January 30, 2023
Chicago 12, Melborne City, USA

Construct Explosive Pulling Energy With the Pendlay Row


Glenn Pendlay was one of many main coaches in American weightlifting — he held a Stage 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 recognized for popularizing a strength-building train referred to 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 measurement in energy athletes and lifters of all ranges. Right here’s the way to carry out this extremely efficient motion.

Pendlay Row Approach Video

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

Tips on how to Do the Pendlay Row

The barbell row has been a long-running staple for constructing measurement and energy within the again, shoulders, and arms. The Pendlay row enforces particular method to extend energy output and make the goal muscle groups work even more durable.

Step 1 — Get Into the Beginning Place

Muscular man in gym bending down to grab barbell
Credit score: kittirat roekburi / Shutterstock

Start with a loaded barbell on the ground immediately above your toes. Stand along with your ft 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 essential.

Type Tip: It’s best to really feel tightness, not discomfort, in your hamstrings from holding the proper higher physique place. When you really feel ache, totally warm-up your hips, hamstrings, glutes, and decrease again to realize 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 shortly drive your elbows up whereas pulling the bar to your decrease chest. Your torso shouldn’t carry from the parallel place.

The bar ought to bodily contact your decrease chest or higher stomach earlier than you permit it to return shortly to the bottom. Don’t attempt to intentionally gradual the barbell on the descent. Let the bar come to an entire relaxation on the bottom earlier than starting the following rep.

Type Tip: In case your torso strikes considerably, scale back the load on the bar and deal with sustaining a decent posture. Protecting a strict higher physique place whereas lifting explosively is extra essential than swinging heavy weights.

Pendlay Row Errors to Keep away from

The Pendlay row is particularly used to keep away from method points extra widespread with conventional barbell rows. Be sure to’re performing it accurately by avoiding these issues.

Transferring Your Higher Physique

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

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

In case your torso shifts to get the load transferring, you’re dissipating stress from the goal muscle groups and lowering the energy and measurement advantage of the train.

Keep away from It: Keep in mind that the physique place is intentionally bent ahead with a purpose to get optimum outcomes. Take heed to sustaining a strict parallel place. By no means commerce method 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 supply most drive for every particular person rep, as an alternative of counting on the stretch-shortening cycle (a muscular phenomenon which makes use of a stretched place to extend energy). (1) This system is typically 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 drive manufacturing and reduces the train’s effectiveness.

Keep away from it: Enable the bar to come back to an entire 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. Strategy any given set as a sequence of particular person reps, not one group of a number of reps. For instance, as an alternative 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 assist good old school energy features. Like all barbell rows, it additionally delivers loads of muscular development as effectively. Listed here are all the explanations to coach with this massive, fundamental 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 lowering the chance of shoulder accidents. (2) The Pendlay row immediately trains all of the muscle groups of the again to immediately 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 load. This helps to extend muscle recruitment and has been proven to extend total energy and energy features. (3)

Again Dimension

Instantly 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 superb cornerstone for any back-building exercise.

Muscle mass Labored by Pendlay Row

The Pendlay row is a compound (multi-joint) train coordinating quite a lot of muscle groups to finish the carry. This intense train hits almost 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 muscle groups — works primarily to manage 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 biggest muscle groups on the again, working close to your ribs and from below your arms to your decrease again. They work to deliver your arm in in 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 manage your torso place on the waist (bending forwards or sideways, and rotating). In the course of the Pendlay row, the spinal erectors work to keep up 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 drag the load in direction of your physique and full the carry within the prime place.


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

Who Ought to Do the Pendlay Row

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

Power and Energy Athletes

Lifters targeted on transferring severe 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.

Tips on how to Program the Pendlay Row

To effectively prepare for measurement and energy with out extreme fatigue within the assist muscle groups of the decrease again, which might compromise method, the Pendlay row is greatest educated with comparatively decrease reps. Listed here are some efficient pointers

Average Weight, Low Repetition

Specializing in the Pendlay row’s explosive efficiency can generally imply making use of extra drive to much less weight. Coaching for two to 6 units of two to 4 reps can prioritize most drive manufacturing, which results 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 massive compound lifts, delivering measurement and energy features. While you start lifting heavier weights whereas maintaining strict type, you open a really massive door to very massive outcomes. Keep in mind that you could be not be capable of carry as a lot with the Pendlay row as you’ll be able to 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 massive carry. Listed here are one of the best 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 preferrred for lifters working round a decrease again challenge or lifters who could have mobility restrictions stopping them from reaching the parallel torso place wanted for Pendlay rows.

One other advantage of many chest-supported row machines is quite a lot of gripping handles, which may barely alter recruitment by emphasizing totally different muscle groups of the again.

Impartial-Grip Two Dumbbell Row

Whereas the single-arm dumbbell row is widespread, performing the motion with two dumbbells directly is a wonderful “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 muscle groups on both facet may be extra simply observed 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 entails a supinated (palms up) grip which considerably will increase biceps activation and adjustments the train’s vary of movement, which impacts the again muscle groups.

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

Pendlay Row Options

There are a handful of workouts which may construct measurement, energy, and energy just like the Pendlay row. Listed here are a number of the prime decisions.

Barbell Row

Whereas the Pendlay row entails a strict, parallel torso place and pulling every repetition from the bottom, “breaking” these guidelines turns the barbell row into a distinct 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 muscle groups are saved below fixed stress with out resting the barbell. This makes the train extra appropriate for average to increased repetitions with out fatiguing the supportive muscle groups.

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 traditional single-arm rows being executed with poor type.

Kroc rows may be very efficient for constructing higher again energy and measurement though they contain leg drive and physique English slightly than super-strict higher physique pulling.

Energy Clear

The ability clear is arguably some of the useful workouts that an athlete can carry out within the fitness center. (4) It’s a traditional staple in energy and conditioning packages for contact sports activities and is a variation of the clear and jerk from aggressive Olympic weightlifting.

The ability clear builds explosive total-body energy whereas packing measurement 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 should you’re utilizing bumper plates and a selected lifting platform.


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

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

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

Why does my decrease again harm through the train?

Protecting your torso in a parallel place is crucial within the Pendlay row. Nonetheless, some lifters could discover that this place aggravates decrease again ache or they could be unable to realize adequate depth within the first place.

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

Pendlay Rows for Energy

The Pendlay row has supported energy and energy improvement for almost three many years and has been utilized by prime lifters world wide. With a easy barbell, and various weight plates, you’ll be able to add it to your individual exercises and construct world-class energy and measurement.


  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; High-quality, 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 – Situation 1 – p 72-85 doi: 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000547
  3. Aagaard P, Simonsen EB, Andersen JL, Magnusson P, Dyhre-Poulsen P. Elevated price of drive 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


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