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9 Best T-bar Row Alternatives

T-bar row

Strength and fitness workouts are gradually becoming popular as most individuals seek to improve their fitness and health. Most individuals flood gyms and fitness centers for different fitness and strengthening exercises. T-bar rows are among the most common exercises that most aspiring and professional fitness experts take to help build muscles and enhance their strength.

T-bar rows are one of the best back exercises there is. The exercise helps to work out your different muscles in the body, such as the teres major, traps, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and other secondary muscles. Nonetheless, you’ll need heavier weights or dumbbells to work out and enjoy when exercising effectively.

You can choose an appropriate t-bar row alternative if you lack this gym equipment to help you gain muscle and enhance your strength. These alternative exercises will help you have similar movements and achieve the same results. Read through the article to get the appropriate t-bar row alternatives you can choose for your workout sessions.

Benefits of T-bar Rows

There are numerous reasons why most individuals prefer t-bar rows workouts in fitness centers or gyms. Below are the top benefits of t-bar rows:

It’s a whole back exercise

If you want an exercise that’s more than a lat workout for your whole back, t-bar rows are a perfect choice. You’ll engage most of your muscles when working out, especially the posterior chain, making it an effective back exercise. It’s the best choice when looking to work out your whole back and other secondary muscles like biceps in one session.

T-bar rows are easy to learn

Compared to a barbell bent-over row, it’s more simple and easy to learn t-bar rows. When having the barbell bent-over exercise, choosing the appropriate place to have your hands on your barbell is always essential. Additionally, you’ve to decide whether to use an overhand or underhand grip while having the Romanian deadlift. However, you won’t require all the steps for the t-bar rows, as the machines guide the whole process from setting the weight to the positioning.

It offers versatility

This workout allows you to use different hand positions, which helps you work different back angles. The popular t-bar row grips include narrow-underhand, close-neutral, or shoulder width-neutral. You can have numerous workouts from these hand positions to enhance muscle growth and strength gains.


T-bar rows offer more safety than other alternatives when you’re working. You’re more secure when having this exercise as the weight you’re lifting is below the center of gravity. Having this weight below the weight in this position helps prevent lower back strains.

Offer better loading and adaptability

With the plate loading machines option, the t-bar rows workout uses it’s an essential workout you can add or remove weight without delaying or interrupting the sessions. Significantly, with the use of low denomination weights, you can easily increase your workout workloads in small increments.

Top 9 T-bar Row Alternatives

T-bar rows are one of the beneficial exercises when having your workout session. The workout comes with numerous advantages, from being a simple, safe, and versatile option to helping you work out the whole upper body muscles. However, you have to look for alternative workouts for your back and upper muscles due to inadequate equipment, such as machines and dumbbells. Below are the best t-bar row alternatives you can choose:

1. Resistance band bent over row

It’s the best alternative to the t-bar row that offers similar movements and helps to achieve similar results. You require the right resistance band for this workout, which plays as the best substitute for the t-bar row. The resistance band helps maintain posture, develop pulling strength and help work out the biceps & abdominal muscles.

How to perform the exercise

It’d help if you stand at a shoulder-width apart position.

Then take your band and while facing slightly outwards, step on the band with either foot.

Bend your knees and engage your legs & core before pulling the band upwards towards your chest area.

If you want to achieve more from the exercise, squeeze your shoulder blade together when having the movement.

The best way to have the best results is to have controlled and slowed movements.

2. Inverted rows

The inverted rows are a suitable alternative to the t-bar row workouts. While exercising, you can use the barbell, especially without the handles. Notably, you can use a smith machine or simple barbell for this exercise, which you can easily find in most gyms or fitness centers.

You can efficiently perform a full inverted rows workout at home even if you don’t have any of this equipment or weights. When having this workout without the equipment, you can use available material like a stable surface for the pulling movements. They are vigorous workouts that’ll help develop the forearm, grip strength, upper back muscles and enhance core stability.

How to perform the exercise

You have to position yourself under a smith machine loaded with a barbell when having the workout. The device should be high enough to avoid touching the ground while you try hanging on it.

With your feet on the floor, lie under the bar while holding your body up.

Then grab the bar while you have hands in a shoulder-width apart position and directly above your chest cavity.

Gently pull your body towards the bar until it almost touches your chest.

Lower yourself gently back to the original posture, then have repeat sets.

3. Pull-ups

They are the best t-bar rows alternative as they enhance the sculpting of the upper back muscles. While having the pull-ups, you’ll only need a bar for this toughest bodyweight and strengthening workout. Due to their versatility, pull-ups help to enhance greater phenomenal grip, forearm, lats, and upper body strength.

How to perform the exercise

To successfully perform this workout, it’ll be imperative to avoid using momentum or jumping to aid while in the movement.

You’ve to engage your upper body muscles more to achieve the best results from the exercise.

When working out, you’ve to hold on to the bar firmly, then pull yourself up.

Cross your legs when pulling your body up. Crossing your legs helps prevent too much swaying and throwing yourself out of the game.

