Row Long Bar Two-Arm

Start Position
End Position

Starting position:

  1. Place the barbell into the corner of two walls or into a T-bar row platform, if available. This ensures that the barbell is in a fix position.
  2. Load the barbell on the opposite end.
  3. Step over the barbell, straddling it with feet shoulder width apart from each other. Sit straight up with chest up and out.
  4. Flex your knees and bend forward at the hips until your torso is just above parallel to the floor.
  5. Grasp the barbell with a closed grip and with one hand in front of the other. Hands should be close to the plates on the loaded end of the barbell.
  6. Fully extend elbows (keeping a slight bend in them) allowing the bar to hang.
  7. Keep your head in a neutral position and in line with the vertebral column while looking at the floor just ahead of you throughout the entire movement.

Upward movement/concentric phase:

  1. Pull the bar upward toward your torso.
  2. Maintain the torso in a rigid position with the back flat and knees bent.

Downward movement/eccentric phase:

    1. In a controlled fashion, slowly lower the bar by allowing the elbows to extend back the to the starting position.
    2. After the set is complete, place the bar on the floor.
Do not hold your breath. Exhale during the concentric/phase phase and inhale during the eccentric/lowering phase.


Exercise Data

  • Primary Muscles: Latissimus dorsi, middle trapezius, rhomboids, teres major
  • Synergists: Posterior deltoid, biceps brachii, brachialis
  • Stabilizers: Quadratus lumborum, iliocostalis, longissimus, spinalis, semispinalis, biceps femoris, rectus abdominis, external oblique, internal oblique, transverse abdominis, hamstrings, quadriceps, wrist flexors, rotator cuff muscles
  • Type: Strength, hypertrophy, muscular endurance
  • Mechanics: Shoulder extension, elbow flexion, and scapular retraction
  • Equipment: Barbell
  • Lever: 1st class lever
  • Level: Intermediate to advanced
  • FAQ'S & FACTS ABOUT Row Long Bar Two-Arm

    What Is A Barbell Two-Arm Long Bar Row?

    A two-arm barbell row is a compound resistance exercise, which targets the upper and middle back including the latissimus dorsi, middle trapezius, rhomboids and teres major. This exercise can be performed with an Olympic bar or other barbell alternative. It is performed standing with the torso in a flexed position.

    The concentric portion of the lift is scapular retraction, shoulder extension, and elbow flexion. The eccentric portion is scapular protraction, shoulder flexion, and elbow extension as the bar is lowered.

    The purpose of the two-arm barbell row is to strengthen the latissimus dorsi, middle trapezius, rhomboids and teres major while also promoting the hypertrophy (increases in size) of these muscles.

    Why Do A Barbell Two-Arm Long Bar Row?

    Two-arm barbell rows strengthen and develop muscles of the upper and middle back. This exercise requires greater stabilization from the erector spinae muscle group (i.e. spinalis, semispinalis, iliocostalis, longissimus, quadratus lumborum), abdominals, and legs compared to other back exercises.1,2 This is because the torso is in a flexed position as the shoulder and elbow joints extend and flex, respectively, as the scapular retracts.

    Two-arm barbell rows allow the lifter to execute scapular retraction with a narrower grip. The narrow grip places greater emphasis on shoulder extension and less emphasis on scapular retraction compared to a bent-over barbell row. This places greater emphasis on the latissimus dorsi.

    In addition to serving as an exercise that enhances the aesthetics of the upper and middle back, two-arm barbell rows also complement weightlifting and sport performance.

    Fenwick CM, Brown SH, McGill SM. (2009). Comparison of different rowing exercises: trunk muscle activation and lumbar spine motion, load, and stiffness. JSCR. 23(2):350-8.

    Saeterbakken A, Andersen V, Brudeseth A, Lund H, Fimland MS. (2015). The Effect of Performing Bi- and Unilateral Row Exercises on Core Muscle Activation. Int J Sports Med. 36(11):900-5.

    Anatomy Of A Barbell Two-Arm Long Bar Row

    The latissimus dorsi is a broad, flat, and triangular-shaped muscle of the lower back. When defined, the “lats” form a “v” shape of the torso as they angle toward the waist. The latissimus dorsi is a primary shoulder adductor and shoulder extensor. In this exercise the latissimus dorsi is responsible for extending the shoulder as the bar is lifted upward. Its origin is located along the spines of the lower six thoracic vertebrae, lower 3 to 4 ribs, and iliac crest of the pelvis. Its insertion spirals around the teres major as it inserts into the intertubercular groove of the humerus.

    A flat and triangular muscle, the trapezius is the most superficial muscle of the posterior thorax. The middle fibers run horizontally to the scapula. Its origin is located at the occipital bone, ligamentum nuchae, and spines of C7 and all thoracic vertebrae. Its insertion is located along the acromion and spine of the scapula and lateral region of the clavicle. The middle trapezius retracts the scapula. As a superficial muscle, developing the middle trapezius contributes to the overall aesthetics of the upper back.

