How to properly do Pendlay Rows

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The Pendlay row is a type of barbell row that focuses on building your back muscles. Including this row in your workout routine can help improve your technique for other lifts, like cleans and deadlifts. A Pendlay row starts with the barbell on the floor, and the move is completed with a flat back as you pull the barbell to your chest.


1. Start with the barbell on the floor. The Pendlay row is different from a traditional barbell row because the barbell starts on the floor. Load the barbell with less weight than you would for a normal barbell. This lift is more difficult, so start with a lower weight.
  • Stand with the barbell on the floor in front of your feet. Keep your feet flat on the floor.
2. Use a slightly wide grip. To isolate the lats and back muscles, grip the bar slightly wider than your shoulders. Place your hands where both palms are facing you. Make sure to also wrap your thumb around the bar when you grip it.



3. Bend your knees and hinge forward at the hips. Make sure you only bend your knees slightly, doing about a half-squat with your lower body. Hinge until your torso is horizontal to the floor and make sure your back is completely flat. Place your feet slightly wider than your hips.
  • Don’t let your lower back arch or round. This could hurt your lower back and spine. Instead, keep it as flat as possible.
4. Breathe before you row. Proper breathing technique is important to getting the most out of the Pendlay row. Before you start the rep, take a deep breath. Hold the breath as you row. Holding your breath helps stabilize your core so you keep your chest elevated and your back straight.
  • Release the breath when you lower the bar to the floor.


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