Barbell Row VariationsYates Rows

Yates Rows are Barbell Rows with an upright torso and underhand grip. The weight hangs in the air and doesn’t return to the floor until your set is over. Your torso is 45° incline instead of horizontal. The bar touches your body lower, on your belly. Your grip is narrower with your elbows close to your body. Most people do it because that’s what all the bodybuilding magazines and websites teach.

Yates Rows are named after the bodybuilding champion Dorian Yates. He won the Mr Olympia 5x and was known for his back development. Dorian Yates used Yates Rows to emphasize his “lower lats”. He stopped doing it with an underhand grip after tearing his left biceps. He uses a normal grip instead of the reverse grip. Yates Rows is not recommend.

Targeting the “lower lats” is a waste of time. Your lattissimus dorsi is one muscle that runs from your arm to your lower back. How low it attaches to your spine depends on your genetics. Backs with high lats look smaller just like high calves like mine look smaller. Yates Rows can’t change your lat attachments, and also can’t turn tendons into muscle. The only thing you can do is increase the size of lat muscles as a whole.

Yates Rows are stressful on your lower back. Your torso stays incline the whole set. Your lower back must stay neutral to avoid compression of your spinal discs. If your trunk muscles get tired mid-set, your spine will bend. This can cause injury. Barbell Rows are safer because each rep starts on the floor. Your lower back gets a break between reps. And you can set it neutral and tight to avoid lower back rounding on your next rep.

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