Barbell High Row – Movement Overview

The Barbell High Row:

Strength training is a journey filled with various exercises that target different muscle groups.

One exercise that often goes unnoticed but has the potential to bring about significant gains in your upper body strength and aesthetics is the barbell high row.

This compound exercise engages your traps, deltoids, and rhomboids while also working your upper back and arms.

In this article, we’ll explore the barbell high row, its benefits, proper form, variations, and how to incorporate it into your fitness routine for maximum results.

The Barbell High Row

Movement Demonstration

Barbell High Row - The Basics

The barbell high row, also known as the upright row, is a resistance exercise performed using a barbell.

It primarily targets the muscles in your upper back and shoulders. To perform this exercise, you’ll need a barbell with an appropriate weight.

Barbell High Row - Procedure

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with the barbell placed in front of you on the floor.
  • Bend at your hips and knees to lower your torso, maintaining a straight back, and grip the barbell with both hands using an overhand grip (palms facing your body). Your hands should be slightly closer than shoulder-width apart.
  • Stand up straight, keeping your arms extended. This is your starting position.
  • Lift the barbell by bending your elbows and raising them to shoulder height, keeping the barbell close to your body.
  • Lower the barbell back to the starting position in a controlled manner, and repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.


  • Shoulder Development: Barbell high rows are excellent for building strong and well-defined shoulders. The exercise engages the front and side deltoids, which contribute to the classic “V” shape of the upper body.
  • Upper Back Strength: This exercise targets the trapezius and rhomboid muscles, enhancing your upper back’s strength and stability. A strong upper back can help improve posture and reduce the risk of back pain.
  • Improved Grip Strength: Holding the barbell during the high row movement challenges your grip strength. Over time, this can lead to enhanced forearm and hand strength, which can benefit other lifts and daily activities.
  • Versatility: Barbell high rows can be performed using various grips, such as a wide or narrow grip. These variations can place a slightly different emphasis on different parts of the shoulders and upper back.

Safety Precautions

  • Maintain Proper Posture: Keep your back straight and chest up throughout the exercise to avoid undue stress on the lower back.
  • Control the Weight: Use a weight that allows you to maintain proper form and complete your repetitions with control. Jerking the weight can lead to injury.
  • Avoid Excessive Range of Motion: Raise the barbell to shoulder height or just below. Going higher can increase the risk of shoulder impingement.
  • Breathing: Exhale as you lift the barbell and inhale as you lower it.
  • Warm-Up: Prior to engaging in high rows, ensure you warm up your shoulders and upper back to prevent injury.
Barbell High Row

Barbell High Row: Variations

  • Wide-Grip Barbell High Rows: Using a wider grip can shift the focus to the rear deltoids and upper traps.
  • Narrow-Grip Barbell High Rows: A narrower grip targets the front deltoids more intensely.
  • Cable High Rows: Instead of a barbell, you can use a cable machine to perform high rows. This variation provides a constant tension on the muscles throughout the movement.
  • Smith Machine High Rows: Utilizing a Smith machine for high rows can help stabilize the movement and make it more accessible for beginners.


The barbell high row is an effective and versatile exercise that can help you develop a strong and well-balanced upper body.

By incorporating it into your strength training routine, you can improve shoulder and upper back strength, develop a more robust posture, and enhance your overall physique.

Remember, proper form, safety, and gradual progression are essential to reaping the full benefits of this compound exercise.

So, add barbell high rows to your workout regimen, and unleash your full potential in the gym.

Barbell: Purchasing Options

Titan Fitness Barbells

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Focus on a strong, stable stance and controlled movements for optimal effectiveness.


Cody McBroom (YouTube) –

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