Hammer Bent-Over Row

Hammer Bent-Over Row

The hammer bent-over row is an exercise that can help you get that perfect V-shape and add width to your upper body.

It is meant to help broaden and strengthen your back while also improving posture. It can also help minimize your chance of injury and significantly improve your core strength.

Do’s and Don’ts of the Hammer Bent-Over Row

What to Do

  1. Grab one dumbbell in each hand using a typical overhand grip.
  2. Bend forward at the waist. Your chest should be leaning forward so that it is over your feet.
  3. Your knees should be bent, and your feet should be shoulder length apart.
  4. Fully extend your arms down so that the dumbells are leveled with the middle of your shin. Your palms should be facing your body and not out.
  5. Now row the dumbbells back up, so they are on either side of your stomach. Then, in a controlled fashion, lower them back down to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for your chosen number of reps and sets.

What Not to Do

  • Don’t rely on your arms or shoulders during this exercise. By focusing on these two groups instead of your middle back, you could get injured but also are entirely missing the point of the exercise.
  • Make sure that you are starting off with lower weights. Then, build up when you get the form down. It is vital that, when pushing yourself to lift heavier weights, you are still maintaining proper form.
  • Do not do this exercise if you have previously existing back pain or injuries. This exercise could irritate them.
  • Make sure that your back is straight and not bent. This may be one of the most critical points. A bent back can lead to strain and even injury. If you aren’t sure if you are bending your back, consider asking a friend to watch you and call you out if it starts to cave in.

Hammer Time

To warm-up for this exercise, it is necessary to make sure that your back, neck, and arms are all adequately stretched out. If they are not, it could cause severe injury. 

To stretch out your back, consider doing a seated twist. For the seated twist, sit on the floor and cross your legs. Sit tall with your shoulder blades pulled down and together. Twist to one side while placing the opposite hand on the outside of the knee. This should give you a decent stretch in the middle and lower back. Hold this for about 30 seconds.

There are many variations for how this exercise can be done to target different muscles or avoid putting as much stress on the back. For instance, if you are looking to focus on the lats instead, try using an overhand grip and a barbell. If you use an underhand grip and a barbell, you can focus more on the middle back.

Some other alternatives involve using kettlebells or even bands. Using bands instead of weights with this position can be used for those who are looking to rehabilitate their back or are in physical therapy for back or neck pain.

This exercise is extremely important because having a healthy back is necessary to exercise and everyday function. Through this exercise, you’ll also be improving your ability to do squats and deadlifts. By strengthening your back in this way, you’ll have the symmetry and support to balance the muscles in the front of your body and reduce the risk of injury.


The hammer bent-over row is a highly recommended exercise meant to balance out your body. It can help give you a more athletic and even shape and give your back the strength it needs to support your muscle gains in the front as well.

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