Pendlay Row Video Guide

Exercise Profile

  • Strength
  • Barbell
  • Compound
  • Pull (Bilateral)
  • Intermediate
  • Abs, Biceps, Lats, Lower Back, Shoulders
Upper Back Exercises Diagram Target Muscle Group

Pendlay Row Overview

The Pendlay row is a variation of the bent over row and an exercise used to build strength in the muscles of the upper back.

The main difference between a Pendlay row and other rowing variations is the Pendlay row involves coming to a complete dead stop during the movement. This dead stop allows the lifter to train power and explosiveness as s/he contracts the back to bring the weight to their body.

Pendlay Row Instructions

  1. Position the bar directly in front of your shins and hinge forward until your torso is roughly parallel with the floor (or slightly above).
  2. Grasp the bar with a double overhand grip and begin the movement by driving the elbows explosively behind the body while retracting the shoulder blades.
  3. Pull the bar towards your belly button until it touches your body and then slowly lower the bar back to the starting position under control.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Pendlay Row Tips

  1. Experiment with head position and see which option (looking forward vs. packing the neck) works better for you.
  2. Keep some tone through your abdominals as you pull the bar into your body to ensure you don’t arch excessively through your spine.
  3. Focus on bar speed, the idea is to be as explosive as possible.
  4. If you aren’t able to use 45lb plates on either side of the bar when performing this exercise, utilize the deadstop rack row.
  5. Don’t allow the head to jut forward as you pull.
  6. Similarly, ensure the shoulder blade moves on the rib cage. Don’t lock the shoulder blade down and just move through the glenohumeral joint.