I believe Rows suck as a DL accessory and here is why. I believe Rows suck as a DL accessory and here is why.

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Thread: I believe Rows suck as a DL accessory and here is why.

  1. #1
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    Question I believe Rows suck as a DL accessory and here is why.

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    This has been bothering me a lot for a lot of time, lifters all around the globe treat Barbell Rows as ideal deadlift accessories. My opinion is that they are not since you are using a very light weight relative to deadlifts, while concentrically using your back musculature to row the barbell. In this motion the hip extensors (hamstrings and glutes) as well as the quads are contracted isometrically whereas in the deadlift not only do they contract concenctrically, but at maximal loads as well. The only "benefit" that the rows hold over the deadlifts are the concentric movements of some muscles, such as the lats, the traps etc.

    My question is, why would we pick a row that uses the big muscles really submaximally instead of lifts such as the RDL, Good mornings etc. to train a lift like the deadlift where these muscles are loaded at their maximum capacity?

  2. #2
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    I don't use them as an assistance exercise for the deadlift, because they don't work very well for that. The only thing they do for the deadlift is make the start position more comfortable. I use them personally as an alternate pulling exercise, which is not the same thing -- I am no longer concerned with advancing my deadlift, so I don't need an assistance exercise for it.

  3. #3
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    I agree that rows are bunk. Piddly weight compared to deadlift. Chins do a better job of taxing the upper body musculature through a greater range of motion.

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    Darin Deaton and Trent Jones had an informative discussion recently on the 40fit Radio Podcast about the barbell row and the chin-up as valuable accessory lifts.

    #76 – Accessorize Your Program with… Accessory Lifts! | 40fit

    They state that the accessory lifts (like chins and rows) are helpful for training variety, as a light day break from the main lifts (heavy deadlifts in this case) to "buy more time in recovery" and to a smaller extent, hypertrophy. On the podcast, Trent and Darin definitely praised chins, but they also made a case for rows based on development of the lats and even as an assistance exercise for chins.

    Deaton: (The barbell row) "builds a nice flat back, (via) isometric contraction of the back, stabilization of the hips, nice tight hamstrings, high hip and work those lats. That in turn helps another accessory lift, the chin, and that in turn helps the big 3, the deadlift, the press, and the bench."

    Deaton (cont'd): "I find that the row & chins kinda compliment each other too, because of the development of the lats. The lat is WAY under publicized, the lat is way under given its due."

    Jones: "It's underrated for sure. Your ability to contract your lats is one of the most important skills in barbell training. It's also probably one of the hardest skills to learn. It's just an unnatural movement we don't really use it in every day movement that much."

    Jones (cont'd): "When we talk about getting set up for the deadlift, when you get to the bottom and squeeze your chest up to make that flat back, there's one other movement that you have to make and that's to squeeze your arms back or bend the bar back. And when you do that correctly, that's your lats that are contracting. I find the barbell row, if people are really struggling with the that aspect of deadlifts, that can be a good way to start to feel their lats. One key I'd say about when you're performing the row, most people when they start barbell rowing will report feeling the weight in their arms, like their biceps or their shoulders. When you do them right, you'll feel them in your back, in your lats. When you really learn to contract your lats and squeeze your back flat...that's where the money is."

    Deaton: "Squeeze up and back first. I think a real practical reason why we do the barbell row is when the bar starts to drift on someone forward a bit and they can't keep the bar back on their shin. We make sure that their positioning and set-up is good, that they're coming off the floor with leg drive, that everything looks good there. But if the bar starts to drift on them a little bit, they're not quite able to keep the heavier load back against their shin, back against their thigh, then I love the barbell row to develop that lat, that pulling back position."

    I transcribed as best I could. Their podcast is great if you're looking for additional SS-based content. Hope this might help answer OP's question.

  5. #5
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    Whoever is saying row is a DL accessory has proven themselves dumb enough to be ignored. Not to mention you could ask 100 average gym goers what a row is and get 100 different answers. Rows have been properly covered in the book and YouTube channel.

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    Im not going to quote Tom's quote, but they could be talking about any exercise, really; seated cable rows, for example. Its not that the barbell row is AIDS; its just that in a world where we are limited by time and recovery abilities, its both: 1) too similar to the deadlift 2) not dissimilar enough. It works pretty much the same shit as the deadfit, just with lighter weight and/or a reduced range of motion AND it does not work the lats/biceps through the full range of motion that chins do. For bodybuilders, just looking to change things up and do another one of 20 different exercises, then fine. Rows are ok. But for strength training purposes on planet Earth where time and recovery abilities are limited yet chinup bars are abundant, rows just seem unneeded. Do chins instead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FatButWeak View Post
    Im not going to quote Tom's quote, but they could be talking about any exercise, really; seated cable rows, for example. Its not that the barbell row is AIDS; its just that in a world where we are limited by time and recovery abilities, its both: 1) too similar to the deadlift 2) not dissimilar enough. It works pretty much the same shit as the deadfit, just with lighter weight and/or a reduced range of motion AND it does not work the lats/biceps through the full range of motion that chins do. For bodybuilders, just looking to change things up and do another one of 20 different exercises, then fine. Rows are ok. But for strength training purposes on planet Earth where time and recovery abilities are limited yet chinup bars are abundant, rows just seem unneeded. Do chins instead.
    Goddam this is a stupid post. If you really struggle that much to recover from a few sets of rows maybe you possibly do have AIDS?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie View Post
    Goddam this is a stupid post. If you really struggle that much to recover from a few sets of rows maybe you possibly do have AIDS?
    Its not the rows, my young twink. Its the deadlifts.

  9. #9
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    My go-tos for deadlift assistance are the Low block pull, SLDL, RDL, bent over shrug. I do rows and pull downs more for scapular control.

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    Quote Originally Posted by jbackos View Post
    I do rows and pull downs more for scapular control.
    Absolutely essential, since deadlifts themselves neither provide nor require control of the scapulae.

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