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Help with barbell rows

PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2004 1:27 pm
by xJimx
Hi guys

I need some pointers for doing barbell rows properly. Even though I feel as if my back is getting a good workout, I seem to get some pain in my lower back after heavy sets. I'm pretty sure that this is due to poor technique so any advice would be brilliant!

PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2004 2:02 pm
by JP
some people tend to hyper-extend their back, you know overarch it and that can cause problems. The other end of the spectrum is that the back is rounded - you need to find the natural strong straight back from somewhere in the middle of these two bad forms so that it is your core muscles that keep you solid, not the spine itself.

Don't know if that helps you at all?

PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2004 4:05 pm
by xJimx
Cheers mate, I'll try changing my back position. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it eventually; I just changed over from dumbell rows as i wasn't feeling much 'burn' using this method.

Incidentally, all the tips you gave me months ago seem to be paying off. I'm now doing weighted chins & dips (only 5kg but it's a start!) whereas 6 months ago I could barely do a single bodyweight chin-up or dip! Not making such good progress with the legs but i need to be careful of my dodgy knees!

PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2004 4:56 pm
by JP
hows your daughter doing Jim? (totally of topic, but since we have your attention!)

Good to hear some advice is paying off. Have you also packed on some mass as well?

Keep at it bro!

PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2004 11:12 pm
by Heyutang
just in terms of saftey: rounding your back is much better than arching it. The rounding of the lower back is actually done by the stabilizing muscles (the obliques).
JP, is there any reason that makes you say rounding of the back is not good? It is an exercise that physiotherapists prescribe with back problems and posture problems.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2004 11:23 pm
by J
Whoa! Definitely not good to round your back on rows (or deadlifts). Don't know the mechanics involved but not too many people last very long doing such exercises with a rounded back.

Personally I don't think rows are worth the potential back injury.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2004 11:39 pm
by VeganEssentials
I think that rounded back lifting can be acceptable if the person doing the lifting has the capabilities to handle the weight safely. For example, here's a photo gallery that's got a prime example of it:
[url] ... ?offset=36[/url]

If you look at the bottom left pictures of the person lifting the stone, you'll notice that to get locked in on something grounded and shaped like that you're going to have to round your back to some degree. I don't think that you'd want to round your back unnecessarily for things like rowing as that's not going to be beneficial, but when you can't get a hold on something without rounding and you know you've got the strength to get it pulled up, then that's another story!

Probably why my lifting of low objects is still not so great - I try to do a sumo deadlift up with things that would be easier to grab and get leverage on if I'd just round out a bit in the back and pull like hell!


PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2004 1:31 am
by Heyutang
sorry for the confusion: I was only talking about the lower back. I think that was the original question, and also what JP answered to. If you round the upper back, that is a completely different story. Most people tend to round that too much already (kyfosis), so aggravating is normally contra-indicated. But as Ryan says, sometimes for lifting heavy objects you wil have to "cheat" a bit and still round it. But certainly not recommended all the time, will result in poor posture and then many other problems (breathing difficulties, compressed nerves etc).
But rounding the lower back is very beneficial when lifting heavy stuff since it will decrease the physiological curve of the lumbars (hollow, lordosis) so it will decompress the intervertebral discs. When you arch the lower back, the opposite happens: more lordosis, more pressure on dics, more chance at injury.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2004 7:00 am
by JP
heytang, jut to avoid confusion, are you saying that rounded lower back is best for lifting heavy weights off the floor? Better than neutral?

Rounded back lifting is important in many lifting events like Ryan pointed out, many powerlifters do rounded back good mornings, rounded back squat etc as well. But for bent-over barbell rows i think it would be best to stick to neutral spine position, don't you think?

PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2004 7:51 am
by Heyutang
Well JP, actually perfectly straight is the best. However, many people have lordosis in the lower back. If they want to straighten it (also called 'rounding the back',confusingly) you have to do the rounding movement. Quite a few people cannot even truly round their lower back. Try it in front of a mirror, if you like.
For people that need extra protection in their lower backs, I would recommend actually rounding it. People that are injury-free certainly fare best with a perfectly straight back. However, reality is that few people can get a perfectly straight back.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2004 8:25 am
by xJimx
My daughter, Evie, is doing really well thanks. I seem to be knackered beyond belief all the time but it definitely feels worth it when she grins at me!

My training has suffered a bit since she was born but i'm making a real effort to get back on track. Ideally I go to the gym 3 times a week (1 day push, 1 day pull & 1 day legs) and go swimming twice a week. Also feel as if my diet slipped a bit, especially in the first few weeks, as I was eating a lot of processed crap.

My gains seem to have dried up a bit in the last couple of months, compared to earlier in the year when I was lifting more weight every time I went to the gym. To get over this I've dropped my weights down about 10% and I'm really focusing on technique so that I can build back up. However, I guess my progress with chins and dips shows I must be going in the right direction!

I do seem to have put on some muscle over the last few months. Not much overall weight gain as yet but I'll keep trying!