    The rhomboids are two rectangular muscles that lie underneath the trapezius just below the levator scapulae. The rhomboids consist of the rhomboid minor and rhomboid major. The rhomboid minor is located above the rhomboid major and is more superficial. The origin of the rhomboid minor is located at the spinous processes of C7 and T1. The origin of the rhomboid major is located at the spinous processes of T2-T5. The insertion of both rhomboids major and minor is located at the medial border of the scapula. The rhomboids are synergists with the middle trapezius when retracting the scapula.

    The teres major is a thick muscle located underneath the teres minor. It helps to form the posterior wall of the axilla. A synergist of the latissimus dorsi, the teres major extends the shoulder in this exercise. Its origin is located at the posterior surface of the scapula at the inferior angle. Its insertion is located at the crest of the lesser tubercle on the anterior humerus (its tendon fused with that of the latissimus dorsi).

    The deltoid is a thick, multipennate muscle that forms a curtain around the shoulder. It is the primary muscle involved with arm abduction. When developed, the deltoids give the shoulder their round shape. The extension of the shoulder joint as the barbell is lifted activates the posterior fibers of the deltoid. The origin of the deltoid is located at the insertion of the trapezius, lateral third of the clavicle and the acromion spine of the scapula. Its insertion is located at the deltoid tuberosity of the humerus.

    The biceps brachii consists of two heads, the long head and the short head. The long head tendon helps stabilize the shoulder joint and its origin is located at the tubercle and lip of the glenoid cavity of the scapula (shoulder blade). The short head origin is located at the coracoid process of the scapula (shoulder blade). The long and short head unite as the muscle bellies run down the front of the arm. Both heads merge, sharing insertion into the radial tuberosity of the elbow joint. The biceps brachii flexes the elbow joint as the barbell is lifted upward.

    The brachialis lies underneath the biceps brachii, originating at the front of the lower end of the humerus bone. Its insertion is located at the coronoid process of the ulna at the elbow joint. The brachialis is a primary elbow flexor.

    The quadratus lumborum, iliocostalis, longissimus, spinalis, and semispinalis play an essential role in stabilizing the neck and upper and lower regions of the back during this exercise as the torso is in a flexed position.

    The abdominal muscles, rectus abdominis, external oblique and internal oblique also play an important role in stabilizing the torso.

    The hamstrings (i.e. biceps femoris, semitendinosus, semimembranosus) and quadriceps femoris (i.e. rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, vastus medialis) assist in stabilizing the torso from the lower extremity.

    The rotator cuff muscles help stabilize the shoulder joint as the scapular retract and the shoulder extends. The wrist flexors maintain the wrists rigid and stabilized throughout the exercise.

    Variations Of A Barbell Two-Arm Long Bar Row

    One-arm barbell row, barbell bent-over row, dumbbell bent-over rows, one-arm dumbbell bent-over rows, bench rows, EZ bar bent-over rows, T-bar rows, seated rows, standing one-arm low-pulley rows, machine rows.

    How To Improve Your Barbell Two-Arm Long Bar Rows

    Performing this exercise unilaterally as a one-arm barbell row will help the lifter isolate each side.

    Placing a double-D handle under the barbell will allow the lifter to alternate their grip positioning.

    Performing row exercises with varying grip widths optimizes muscle fiber activation of the muscles involved. Over time, and strategic variation with your back training regimen, this enhances muscle hypertrophy and strength of the upper and middle back.

    Because this exercise is performing with the torso flexed forward, the lower back muscles may fatigue quickly for some individuals. This can increase negative stress on the lumbar region among individuals with a compromised lower back. Other alternatives of rowing exercises may be best suited if the lifter fatigues quickly or has prior back injury. Alternate exercises include the bench row, incline bench row, seated row, and T-bar.

    Focus more on the shoulder extension and scapular retraction to lift the barbell upward as opposed to focusing on the hands dominating the effort of the lift. This will not only optimize muscle activation, but also prevent strain on the biceps brachii that could increase the risk of injury.

    Focus on the concentric portion of the contraction, concentrating on “squeezing” as the barbell reaches your torso and scapula are retracted (“shoulder blades” are squeezed together).

    Emphasis on eccentric contractions, prolonging the eccentric portion of the contraction, may also be incorporated in a training program focused on increasing strength. This should be implemented accordingly and with adequate muscle recovery as eccentric contractions cause substantial damage to muscle tissue.

    It’s important to note that your repetition and set volume will depend on your goals (e.g. strength, hypertrophy, muscular endurance). It is also important to allow adequate recovery days in between back, shoulder, and biceps training days to allow muscles to repair.

    Common Mistakes When Doing Barbell Two-Arm Long Bar Rows

    Using momentum to lift the bar (e.g. jerking the torso for assistance) minimizes the potential of force production of the involved muscles and can increase the risk for injury. It is important that both the eccentric and concentric phases of the exercise are controlled.

    Injuries Or Ailments & Their Effects Regarding Barbell Two-Arm Long Bar Rows

    If the lifter has a compromised range of motion with the back or shoulder joint and/or performs this exercise incorrectly, this exercise can increase the risk of injury and/or exacerbate a previous injury.

    If proper technique and recovery are not adhered to, impingement syndrome, rotator cuff injuries, and/or lower back injuries may occur.