Another great video from ATHLEAN-X™ showing us the right way to perform a barbell bent row.
The barbell bent over row is definitely one of the best back exercises you can put in your back workout, but only if you do it right! This mass building back exercise is the best compliment to the vertical pulling pull up. The problem is, when you do the bent barbell row incorrectly, you can put a lot of strain on your shoulders and anterior shoulder capsule.
In this video, I show you a side by side comparison of the right way and wrong way to do a barbell (or even dumbbell row) for that matter. The key point is the distance the arms travel behind your body in relation to the movement of your shoulder blades.
In normal scapulohumeral rhythm, your humerus and shoulder blade move together in a two thirds, one third pattern. This is particularly true in overhead shoulder movement but is still a consideration in retraction. If at any point during your barbell bent over row, your shoulder blades stop pinching together due to either a mobility restriction or a lack of rhomboid strength then you should stop moving the arms.
Continuing to move the arms into extension behind your back when no more motion is available in scapular retraction is a recipe for shoulder joint disaster. You should be able to feel your back muscles contracting when doing a barbell row. As soon as you can detect that the blades are no longer moving close together, that is the point you should stop rowing.
Barbell rows are no doubt a great exercise, but treating the way your perform them seriously is key to not only the safety of your joints but also the muscle gains you see from doing them. This is how athletes train. They take care to make sure they get every exercise right in not just their back workouts, but every workout.