7 Best T Bar Row Alternatives (A guide for bodybuilders)

 T Bar Row Alternatives

The Best Alternatives for the T Bar Row

Introduction: What is the T-Bar Row Exercise?

The T Bar Row is a resistance exercise that targets the lats, traps, rear delts and rhomboids. It can be performed on a T Bar Row machine or on a barbell bar with a t bar attachment and landmine holder. 

Bodybuilders will use T Bar Rows to build mass and definition in the back whereas strength trainers will use them to increase strength for pulling movements such as deadlifts and rack pulls. 

The main advantage of using T Bar Rows for back development is that you can train with a heavy load and hit nearly all of the muscles in your upper back. You can use a narrow grip which will help you to add thickness and width to the lats. If you want to activate the mid traps, rear deltoids and rhomboids it is just a case of simply flaring the elbows out. 

The 7 Best Alternatives to the T-Bar Row Exercise

The T-Bar Row exercise is a great way to strengthen your back muscles and add mass but if you do not have access to a T Bar Row machine or a landmine bracket, you will need to find an alternative. 

T-Bar Row Alternatives: 

1. Lat Pushdown: This exercise is similar to the T-Bar Row because both exercises use an external resistance that helps you pull your arms and back muscles in opposite directions. The difference between them is that the Lat Pushdown allows you to pull your arms behind your body and stretch them outwards. This will help improve your posture by stretching out any tightness in your upper back muscles. 

Cable pushdowns for lats

2. Humble Row: The Humble Row works on both sides of your upper body equally, which makes it a great alternative for those who are looking for a single-body exercise. It also helps improve your posture and works the muscles in your upper back, shoulders, and arms.

3. Dumbbell Row: The Dumbbell Row is similar to the humble row because it uses an external resistance that helps you pull your arms and back muscles in opposite directions. However, one major difference between them is that the Dumbbell Row is done with straight arms, so it does not target the lower back as much. as the Bent Over Row.

4. Pull Up: The Pull up is a great exercise for your back since it strengthens and targets the muscles in your upper body without the need for free weights or cable machines. 

Pull ups instead of t bar row

Pull-ups also improve your posture, which is why this exercise is often used as part of a physical therapy program to improve scoliosis or Spina Bifida. Patients engage in the exercise to help maintain the curve of their spine.

5. Hang Clean: The Hang Clean is a great exercise for your wrists, shoulders, and trapezius muscles as well as your ability to power lift and control the weight in your hands. It also works on other muscle groups in your back such as the lats, rhomboids, and teres major.

6 . Hang Power Clean: The Hang Power Clean is a frame-position-specific variation of the Hang Clean that helps you clean from the floor. It targets your forearms, shoulders, and trapezius muscles as well as your ability to power lift and control the weight in your hands. If you are experiencing wrist pain during the Hang Clean, then you may want to try the Hang Power Clean, which is easier on your wrists and shoulders.

7 . Deadlift: The deadlift is known as the king of lifts as it activates the entire rear chain. Not only do the muscles in your back get put under a lot of tension, but your glutes, hamstrings and core muscles are also activated. 

Alternative to T Bar Row - Deadlift

Heavy compound lifts like the deadlift should be a part of any bodybuilding or strength routine. The stress that it puts on the central nervous system triggers a temporary release of testosterone and HGF-1 growth hormones which will assist with hypertrophy and strength gains. 

How to do a T-Bar Row?

T Bar Rows can be performed on a T Bar Row machine or with a barbell bar with a t bar attachment. Here we will look at both methods:

T Bar Row Machine

If your gym has a T Bar Row machine you should take full advantage of it. The main advantage of using a machine over a landmine is that the majority of them have a chest support. This removes any element of cheating the movement and also allows you to take out stabilising muscles from the equation. This means that you can focus all of your attention on connecting with the target muscles. 

Machine T Bar Row

  1. Load plates onto the machine and set the chest pad so that it is giving good support to the upper body. Start with a light weight and pyramid up to your working set weight. 
  2. Step onto the footplate and rest your chest on the support. Keep your feet at shoulder width for stability and grab the handles with an overhand grip. This is your starting position. 
  3. Take a deep breath, upon exhale, row the handles towards you keeping a straight back and elbows tucked in.
  4. Once you have fully contracted the rear delts and lats, hold for a couple of seconds and squeeze the muscles.
  5. Slowly lower the handles back down breathing in as you go. 
  6. Before the bar hits the support, breath out and begin your next rep. 
  7. Repeat for the desired number of reps and sets. 

T Bar Landmine Row

If you do not have access to a T Bar Row machine you can perform a landmine row with a barbell bar, weight plates, t bar attachment (or a towel) and ideally a landmine bracket. If you do not have a landmine row bracket, you can rest the butt of the barbell bar against a wall or some heavy weight plates. 

Landmine T Bar Row

  1. Place one end of the barbell bar into the landmine row bracket and load the desired weight plates onto the other end. Add a clip to keep the plates in place and a t-bar row attachment under the bar. If you do not have a t-bar attachment, you can use a towel.
  2. Step over the bar with a foot on each side at a stance that is just wider than shoulder-width. 
  3. Hinge at the hips so that you are bent over with a straight back and grab the t-bar handles (or the ends of the towel).
  4. Row the bar upwards with a straight back and the elbows tucked in. 
  5. At the top of the movement, when muscles in the back are fully contracted, hold the position and squeeze the muscles for a couple of seconds.
  6. Lower the bar back down on a count of three in a controlled motion. Breathe in as you return to the starting position. 
  7. Before the plates hit the floor, breathe out and start your next rep. 
  8. Repeat for the required number of reps and sets. 

Tips for a better T Bar Row

Control your breathing. Make sure that you are breathing out upon exertion and breathing in as you return to the starting position. This will help you to harness power during the most strenuous part of the movement and keep oxygen levels high. 

If you are training for hypertrophy, opt for a moderate weight, strict form and a slow, controlled movement. Make sure that you are squeezing the muscle at the top of the motion and using a slow, negative movement to maximise the time under tension. Aim for 4 sets of 8-12 reps. If you can do more than 12 reps with good form, increase the weight. 

For those of you that are seeking strength gains, you can go really heavy on this movement. Aim for 5 sets of 4-5 reps for maximum strength gains. 

Muscles Worked With a T-Bar Row

Muscles worked woth a t bar row

The T Bar Row is an excellent exercise for targeting the muscles of the back. Specifically, the t-bar row works the latissimus dorsi, which are the large muscles that run along the sides of the back. 

The T Bar Row also works the rhomboids, which are located between the shoulder blades. In addition, the T Bar Row works the trapezius, which is a large muscle that runs from the base of the neck to the middle of the back. 

As a result, the T Bar Row is an excellent exercise for developing strength and size in the muscles of the back.

The Benefits of Using a T-Bar Row Machine for Your Workout

There are many benefits to adding T Bar Rows to your workout routine. As it is a compound exercise, you can activate all of the major muscles in the back which will save you a lot of time in the gym and trigger growth hormones for overall growth. 

Another benefit of activating muscles in the back is better posture. A strong back with thick, wide lats and developed rear delts is going to help with keeping the spine straight which gives a better aesthetic to your posture and will help to alleviate back pain. A strong back will also reduce the risk of injury from lifting. 

T-Bar Row Conclusion

T Bar Rows are a great addition to any weight training routine. Bodybuilders can use them for adding width and thickness to the lats, strength trainers can use them as accessory lifts to enhance their pulling movements and office workers can use them o improve posture. 

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