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Barbell Barbell Row assistance lifts

Michael Brian Turner

Level 3 Valued Member
Hello, I treat the barbell row as a main lift and im wanting to know what are good assistance exercises I can do with a barbell to compliment it? I normally do 1 main lift plus 1 accessory to compliment it and get more volume.

I understand that barbell rows are considered an accessory already but my view is different lol

I'm not sure which would have better carry over

Facepull for example


Level 6 Valued Member
I would probably just do pull-ups... But you could also do cleans or landmine rows (a Meadow's favorite). You could also just add a tempo to it, or change the angle.


Level 6 Valued Member
Dumbbell or Kettlebell chest supported rows. It takes your lower back out of the equation and allows you to get a deeper ROM. You can alternate the one and two handed versions.

Face pulls are good too, so are heavy double KB front rack carries. Hand over hand sled pulls with a rope are good if you are having elbow or wrist issues.

Tony Gracia

Level 6 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
A couple thoughts:

1) Like any primary lift, instead of blindly saying "what assistance exercises" it is probably helpful to breakdown the main lift into component parts and figure out what is the weakest link in the chain. For a barbell row it could be a variety of things ... grip, lats / rowing strength, biceps / arm assistance, core strength / ability to maintain desirable spine position, or even hamstrings since they contribute to holding position. Figure out what is your weakest link (or two) and then you'll have a more useful starting point to determine your assistance work.

2) I also think there is a lot of benefit to training lifts both bilaterally and unilaterally (as long as there is a reasonable way to do so). There are many excellent one arm row variations, so I'd put a vote in for including something in that category.
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