As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases from

Construct Explosive Pulling Energy With the Pendlay Row

Glenn Pendlay was one of many main coaches in American weightlifting — he held a Degree 5 accreditation from USA Weightlifting (the very best obtainable) and coached many high-level athletes to medals in nationwide and worldwide competitions.

Along with his lifters’ success on the platform, he’s identified for popularizing a strength-building train generally known as the Pendlay row — a barbell row carried out from the ground to the abdomen every rep. The motion has been used to construct again energy and dimension in energy athletes and lifters of all ranges. Right here’s easy methods to carry out this extremely efficient motion.

Pendlay Row Method Video

Coach Greg Walsh demonstrates a textbook Pendlay Row. Notice the practically horizontal torso, stationary higher physique, and full cease on the backside.

How you can Do the Pendlay Row

The barbell row has been a long-running staple for constructing dimension and energy within the again, shoulders, and arms. The Pendlay row enforces particular approach to extend energy output and make the goal muscular tissues work even tougher.

Step 1 — Get Into the Beginning Place

Credit score: kittirat roekburi / Shutterstock

Start with a loaded barbell on the ground straight above your toes. Stand together with your toes barely wider than shoulder-width. With a slight bend in your knees, push your hips again and bend on the waist till your higher physique is parallel to the bottom.

Arch your decrease again and seize the bar with an overhand grip. Your grip width will probably be decided by your arm size. The precedence is sustaining a parallel torso, so grabbing the bar wider than shoulder-width must be mandatory.

Kind Tip: You must really feel tightness, not discomfort, in your hamstrings from holding the proper higher physique place. In case you really feel ache, completely warm-up your hips, hamstrings, glutes, and decrease again to attain the place extra comfortably.

Step 2 — Carry out an Explosive Pull

Man in gym performing barbell row
Credit score: Breaking Muscle / Youtube

Flex your abs and squeeze the bar to create stress and stability. Pinch your shoulder blades collectively and rapidly drive your elbows up whereas pulling the bar to your decrease chest. Your torso mustn’t carry from the parallel place.

The bar ought to bodily contact your decrease chest or higher stomach earlier than you enable it to return rapidly to the bottom. Don’t attempt to intentionally gradual the barbell on the descent. Let the bar come to a whole relaxation on the bottom earlier than starting the subsequent rep.

Kind Tip: In case your torso strikes considerably, scale back the burden on the bar and concentrate on sustaining a decent posture. Preserving a strict higher physique place whereas lifting explosively is extra necessary than swinging heavy weights.

Pendlay Row Errors to Keep away from

The Pendlay row is particularly used to keep away from approach points extra frequent with conventional barbell rows. Ensure you’re performing it appropriately by avoiding these issues.

Transferring Your Higher Physique

One of the crucial noticeable variations with a Pendlay row is the considerably bent-over place, retaining the higher physique parallel to the bottom all through the train. This permits most stress to be positioned on the higher again and lat muscular tissues, with out utilizing the decrease again, glutes, and hamstrings to maneuver the burden.

Muscular man performing barbell row exercise
Credit score: Miljan Zivkovic / Shutterstock

In case your torso shifts to get the burden shifting, you’re dissipating stress from the goal muscular tissues and decreasing the energy and dimension good thing about the train.

Keep away from It: Keep in mind that the physique place is intentionally bent ahead with a view to get optimum outcomes. Take heed to sustaining a strict parallel place. By no means commerce approach for extra weight on the bar.

Bouncing Off the Flooring

Every rep of a Pendlay row must be carried out with the bar ranging from a rested place on the ground. This requires your physique to provide most power for every particular person rep, as a substitute of counting on the stretch-shortening cycle (a muscular phenomenon which makes use of a stretched place to extend energy). (1) This system is usually known as “dead-stop coaching.”

Man in gym performing barbell exercise
Credit score: Qilin’s prance Filmmaker / Shutterstock

Eliminating this full relaxation on the backside permits momentum to construct, which decreases the physique’s power manufacturing and reduces the train’s effectiveness.

Keep away from it: Permit the bar to come back to a whole cease on the bottom after every rep. Releasing the bar and resetting your grip between every rep may also assist to make sure a full cease. Method any given set as a sequence of particular person reps, not one group of a number of reps. For instance, as a substitute of “a set of 5 reps,” consider performing “5 single reps” with one second between every.

Advantages of the Pendlay Row

The Pendlay row was initially used to help good old school energy features. Like all barbell rows, it additionally delivers loads of muscular development as effectively. Listed below are all the explanations to coach with this huge, primary carry.

