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How To Do Pendlay Rows

What Is A Pendlay Row

How To Do A Pendlay Row

The pendlay row is a dead stop row that challenges the performer to row a barbell towards them from the floor while in a hip hinge. This movement typically uses an overhand, pronated grip and involves greater range of motion and more full body strength than other row variations. The positioning of the pendlay row makes the exercise more difficult to cheat than other rowing variations as the initial pull off the ground makes it difficult to ‘throw’ the weight up.  

The pendlay row is a powerful movement that requires good back and core strength. It challenges the latissimus dorsi, trapezius, rhomboids, and erector spinae, and is typically used for improving back strength and power rather than for hypertrophy.

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Commonly Asked Questions On Pendlay Row

  • The pendlay row is good for challenging the back muscles, namely the latissimus dorsi, trapezius. rhomboids, rear deltoids, and erector spinae. Compared to other rows, the pendlay row encourages more of an explosive action which can build strength and power.

  • The pendlay row and bent over barbell row look similar, however there are key differences between the two exercises due to the differing starting position.

    The pendlay row begins with the barbell on the floor and requires a 90-degree hip hinge so that the upper body is parallel to the floor, while the bent over row only requires a 45-degree hip hinge angle with the barbell only going down to the knees.

    The greater range of motion and increased hip hinge makes the pendlay row more challenging, and most people can lift greater loads with the bent over barbell row.

  • Pendlay rows are a challenging exercise due to both the set up and execution of the movement. Maintaining a 90-degree requires good hamstring flexibility, and some people find it uncomfortable.

    The execution of the Pendlay row requires a considerable amount of strength as all the force must come from the biceps and the back muscles, as the dead stop starting position means performers cannot use momentum to assist the lift.

Pendlay Row Tips

As the pendlay row is a powerful movement, it’s important to employ good form to reduce injury risk and ensure the intended muscles are targeted. Maintaining a neutral spine by hinging from the hips, pulling the shoulder blades back, and bracing the core, will help to protect the spine, while keeping the torso at a 90-degree angle will ensure the full range of motion is used.

Similar to the deadlift, pulling the slack out of the bar is helpful to ensure the bar is positioned optimally for the pull. While you do not want to adopt a deadlift position, pulling the shoulder blades back helps to prepare the back to lift from its most powerful position.

How To Do A Pendlay Row

  1. Load a barbell using bumper plates, then take a hip width stance with your shoelaces directly under the barbell.

  2. Take a slight bend in the knee and then push the hips back until you’re at a 90-degree angle with torso parallel to the floor, then grip the barbell using an overhand, pronated grip.

  3. Maintain a neutral spine by bringing the hips down a little, pulling the shoulder blades back, and bracing your core.

  4. Take a deep breath before rowing the barbell towards your belly button. It can be helpful to think about pulling your elbows back towards your hips.

  5. Return the barbell to the floor by slowly extending your arms, making sure to keep your elbows tucked close to your side.

  6. Before starting the next rep, repeat step 3.

If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.