There has been a bit of talk about the “correct” way to do barbell rows.
For example read Paul Carter’s recent posts about Pendlay Rows. He performs them with 100kg using excellent form.
Now, I am not saying that doing very strict form is not something we should strive for, but as you can see in the video below, even the great Ed Coan did what everybody today would consider “cheat” reps (with 184kg /405lbs).
This clip is from the “Extreme Powerlifting DVD Set“. It’s a fun watch, I suggest buying it.
In the video Ed mentions that Bent Over Barbell Rows are probably his favorite assistance exercise for Bench Press and Deadlift (next to a Pull Down or a Chin Up).
- He likes to do them from a 3inch deficit
- a medium to wide grip
- Pull it very low into your abdomen, you don’t want to pull it up high into your chest
- try not to let it touch the ground all the time
- when ou come up to the top squeeze your back together
- he likes to keep his knees slightly bent (for stability and safety)
Both forms can have their place in training as they are almost different exercises.
I would go as far as saying that a bit of momentum from the start is tolerable, even on Pendlay Rows. As long as you finish the movement without doing the overly jerky motion at the top, when max contraction occurs.
TL;DR: Strict form is awesome. Should body English creep in, so be it.
Update: Paul asked Ed about the rows and here is what he said:
A little of both. I always felt that if I did them too strict, I only felt it in my arms from pulling with them too much. I pictured them like a rower in a boat. The movement stretches more and is a little safer. It worked for me!! Hope this answers your question. Take care, Eddy
There you have it, just as I said above, both can have their place in training.
Update: Andrey Malanichev does his Bent Over Rows the same way.
Ed Coan Bent Over Barbell Rows Video is a post by Gregor Winter from All Things Gym.