Muscular athletes holding barbell
Credit score: Yupa Watchanakit / Shutterstock

Again Power

A powerful again is crucial for maximal energy manufacturing throughout urgent workouts and for decreasing the danger of shoulder accidents. (2) The Pendlay row straight trains all of the muscular tissues of the again to straight improve pulling energy, in addition to to carryover to bench and overhead urgent.

Explosive Energy

As a result of the Pendlay row is carried out from a dead-stop, an explosive carry is required to maneuver the burden. This helps to extend muscle recruitment and has been proven to extend general energy and energy features. (3)

Again Dimension

Straight coaching the lats and higher again with heavy weights is a perfect technique to set off muscle development. The Pendlay row applies muscular stress to those physique components, together with the biceps and forearms, making it a wonderful cornerstone for any back-building exercise.

Muscle mass Labored by Pendlay Row

The Pendlay row is a compound (multi-joint) train coordinating various muscular tissues to finish the carry. This intense train hits practically each muscle on the again half of the physique, after which some.

black and white phot of bodybuilder preparing to lift a barbell from the ground
Credit score: SOK Studio / Shutterstock

Higher Again

The higher again — consisting of the trapezius, rear deltoids (shoulders), rhomboids, and different smaller muscular tissues — works primarily to regulate the shoulder blades (scapulae). The Pendlay row prompts the higher again on every repetition, serving to to carry the bar from the bottom and pull the bar into the highest place.


The latissimus dorsi (lats) are the most important muscular tissues on the again, working close to your ribs and from underneath your arms to your decrease again. They work to convey your arm in in the direction of your physique from an prolonged place, making them the first mover throughout any rowing train.

Spinal Erectors

The spinal erectors are a pair of muscular columns working the size of your backbone. They work to regulate your torso place on the waist (bending forwards or sideways, and rotating). Throughout the Pendlay row, the spinal erectors work to take care of a static higher physique place.


The biceps brachii (biceps) management flexion on the elbow, bending your arm right into a closed place. Whereas they don’t endure a whole contraction throughout a Pendlay row (a wider grip on the bar prevents a full biceps contraction), the biceps assist to tug the burden in the direction of your physique and full the carry within the high place.


The forearms are technically composed of two separate muscular tissues — the flexors on the underside aspect of the forearm and the extensors on the highest aspect. Sustaining a safe grip on the barbell throughout Pendlay rows closely prompts the flexors, whereas controlling the bar throughout the upwards carry recruits the extensors.

Who Ought to Do the Pendlay Row

Like many compound workouts, lifters with quite a lot of targets can profit from incorporating the Pendlay row into their exercises.

Power and Energy Athletes

Lifters targeted on shifting critical weights in competitors (or, actually, for recreation too) can profit from the energy and energy constructed from Pendlay rows. Coach Pendlay initially used the train to help the powerlifts and finally used it as a staple for his Olympic weightlifting champions.

Coaching for Muscle

Heavy rowing workouts have constantly constructed giant, muscular backs. The Pendlay row develops thicker, wider lats and an higher again to match.

How you can Program the Pendlay Row

To effectively prepare for dimension and energy with out extreme fatigue within the help muscular tissues of the decrease again, which might compromise approach, the Pendlay row is finest educated with comparatively decrease reps. Listed below are some efficient tips

Reasonable Weight, Low Repetition

Specializing in the Pendlay row’s explosive efficiency can typically imply making use of extra power to much less weight. Coaching for two to 6 units of two to 4 reps can prioritize most power manufacturing, which ends up in extra energy improvement.

Heavy Weight, Low Repetition

Three to 5 units of three to 5 reps is a time-tested technique to transfer heavy weights on huge compound lifts, delivering dimension and energy features. Whenever you start lifting heavier weights whereas retaining strict kind, you open a really huge door to very huge outcomes. Bear in mind that you could be not be capable to carry as a lot with the Pendlay row as you possibly can with a standard bent-over row.

Pendlay Row Variations

The Pendlay row delivers loads of advantages, however not all lifters could also be able to dive into this huge carry. Listed below are the perfect methods to work as much as Pendlay rows.

Chest-Supported Row

The chest-supported row permits the again to be educated with out requiring any decrease physique stabilization. This makes it ultimate for lifters working round a decrease again subject or lifters who might have mobility restrictions stopping them from reaching the parallel torso place wanted for Pendlay rows.

One other good thing about many chest-supported row machines is quite a lot of gripping handles, which may barely alter recruitment by emphasizing completely different muscular tissues of the again.

Impartial-Grip Two Dumbbell Row

Whereas the single-arm dumbbell row is frequent, performing the motion with two dumbbells directly is a superb “gateway” to barbell rowing. By requiring each side of the physique to hold their share of the load (no weightlifting pun supposed), energy discrepancies in muscular tissues on both aspect may be extra simply seen and addressed.