4. Deadlifts

When at the gym or fitness center, the deadlift is one of the fantastic exercises you can do for your upper body muscles. You’ll require a heavy barbell, someone to spot you, and steely determination to get optimal results from the workout. It’s a fantastic whole body workout, building your muscles from your legs to the lats.

This exercise is similar to the t-bar row as you’ll have to engage most of your upper body muscles. Apart from the upper body muscles, the exercise also helps to build hamstrings, quads, core, and other body muscles. Having the exercise is very simple; thus, you’ll hardly miss a step or two.

How to perform the exercise

It’d be better to start by stacking the barbell with the appropriate weight before exercising.

Then stand in front of this barbell with your feet wider than the shoulder-width apart.

Bend forward gently while picking the bar using both hands.

Then pull the bar up gently until you achieve a straight standing position.

Reverse this movement now with a flat back and make several sets.

5. Chest supported rows

The chest supported row is a straightforward t-bar row alternative good for working and developing forms of some small muscles. You’ll only need a pair of dumbbells and an adjustable bench when doing the exercise. The exercise will be essential to help you develop your upper back muscles.

Notably, by lying on the adjustable bench, the exercise activates most of your upper back muscles, and lifting the dumbbells on the floor acts as a proper strength builder. This exercise helps to enhance the same results as when having the t-bar row workouts.

How to perform the exercise

Place the dumbbell on either side of your bench and lay facing down the bench. Ensure you have an upward incline when lying.

Then engage the core while contracting the upper back muscles.

Lift these weights from the ground slowly while squeezing your shoulder blades together.

6. Sled pulls

Sled pulls are an excellent alternative for the t-bar rows when you don’t have enough gym or working equipment, as you only need a sled having a handle. The workout is vital for conditioning, explosive power, and cardio endurance. Additionally, it can be an excellent option for building your upper body muscle endurance dynamically.

How to perform the exercise

Before starting, you need to have a sled pull and ensure your hands are straight and feet in front of the hips.

Then you can choose to have no weights on your sled when starting, as it helps you get used to pulling the sled.

After which, you can start adding some weight to make the pulling more challenging.

7. Cable rows

They are the simple and best alternative to the t-bar row workouts, requiring you to have a seated cable row, preferably in the gym. Its movements are similar to the rowing machine movements, and they help to focus the muscle building and strengthen the upper back muscles. The cable rows offer a different kind of resistance to the barbell thus allowing you to work your triceps, forearms, biceps, and other upper body muscles.

How to perform the exercise

When having the exercise, you have to do it while sitting on a bench.

Ensure your back is straight on this bench, then pull the handles of your cable row toward your chest.

Importantly to achieve top results, you should avoid being carried off with the cable’s momentum by keeping the back against a backrest.

However, if you lack a backrest, ensure you hunch over your shoulder to maintain having a straight back during the workout.

8. Kroc rows

You’ll need an adjustable bench and heavy dumbbells to achieve this t-bar row alternative. Most fitness experts refer to them as brutal as they are an excellent test for muscle endurance and strength. Despite having a tough challenge, the Kroc rows are the best workouts to help build muscles, gain extra strength, and act as the best benchmark for the upper back and body strength-building progress.

How to perform the exercise

Despite the tough challenge, performing these exercises is easy as you need a bench and dumbbells.

While resting one arm, stand on a raised bench and use the other hand to grip the heavy dumbbell.

Similar to the bent-over row workout, row the dumbbell while being bringing it up to the chest level

After reaching the chest level, gently reverse the movement.

To ensure your safety, start the exercise with some reps or demos and increase the intensity and volume to continue with more weight if you still feel strong.

9. V-pull down

The V-pull down is one of the most popular, effective, and old-school upper muscle workouts. It’s one of the appropriate t-bar alternatives targeting the trapezius, teres major, Latissimus, and other upper body muscles. You’ll only need a lat pulldown machine, v grip bar, and handle to finish the workout effectively.

How to perform the exercise

You’ll need to attach the v grip handle to the lat pulldown machine when having this workout.

Then sit down, and hold the v-bar handle.

Gently, pull the shoulders downwards and backward and ensure you lift the weights.

Bring down your hands until you touch your chest, then let them back slowly.

Remember when having the workout, your elbows should be facing downwards and inwards, and avoid lifting your butt from the seat.

Lastly, for an effective workout and optimal results, ensure you tuck in your neck and avoid bending your back while pulling.

Wrapping Up

T-bar rows are the best strength and fitness workouts important for building your upper body muscles and enhancing resilience. They are popular exercises you can have in most gyms and fitness centers. When having the exercises, you need a dumbbell, the t-bar, and the appropriate weight to achieve the optimal results.

Due to the numerous advantages of the t-bar rows exercises, it’ll be imperative to consider the proper alternatives if you can’t perform the workout. The workouts should engage most of your upper body and back muscles to achieve results similar to the t-bars. The above highlights the appropriate t-bar row alternatives you can choose to build your upper body muscles and enhance your strength.