the bar.
  • Make sure your posture is good and then row the bar toward your chest.
  • Lower back down under control and repeat until all reps are complete.
  • Once all reps are down, re-rack the bar into its rack.

Coaching Points

*Exactly how you set yourself up will vary dependent upon the machine. Not all T-Bar Row Machines are exactly the same.

By far the biggest mistake I see with T-Bar Rows is athletes I coach think that because there is a pad to support their chest, they don’t need to have good posture. This is wrong. You should still have the same posture – back and core engaged – as you would if you didn’t have a pad supporting you.

How Many Reps?

T-Bar Rows is an upper-body supplemental strength movement. Recommended rep range is 3 to 4 sets of 6 to 12 reps.


T-Bar Row Alternatives


Don’t have access to a T-Bar Row Machine? Don’t worry, here are a couple of exercises you may be able to use as a replacement.

Want more options? Here are 10 of my favorite alternatives for T-Bar Rows.

Chest Supported Dumbbell Row

If you have dumbbells, the best substitution for T-Bar Rows is Chest Supported Dumbbell Rows. They are very similar movements, just done with different pieces of equipment.

Both are great back exercises and both support the torso to help take strain off the low back.

Barbell Bent Over Row

Barbell Bent Over Rows

Barbell Bent Over Rows are also very similar to T-Bar Rows in terms of building strength. The biggest difference is that Barbell Bent Over Rows don’t support the torso. However, this can also be looked at as a positive for developing low back and core strength.


More Links and Info


If you’d like to see more back exercises, head over to the Upper Body Lifts section of our exercise library. There you’ll find dozens of chest, back and shoulder movements, all with step-by-step instructions.

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Ryan Horton

Horton Barbell was created by Ryan Horton who has served as a Sports Performance Coach for almost 20 years. My mission is to create a training resource to help as many coaches and athletes as possible maximize athletic potential.

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