8 Best T Bar Row Alternatives For A Stronger Back

Last Updated: January 2, 2023

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A T-bar row is a type of weightlifting exercise that works the back muscles. The beauty of the T-bar row is that it can be done with a variety of weights and intensities, making it perfect for both beginners and experienced lifters alike.

But what if you don’t have access to a T-bar row machine? Or what if you’re looking for an alternative exercise to mix things up?

In this article, we’ll run through some of the best T-bar row alternatives so that you can keep your back workouts varied and challenging.

Supported Single-Arm Dumbbell Row

Most people think that the only way to do a row is with two arms, but this simply isn’t true. Supported single-arm dumbbell rows are a great alternative to the traditional two-arm method, and they come with a number of benefits.

For one, they allow you to focus on each side of your body individually. This is helpful if you have any imbalances or muscular deficiencies that you want to correct. Additionally, it lets you use more weight than you could with two arms, which means you’ll be able to stimulate more muscle growth.

To do a supported single-arm dumbbell row, start by placing your right hand and knee on a bench with your left foot on the floor. Your back should be parallel to the bench. From here, hold a dumbbell in your left hand and row it up to your ribs. Squeeze your shoulder blade at the top of the movement before lowering the dumbbell back down. Complete all your reps on one side before switching sides.

Standard Barbell Rows

Most people perform the standard barbell row with a shoulder-width overhand grip. However, you can also use an underhand grip or a mixed grip (one hand overhand, one hand underhand) if you prefer. If using a mixed grip, make sure to switch the hand position every set.

The key to performing the standard barbell row correctly is to keep your back straight and avoid rounding your lower back. To do this, brace your core and think about pulling your shoulder blades together as you row the weight up. As you exhale, drive your elbows back and squeeze your shoulder blades together. The movement should come from your back muscles, not your arms. Pause for a moment at the top of the lift and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.

Start with a light weight and focus on proper form before increasing the amount of weight you lift. When performing the standard barbell row, be sure to keep the following pointers in mind:

  • Keep your back straight throughout the entire movement.
  • Avoid rounding your lower back at any point.
  • Brace your core muscles before beginning the lift.
  • Focus on pulling your shoulder blades together as you row the weight up.
  • Exhale as you drive your elbows back and squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the lift.

Scapula Push-Ups

If you’re someone who’s looking for a new move to add to your current workout routine, then you may want to consider scapula push-ups. Scapula push-ups are a great alternative to the traditional T bar row and offer a number of benefits. 

One of the benefits of scapula push-ups is that they better target the muscles around the shoulder blade, including the rhomboids and trapezius. This can help improve posture and alleviate pain in these areas. In addition, these push-ups don’t require any equipment and can be done virtually anywhere.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do scapula push-ups:

  • Start in a plank position with your hands placed directly under your shoulders.
  • Brace your core and keep your body in a straight line from head to toe.
  • Slowly lower yourself down towards the ground, allowing your scapula (shoulder blades) to protrude outwards.
  • Once you’ve reached the bottom of the movement, press back up to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 8-10 reps before switching sides.

Overall, they’re a great way to warm up the muscles before doing other exercises that involve shoulder movement (such as overhead presses).

Bent Over Barbell Row

When it comes to working the back, few exercises are as effective as the bent over barbell row. This exercise targets all the major muscles in the back, including the lats, traps, and rhomboids. Not only is this a great exercise for building strength and Muscle, but it can also help to improve your posture.

If you are looking for an alternative to the T bar row, then the bent over barbell row is a great option.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to perform this exercise:

  • Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Bend forward at your hips until the torso is about parallel to the ground.
  • Grab the barbell with an overhand grip while keeping your hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Pull the barbell up towards your chest, keeping your elbows close to your body.
  • Lower the barbell back down to the starting position and repeat.

Bent Over Dumbbell Row

There are many benefits to the bent over dumbbell row, but one of the most significant is that it is a great alternative to the T bar row. The T bar row can put a lot of strain on your lower back, but the bent over dumbbell row lets you target your upper back muscles more effectively while still providing a good lower back workout.

Additionally, bent over dumbbell rows are easier on your joints than T bar rows, making them a good option if you’re struggling with joint pain.

Here’s how to do the Bent Over Dumbbell Row:

  • Start by holding a dumbbell in each hand and standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend at the hips and lower your torso until it’s parallel to the floor. Be sure to keep your back straight throughout the movement.
  • From this position, row the dumbbells up to your sides, contracting your back muscles as you do so.
  • Lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position and repeat for reps.

The Resistance Band Bent Over Row

There are many reasons resistance band bent over row is a great substitute to the T bar row. First, it is much easier on the lower back because you are not holding a weight in front of you. Second, it is a great way to work your upper back muscles without putting strain on your neck. Third, it is a great exercise for people who are new to lifting weights or who have limited space to work out in.

To do the resistance band bent over row, start by standing on the center of a resistance band. Hold the ends of the band with your hands at shoulder width apart. Bend forward at the waist until your back is parallel to the ground. From this position, row the band up towards your chest, keeping your elbows close to your body. Return to the starting position and repeat for 8-12 reps.

Chest Supported Dumbbell Row

If you’re looking for a variation on the traditional T bar row that puts less stress on your lower back, the chest supported dumbbell row may be a good option for you. This exercise targets the same muscle groups as the T bar row, but because you’re supported by a bench, there’s less strain on your spine.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Start by lying face down on a bench with your feet firmly planted on the ground. Place a dumbbell in each hand and let them hang down at your sides.
  • From this position, bend your elbows and row the weights up towards your chest, keeping your back flat against the bench throughout. Pause for a moment at the top of the movement before lowering the weights back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for 10-12 repetition

One of the main benefits of this exercise is that it takes stress off of your lower back. With traditional T bar rows, there is tendencies to round your back as you lift the weight, which can lead to injury. The chest supported dumbbell row allows you to keep your spine in a neutral position while still working your upper back muscles effectively.

In addition, this exercise provides a more balanced workout for your upper body since both sides are worked evenly. With a T bar row, the weight is usually unevenly distributed, resulting in one side working harder than the other. This can lead to muscular imbalances over time.

If you’re looking for an effective and safe way to build strong upper back muscles, give the chest supported dumbbell row a try.

Pendlay Rows

Pendlay rows are a type of weightlifting exercise. They are named after Glenn Pendlay, who was a well-known American weightlifter and coach. Pendlay rows are similar to other rowing exercises, but they are performed with a barbell instead of a dumbbell.

They are a great exercise for building back size and strength. They can be used as an alternative to T bar rows or other rowing exercises.

Here is a guide on how to perform Pendlay rows:

  • Start by placing a barbell on the ground in front of you. You will need to use an Olympic barbell or something similar. If you don’t have access to one of these, you can use a regular barbell, but it will be more difficult.
  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart and Bend your knees slightly. Grab the bar with an overhand grip, keeping your hands just outside of your legs.
  • Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, lift the bar off the ground and drive your hips forward so that the bar ends up in front of your thighs. This is the starting position.
  • From here, row the bar up towards your chest, leading with your elbows and keeping your upper arms close to your sides. Squeeze your back muscles at the top of the movement and slow ly return to the starting position.

Conclusion

The T bar row is a great exercise for developing strength and size in the back muscles. However, there are some variations that can be done to target specific muscle groups or to provide a greater challenge. The above exercises are all great alternatives to the T bar row that can help you build a strong and muscular back.

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