Glenn Pendlay, the weightlifting coach after whom the Pendlay row is named, wasn’t looking to create his own exercise when he recommended doing barbell rows with a flat back, returning to the bar to the floor for each rep. He just felt that this was the best way to do a barbell row, with strict form and an entirely stationary bar between reps so you couldn’t rely on any momentum.

The Pendlay row is still a type of barbell row, so it targets the same areas – principally the lats, but most of the upper and lower back muscles are also enlisted in the movement. It is a more demanding lift than the standard barbell row, owing to the fact you have to lift the bar from the ground each time.

All rows are great for building up your back muscles and consequently improving your posture, and if you’re someone who hammers the bench press each and every time you visit the gym you’ll find that adding rows to your routine will help balance your upper body.

How To Do The Pendlay Row

Start with the bar on the floor in front of you. It’s wise to use a lighter weight than you do in the bent-over barbell row, because you’ll be lifting it from the ground with each rep.

Bend forwards, hinging at the hips, until your back is parallel to the ground. Your knees should be slightly bent. Grasp the bar using an overhand grip with your hands just wider than shoulder-width apart. Brace your core and lift the weight up to your abdomen by squeezing your shoulder blades together. Then lower the bar all the way back to the floor. Make sure your back stays parallel to the floor throughout the exercise – your arms and shoulders should be the only parts of the body that move during a rep.



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