Utilizing a neutral-grip additionally reduces pressure on the shoulder joint and permits elevated muscular stress on the biceps and higher again.

Reverse-Grip Barbell Row

The reverse-grip barbell row includes a supinated (palms up) grip which considerably will increase biceps activation and modifications the train’s vary of movement, which impacts the again muscular tissues.

The trapezius is extra considerably activated because of a extra upright torso angle and the lats are saved underneath fixed stress with a big stretch within the backside place.

Pendlay Row Alternate options

There are a handful of workouts which may construct dimension, energy, and energy just like the Pendlay row. Listed below are among the high selections.

Barbell Row

Whereas the Pendlay row includes a strict, parallel torso place and pulling every repetition from the bottom, “breaking” these guidelines turns the barbell row into a special back-building beast.

The identical muscle teams are activated to various levels. A barely angled torso place reduces the hip and hamstring mobility requirement or Pendlay rows, whereas the muscular tissues are saved underneath fixed stress with out resting the barbell. This makes the train extra appropriate for reasonable to larger repetitions with out fatiguing the supportive muscular tissues.

Kroc Row

If a Pendlay row is taken into account a “strict barbell row,” a Kroc row might be thought of a “managed chaos dumbbell row.” It’s sometimes carried out utilizing heavy weights for high-rep units and is usually mistaken for normal single-arm rows being accomplished with poor kind.

Kroc rows may be very efficient for constructing higher again energy and dimension regardless that they contain leg drive and physique English relatively than super-strict higher physique pulling.

Energy Clear

The facility clear is arguably one of the crucial helpful workouts that an athlete can carry out within the health club. (4) It’s a basic staple in energy and conditioning applications for contact sports activities and is a variation of the clear and jerk from aggressive Olympic weightlifting.

The facility clear builds explosive total-body energy whereas packing dimension onto the higher again and traps, particularly. Notice: When performing energy cleans (or any Olympic carry variation), the bar ought to solely be dropped from the highest place in the event you’re utilizing bumper plates and a particular lifting platform.


My grip fatigues earlier than the top of my set. Ought to I exploit lifting straps?

With many rowing workouts, and again workouts usually, muscular fatigue setting into the smaller muscular tissues of your grip and forearms earlier than the bigger again muscular tissues is a typical subject. Whereas grip energy usually improves comparatively rapidly, it shouldn’t have an effect on the first aim of any train.

Supporting your grip with lifting straps throughout the heaviest and most difficult units can enhance efficiency general. Over-relying on lifting straps, nonetheless, resembling sporting them when lifting less-challenging weights, can forestall the event of grip energy.

Why does my decrease again damage throughout the train?

Preserving your torso in a parallel place is crucial within the Pendlay row. Nevertheless, some lifters might discover that this place aggravates decrease again ache or they could be unable to attain enough depth within the first place.

The answer is to handle flexibility and mobility within the decrease again, hamstrings, glutes, and hips. Relying in your particular wants, it might be so simple as performing gentle weight single-leg deadlifts at the beginning of every exercise or as thorough as constantly practising a whole hip mobility sequence.

Pendlay Rows for Energy

The Pendlay row has supported energy and energy improvement for practically three a long time and has been utilized by high lifters world wide. With a easy barbell, and various weight plates, you possibly can add it to your personal exercises and construct world-class energy and dimension.


  1. Seiberl, Wolfgang et al. “Editorial: The Stretch-Shortening Cycle of Lively Muscle and Muscle-Tendon Advanced: What, Why and How It Will increase Muscle Efficiency?.” Frontiers in physiology vol. 12 693141. 20 Could. 2021, doi:10.3389/fphys.2021.693141
  2. Escalante, Guillermo DSc, MBA, ATC, CSCS, CISSN1; Advantageous, Daniel SPT, CSCS2; Ashworth, Kyle SPT, CSCS2; Kolber, Morey J. PT, PhD, CSCS2 Progressive Train Methods to Mitigate Shoulder Accidents Amongst Weight-Coaching Members, Power and Conditioning Journal: February 2021 – Quantity 43 – Concern 1 – p 72-85 doi: 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000547
  3. Aagaard P, Simonsen EB, Andersen JL, Magnusson P, Dyhre-Poulsen P. Elevated fee of power improvement and neural drive of human skeletal muscle following resistance coaching. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2002 Oct;93(4):1318-26. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00283.2002. PMID: 12235031.
  4. Huyghe, Thomas & Goriss, Brent & DeLosAngeles, Ernest & Chook, Stephen. (2021). Exploring The Energy Clear. Worldwide Journal of Power and Conditioning. 1. 10.47206/ijsc.v1i1.95.

Featured Picture: kittirat roekburi / Shutterstock

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Enable registration in settings - general
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart