Don’t Bro your rows

Sometimes the Bros are right, and sometimes they are full of, well, other stuff. One of the things I often see done is Bro rows.

You know what I mean, it’s a variation on a seated row where the Bro loads up a load of weight and shrug/ drag curls that weight with a big load of momentum. Looking something like this.

Poor form Bro, poor form.

Excessive backward lean encourages a shrugging movement to initiate the row, then it becomes more bicep-y as the handles are brought towards the chest. Barely a lat was touched during the whole thing. And, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t targetting the lats kinda the point of this exercise?

This mistake is kind of understandable. Most folks tend to be pretty strong in their upper traps. At least compared to the mid/lower traps and lats, therefore the body puts them in a position to shift more weight. Ego stroked and upper traps suitably pumped.

Instead, what you should be aiming to hit are the lats and mid/lower traps. Yes the upper traps get to play a little, it is one muscle after all, but they shouldn’t be the focus.

The lats are obvious, they attach to the upper arm and pull the arm back from its extended position (arm outstretched on the forward part of the row). They are the big player in the movement.

The lower traps attach to the shoulder blade and the spine, they act to retract and depress the shoulder blade, amongst other things. Both of which matter to good seated rows.

How to upgrade your seated rows

In order to maximise the benefit of your rows, set up with a slight lean forward from the waist. This immediately negates any possible help from the upper traps via shrugging. Then row the weight towards the bottom of your ribs/ middle of your abs keeping your shoulders down.  On the way out, allow your shoulder blades to lift slightly, rotate and slide around the ribs, just as they are designed to do.

Reduce the load you use and work on getting great technique, then your back development, strength and health will thank you.

Stay strong,


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