The barbell row is unquestionably one of the best compound moves you can doâ€¦period. Targeting the back, it is a move that requires a great deal of strength and stability, but the stable platform -- feet flat on the floor, just outside hip width apart -- puts you in a great position to pull plenty of weight. However, with an overhand grip, your elbows travel up and away from your torso, hitting your middle and upper back. When you supinate, or go palms up, with your grip, your elbows are drawn into your body. This engages your lower lats to a greater degree. Many a bodybuilding champion, including six-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates, have used this version of the barbell row to thicken their lower lats and separate themselves from the upper back-focused competition.
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If your lower lats are lagging, simply start your normally scheduled back workout with this move instead of the traditional version. To get it right, pull the bar directly toward your belly button, hold for a peak contraction -- squeezing your shoulder blades together -- at the top and slowly lower it back to full extension. Maintain a distinct arch in your lower back for stability and, at the bottom of the movement, allow your shoulder blades to separate to lengthen the range of motion and the stretch on the lats.
Try performing this mass-builder rest-pause style. Select a weight that you can handle safely for 8-10 reps, but stop at five. After five reps, rest 20 seconds, then complete another five. Repeat in this fashion until you've completed 25 total reps, or until you can no longer complete five reps in a single segment of work. Rest 2-3 minutes, then try it once more. Ideally, you will have completed 50 total reps using very heavy weight. Then, reduce the weight load to complete a single set of 20-30 reps to failure to flush the muscle with blood and to further increase potential for growth. High rep sets done to failure have been shown to increase hypertrophy as much as heavier weight done to failure.
Lower-Middle Back Focused Routine
Underhand Barbell Row
Supported Neutral-Grip T-Bar Row
Standing Single-Arm Low-Pulley Row
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