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Yates Row [Exercise Guide]

Yates Row

What Is A Yates Row 

Yates row is one of the best back exercises. This movement is worth practicing because it trains your back perfectly and has a minimal risk of injury. It is named after Mr. Olympia winner Dorian Yates. Very few can compete with Dorian’s incredible body. Many athletes are interested in Yates’ author techniques because they want to achieve similar results. Read on to know more about how to perform Yates row, what muscles are loaded during the exercise, the benefits of the move, and more.

What Muscles Does Yates Row Work

The exercise targets:

  • latissimus dorsi – the biggest back muscle, due to which we can adduct and extend shoulder joints;
  • rhomboids and mid traps – located between shoulder blades, they contribute to the thickness of your upper back, good posture, and balance;
  • posterior deltoids – the exercise works all three heads of deltoid muscles, but the most load is on the rear muscles;
  • biceps – these muscles of the upper arm are responsible for the shoulders and elbows flexing;
  • erector spinae – the term given to the muscles that support and expand your spine.

The main focus of the exercise is on the muscles of the back. However, it is necessary to clarify one nuance. Due to the special angle of the torso inclination, the muscles of the upper back take on maximum tension, relaxing the lower back.

How to Perform Yates Row

Step 1. Get into the starting position

Grab the barbell with an underhand (supinated) grip, standing with your legs shoulder-width apart. Maintain the same distance with your hands on the bar. Bend your knees just a bit. To keep your chest up, bring your shoulders down and back. Your spine must be neutral. The most crucial part is to lean forward without rounding your lower back. Your body should be tilted to roughly 45 degrees, and the bar – slightly above knee height.

Step 2. Row up

Row the barbell up, reaching your torso. Initiate the movement by flexing the elbows and retracting the shoulder blades. Avoid extending your back or hips. Maintain the stable position throughout the whole motion.

Step 3. Return to the start

After a little pause at the movement’s bottom, slowly return to the starting position, keeping your muscles tight.

Advantages Of A Yates Row

Stronger and wider back

The widest back muscle – latissimus dorsi – takes the maximum load. This means that practicing Yates row makes your back truly strong, wide, and powerful.

Great power building

The special angle of inclination and underhand grip create more possibilities for lifting heavy weight. If you’re interested in building strength, this exercise is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Compound exercise

Yates rows use a variety of joints and muscles in a coordinated effort. The back muscles in your neck, back, and lower spine are all worked when you do Yates rows properly. They indirectly target your glutes and hamstrings as a good posterior chain workout.

Easier on your lower back

You lean over less while practicing Yates row, which leads to less stress on your back. Try this exercise if you experience discomfort during conventional rows with a bar.

5 Yates Row Alternatives

1. Chinup

You can target many muscle groups at once with the chinup. In terms of strength building and improving general health, it’s one of the greatest bodyweight exercises.

How to do a chinup:

  • Make sure your bar is the suitable height before you begin.
  • Grab the bar with your hands facing you at a distance little more than shoulder-width.
  • Try to lift your torso as high as possible. As you begin the draw, drive your elbows into the floor.
  • Don’t let go of the tension until you’ve achieved the movement’s climax.
  • Keep your muscles in good shape as you descend.

2. Standing Barbell Row

The barbell row is an essential back-building exercise. Strengthening your shoulders, hamstrings, glutes, and spinal erectors are all among the movement’s benefits.

How to do a standing barbell row:

  • Aim to place your middle foot just under the bar. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Take a neutral hold on the bar after bending over. While releasing your knee joints, keep your hips lifted.
  • Maintain a neutral spine as you raise the bar to your ribs.
  • Straighten your arms and drop the bar as you return to the starting position.

3. Pendlay Barbell Row

Another wonderful workout for building muscle and boosting back strength is the Pendlay row. It has the power to improve your strength in both the static and concentric planes.

How to do a pendlay barbell row:

  • Use safety clips on both ends to ensure the bar is uniformly weighted.
  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your knees outside of the bar’s path by rotating them externally. Correctly bending your body requires pushing your hips back.
  • Slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, take an overhand hold on the bar. At the apex of the action, your upper and lower arms should form a 90-degree angle.
  • Row up by bringing the shoulder blades together. Make a little pause at the movement’s top.
  • Lower the bar. Once you’ve reached a dead stop pull and the bar has touched the ground, you’ve completed one rep.

4. Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown

You must use a cable machine to do the reverse grip lat pulldown. The primary goal of this workout is to strengthen the muscles in the back. An athlete’s biceps are also worked during this exercise.

How to do a reverse grip lat pulldown:

  • Set up a seated position on the lat pulldown machine with a wide grip handle. A 90-degree bend in your knees is a must.
  • Make sure your hands are shoulder-width apart while grabbing the bar in the reverse position.
  • Keep your neck and spine straight as you pull the bar up to your chest.
  • Extend your elbows as you go up. However, do not allow them to be totally unlocked.

5. Chest Supported Row

The chest-supported row targets the middle to upper back as well as the deltoids in the back. You will need dumbbells and an incline bench to practice it properly.

How to do a chest-supported row:

  • Place a bench 30 to 45 degrees off the ground to get the best angle. Get a pair of dumbbells and lay on your back.
  • Make a rowing action with your arms by raising them to your elbows. When you lift your arms, make sure your lats and midback are tight.
  • Use your elbows rather than hands while working out to get the most out of the movement.
  • Make your way back to the beginning. Avoid extending the elbows beyond your shoulders.

Yates Row vs. Barbell Row – What’s The Difference?

The main difference between these two exercises is the grip. Yates row implies using an underhand grip. This nuance affects the load distribution and exercises effect. For instance, it’s a great way to grow biceps. Also, this is a good exercise for developing larger and more powerful grips when done without lifting straps.


Yates row is an effective and safe exercise for training back muscles. Due to the underhand grip, the exercise loads the biceps. Adhering to the angle of inclination and maintaining the stable position of the body is one of the main requirements of the Yates row correct technique. There are many alternative movements for those who want to train the same muscles with or without equipment.

Additional Resources