• Photo for Lean Barbell Single Side Row
    Photo Credit: Nicolas Smith

Lean Barbell Single Side Row

By RealJock Staff

This exercise provided courtesy of Billy Polson, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006.

Side rows work the entire complex of muscles in your upper back. For this variation, you use a barbell rather than a dumbbell so that you can be certain you're controlling your arm's motion.

Muscles Worked
Back (lats, traps, rhomboids)

Starting Position
Hold an Olympic barbell with one end on the floor and the other in your right hand, holding just below the stack plate holder. The barbell will be on your right. You may wedge the low end of the barbell against a machine or wall to stabilize it. Take your right leg back to a slight lunge position and incline your upper body forward 45 degrees, keeping your back flat and your neck and head in line with your back (see Photo 1).


  1. From the starting position, bend your elbow and pull the end of the barbell up and back in a row. As you pull, be sure to keep your chest and upper body flat towards the floor, your spine and lower back flat, and your neck in line with your spine. Your elbow should stay close to your body; try to pull it slightly behind your back at the top of your motion (see Photos 2 and 3).
  2. Lower the bar back to the starting position and repeat for the number of reps specified.
  3. After you have finished a set of rows on the right, switch sides. The barbell should be on your left side, held in your left hand, with your left foot back. Repeat for the specified number of reps on your left side. Widen your stance for more stability as you increase the weight and difficulty of this exercise.
About Billy Polson: Billy Polson is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, which was voted the best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. A competitive swimmer and triathlete in his own right, Polson has over 15 years of experience working as a coach and trainer, and was recently named by Men's Journal Magazine (December 2005) as one of the Top 100 Trainers in America.