Introduction

When it comes to developing both strength and size in the upper body and more specifically the back there are several machine exercises which really target this major muscle group. Sometimes however, it’s good to move away from these machine exercises and not only test your target muscle, but also your supporting core through the utilisation of free weights.

Free weights require you to produce and maintain a rigid core throughout the exercise movement, not only to enable good posture and reduce injury potential, but to allow for an efficient transference of force through the resistance itself, rather than being lost in translation.

Close Grip Bent Over Row

One back exercise which utilises free weights and requires core muscular activation throughout is the close grip bent over row. This exercise targets the upper back musculature and can add real size and depth if performed correctly. This article considers what is required of you during this exercise;

How To Execute
  1. To perform this exercise you will require an Olympic bar, close grip handle and weighted plates.
  2. Position one end of the Olympic bar into a corner or an immovable object.
  3. Add the required resistance to the opposing end of the bar.
  4. Add the close grip handle underneath the bar where the weighted plates are positioned.
  5. Straddle the bar with feet approximately shoulder width apart and grasp the close grip handle.
  6. Pick up the bar from the floor. This is your starting position.
  7. Throughout the exercise your back should be slightly higher than parallel to the floor.
  8. Raise the bar up as high as possible before slowly lowering it back to the starting position. This is one repetition.
The Close Grip Bent Over Row Exercise Video


Throughout the exercise ensure that you maintain a straight back. This can be achieved by keeping your head raised and looking straight ahead at all times. Also ensure that your elbows are tucked in throughout the movement and that the bar is raised and lowered in a controlled manner.

Final Word

There you have it, the close grip bent over row exercise to target the upper back. If you’re looking to add variation to your back workouts then this exercise definitely deserves consideration. Why not add it to your repertoire of back exercises and let us know how you get on.