How To Do T-Bar Row

YouTube Exercise Video

How To Do T-Bar Rows

We’ve pointed out how difficult the middle and lower back can be to target with specific exercises, and of course, how risky it can be to overexert these parts of the body. We’ve also spent a lot of time cautioning against casual and careless use of barbells due to how easy it is to injure yourself with them. 

Today, we’re going to look at an interesting back exercise that even people with moderate back issues can use to strengthen this area, and also involves a safe, essentially risk-free use of a barbell. 

The T-bar row involves using a barbell in such a way that if it drops, it’s highly unlikely to injure anyone, making it one of the rare cases where it’s safe to use it without a spotter. 

What You Need 

You need a reasonably-weighted barbell with a t-bar handle attachment just behind the weight plates. It’s a good idea to use gloves for a safe grip, and wear knee braces if you have joint problems. 

T-Bar Row Muscles Worked

Latissimus dorsi muscle animation


  • Straddle the barbell, feet about half again shoulder width apart. Bend slightly at the knees, and lift the barbell by the handles to knee level. 
  • Bend at the waist to about 30 degrees, arms straight. This is your starting position. 
  • Bending primarily at the elbows, lift the end of the barbell upward until it’s about at the same level as your midriff. 
  • Lower the end back to knee level, being sure to do this under muscle power, not gravity. 


If you have mild or moderate back problems, wear a back brace. Consult your doctor if you have severe, chronic back pain. Don’t attempt this exercise if you have severe shoulder problems or particularly bad arthritis. 
Don’t overdo the weight, as usual, extreme weight isn’t necessarily the key to an effective workout, at least not until you’re very advanced and going for the gold. 

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