T Bar Row – Muscles Worked, Benefits, Technique and Variations

Time to build a more powerful and muscular back.

This guide to the T Bar Row will help you learn how and why to introduce this great exercise into your training.

What is the T Bar Row?

The T Bar Row is a barbell exercise involving a pulling range of motion that can be done with and without a machine.

It allows a neutral grip to be used which creates a solid and strong position to pull from. This allows you to load up the weights and enhance your gains as the neutral grip is the easier position to pull from.

In this regard T Bar Rows give you an advantage over Bent Over Rows (pronated grip with palms facing downwards).

T Bar Rows also allow you to lift more weight that Dumbbell Rows as well.

Muscles Worked by the T Bar Row

Primarily the T Bar Row is a back exercise, and is an excellent fitness tool to help you build a powerful, strong and muscular back and significant pulling strength.

Another great benefit is that the T Bar Row is safer and more forgiving for your back as it doesn’t place your lower back in a position that potentially could be compromised.

The primary muscles that are worked:

  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Rhomboids
  • Trapezius
  • Posterior deltoid

The secondary muscles worked:

  • Core muscles
  • Spinae erector
  • Biceps/Forearms
  • Hamstrings/Glutes

Additionally, Lat Pull Downs and Chin Ups will form wide lats, but it is rowing movements that give then density and thickness.

Benefits of the T Bar Row

  • Increased strength
  • Better muscular balance
  • Stronger and more muscular Back
  • Improved Posture
  • Better core stability
  • Enhanced core strength
Best Rear Delt Exercises t bar rowSource: Nigel Msipa

How to do the T Bar Row

  1. Load up the barbell
  2. Place your feet shoulder width apart behind the machine
  3. Rest your chest against the pad (if you are using a machine)
  4. Reach down and grab the handles of the T Bar machine
  5. Inhale and brace your core, glutes and grip
  6. Pull the Barbell towards you
  7. Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement
  8. Pause and hold for a second
  9. Slowly lower the weight to the starting position
  10. Exhale at the bottom of the movement
  11. Repeat for the desired number of reps

T Bar Row Training Tips

If you are new to the movement, start off with a light load and work up heavier.

When you perform the movement, try to really feel the activation of your lats. Think about the mind muscle connection as you shift the weight.

T Bar Row Alternatives

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

  • Barbell 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
  • Seal Row
  • Inverted Row

What is a Good Weight for T Bar Rows?

According to Old School Labs, “A 180-pound novice athlete, for example, should be able to lift about 140 pounds when performing this exercise. Aim for 93 pounds or so if you’re a beginner. An intermediate male athlete of the same weight will lift around 200 pounds, while an advanced athlete should lift 272 pounds or more.”

T Bar Row Variations

Try adding these variations of the T Bar Row into your training to keep things fun and varied.

  • Seated Cable Row
  • Single-Arm Row
  • Dumbbell Single Arm Row
  • Wide Grip Cable Row
  • Bent Over Row


Got more questions?

What is T Bar Row Good For?

The exercise is a great way to target your back muscles. It will develop considerable pulling strength and build muscle.

Are Rows Better than Pull Downs?

Rows in general tend to result in more muscle activation and growth than Pull Downs.

Do T Bar Rows Work Rear Delts?

Yes, they do.

Do T Bar Rows Work Lats?

The target muscle of this form of Row is the latissimus dorsi.

This exercise also works all the major back muscles – teres major, trapezius, and erector spinae.

More Exercises

Grow your upper body with these effective barbell exercises:

Landmine Row – Powerful Benefits, Technique Tips and Muscles Worked
Preacher Curl – Benefits, Muscles Worked, Technique Tips and Variations
Bent-Over Row – For a Stronger Well-Rounded Back
Landmine Press– Muscles Worked, Benefits and Technique
Barbell Curl – A Must-Have Exercise to Increase Your Biceps
Skull Crushers – Technique, Benefits and Variations

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