If you want a bigger, thicker back, rows need to be an integral part of your program. Barbell rows, dumbbell rows, cable rows, machine rows—these are all effective. We recommend you incorporate them all, and more, including the bare-bones inverted row. The beauty of the inverted row is that it’s a hybrid between a pull-up (using body weight) and a barbell row (using the same grip). This means you get the functional benefts of pulling your own weight combined with an excellent movement for building dense muscle in the back.

The Row Zone

Follow these instructions to master your own body weight while building a bigger back:


  1. Position a barbell at a power rack so that it’s above arms’ distance from the floor.
  2. Lie on the floor underneath the bar and grasp it with a shoulder-width overhand grip.
  3. Start with your body in a straight line, with your heels on the floor and arms fully extended.


Contract your back muscles and bend your arms to pull yourself up to the bar. When your chest touches the bar, slowly lower yourself back down to the arms-extended position. To increase difficulty, elevate your feet on a bench or seat in front of you.

Check out the quick tips on the next page for where, when, and how to best perform this move. 

Quick Tips

WHERE IT HITS: Lats and other back muscles like the rhomboids and middle traps.

WHEN TO DO IT: Pretty much at any point in your back workout, though it’s often used as a finishing move.

HOW TO DO IT: 3–4 sets, 12–20 reps