Back rows with or without support?

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To build a strong back, you should do horizontal pull exercises, among other things. But which one is better: the back row with or without support?

It’s not a matter of ‘better’, because both exercises can play an important role in your training schedule.

Let’s start with the classic: the barbell or dumbbell bent-over row. In this rowing exercise you stand bent over without leaning on anything. The power to maintain this position comes from the stabilizing muscles in your lower back, hips and core. Great if you also want to train these areas, in addition to the muscles in the middle and upper part of your back.

However, if your focus is on training your middle and upper back, it is better to row with support for your chest. You do this by performing the exercise with your abdomen on an inclined bench. This way you remove the back stretcher from the exercise, in favor of the lats and traps.

In short, with chest-supported rows you can isolate your middle and upper back. In addition, the exercise is less fatiguing, so you can do more volume.

Chest-supported rows also come in machine form. Other alternatives include chest-supported T-bar rows and single-arm dumbbell rows.

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