Barbell Row VS Inverted Row, Which One Reigns Supreme?


In the bodybuilding community it’s been considered conventional wisdom that the barbell row is the go to mass building back exercise. By overloading the lats with the most weight, it builds the size and strength that wins competitions. Don’t believe us, ask Phil Heath. But the thing about conventional wisdom, is that it needs to be tested, and this theory is no exception.

barbell row

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New Theory

Since the barbell row gives you gains by having you lift a weighted bar, could the inverted row be just as good by having you pull yourself to the bar? Only time will tell.

inverted row

Drumroll please…

Researchers compared the muscle activity of the lats during both types of rows. Lat muscle activity during the inverted row was about 60% greater than during the barbell row, which means it stimulated more muscle fibers to grow bigger. The scientists also reported that the inverted row didn’t stress the lower back as much as the barbell bent-over row. Builders with back pain rejoice!

Winner: The inverted row


While the inverted row did activate more muscle fibers, it still doesn’t mean that the barbell row doesn’t produce more mass. Don’t believe us? just look at the physique of someone who regularly does barbell rows as opposed to someone who regularly does inverted. The person who does barbell rows will almost always have the bigger back. What’s the solution? Why choose. Incorporate both exercise in your workout. This will provide you with maximum muscle activation as well as massive size that will have you looking like a beast in no time.

Still not sure how to tackle these exercises. Check out the videos below for a step by step breakdown.

Steal both of these awesome exercises for a killer back. Let us know what you think!

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