Pendlay Row | Exercise Guide
The Pendlay Row is a back exercise and a variation of the standard barbell row. It is one of the most effective exercises for building a bigger and stronger back. It was created by US Olympic weightlifting coach Glenn Pendlay.
What muscle does Pendlay row work? It is a compound exercise that works the upper and mid-back muscles, including the rhomboids and lats.
- Primary muscles worked: Lats, Trapezius, Rear deltoids
- Secondary muscles worked: Biceps, Lower Back, Forearm Flexors, Rotator Cuff
- Equipment: Barbell
Pendlay Row Instructions
- Step up to the bar with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Bend forward and grab the bar just outside shoulder-width. Your knees should be slightly bent. Your back should be relatively straight with your eyes looking straight down at the floor.
- Quickly pull the bar straight up from the floor towards your sternum. As you pull, your elbows should flare out to your sides at about a 45-degree angle to your body.
- Lower and Repeat. Lower the bar to the ground, then raise it up again. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
Sets And Reps
- For Strength: 3-5 sets of 4 to 8 reps with heavy weight.
- For Muscle Mass: 3-4 sets of 8 to 15 reps with middle-heavy weight.
- For Endurance: 3-4 sets of 15 to 20 reps with light weight.
Although it is a compound movement, you’re not going to use it to the max. You can still use it as a way to build up your strength, though.
Benefits of Pendlay Row
Including the Pendlay row in your workout is beneficial for multiple reasons.
- Build a strong back. It builds a stronger back by activating muscles that support it, including the trapezius, rhomboids, spinal erectors, and Latissimus Dorsi.
- Activate your full-body muscles. This leads to overall fitness, stability, and balance.
Build lean muscle and burn calories. This not just gets you an aesthetic toned-up appearance but also prevents the risk of obesity-related problems.
Pendlay Row Alternatives
Pendlay rows are an advanced exercise for building a bigger and stronger back, which requires proper form and a strong back, and can be intimidating. What exercise can replace Pendlay row? Fortunately, there are plenty of other options for back strengthening. Here are our top 10 Pendlay Row alternatives.
- Rack Pulls
- Clean Pulls
- Inverted Row
- Barbell Row
- Banded Deadlifts
- Banded Barbell Row
- Overhand Barbell Rows
- Dead Stop Dumbbell Rows
- Inverted Bodyweight Rows
Pendlay Row FAQs
The pendlay row is used to strengthen the posterior chain while the barbell row targets the upper back and chest.
The pendlay row requires a great deal of power, as you maintain a fixed starting position on the floor and then forcefully pull the bar toward your lower chest. The barbell row requires constant tension and total body stabilization throughout the lift as you bear down on the bar with both hands.
Although it is a compound movement, you’re not going to use it to the max. You can still use it as a way to build up your strength, though. Choose the right weight based on different exercise goals.
- For Strength: with heavy weight.
- For Muscle Mass: with middle-heavy weight.
- For Endurance: with light weight.
Yes. Pendlay rows primarily work the back muscles, but they also engage your whole body muscles, such as the biceps and rotator cuff.
Pendlay row vs barbell row
Related Upper Body Exercises
Here are some other upper body exercises that will help you strengthen your upper body. Try these exercises to get a tighter, toned look!
- Pike Pushups
- Alternating Superman
- Lawnmower Band Pull