How to Do the Yates Row

By Michele M. Howard

A back workout routine would not be complete without Yates rows, also referred to as reverse grip bent-over rows. Popularized by bodybuilder and Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates, the Yates row exercise works most of the muscles in your middle and lower back as well as your biceps, lats and shoulders. Yates rows are similar to regular bent-over rows except for a few technique differences -- the grip, pull and angle of the forward lean. For maximum benefit, perform Yates rows with proper form.

Step 1

Prime your body for your workout with a dynamic warm-up. Activate and wake up the muscles you'll be using during your lifting session. Activities to engage in to help get the blood flowing to your muscles include jumping jacks, jumping jacks while crisscrossing your arms across your body, shadow boxing, burpees and Yates rows with an unloaded bar.

Step 2

Load weight plates onto your barbell. The amount of weight you use depends on your strength and skill level. The Mayo Clinic recommends a weight amount heavy enough to fatigue your muscles after 12 repetitions -- you should struggle to complete the last rep.

Step 3

Stand and face your barbell with your feet about shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in your knees. While keeping your back straight and head up, squat down and grasp the barbell slightly wider than shoulder-width apart with an underhand grip -- palms up.

Step 4

Assume the starting position. To do this, push through your legs, stand and raise the barbell to the front of your thighs. Keep a slight bend in your knees, lean forward about 30 degrees and allow your arms to hang naturally with the barbell in front of your knees.

Step 5

Breathe out and pull the bar up to your belly button, not your chest. During this move, keep your elbows tucked in tight to your body. Squeeze your shoulder blades and back muscles at the top of the pull. Pause for one second, breathe out, return to the starting position and repeat 10 to 12 times.

Step 6

Add variety to your back workout. Hold the barbell with an overhand grip -- palms down. This change reduces the amount of biceps recruitment. If you don't have a barbell, Yates rows can also be performed by holding a dumbbell in each hand.

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