Kettlebell rows

Kettlebell Rows → NR. 1 Mistake Made With Bent-over Rows


There is a reoccurring mistake I see made when doing kettlebell bent-over rows, and it means that the target muscles are not isolated/worked.


Rows are a pulling exercise and are supposed to work the back. With kettlebells you also 100% involve the core and legs with each variation. Unlike machines there is nothing to hold you up, lean against or sit in, thus you need to hold yourself up.


The odd thing about this exercise is that the range feels very short, but this is just a feeling, however, that feeling will cause a lot of people to pull the kettlebell up too far —don’t over exaggerate the range by pulling it up too far—, your elbows should just come past your ribs and that’s enough, If you’re a coach, then you’ll want to provide a cue for your clients at which point to stop. But that’s not it, the Nr. 1 mistake is further down below.


Kettlebell Row Variations

The degrees refer to the angle between the elbow and ribs.

Renegade rows
Double-arm, dead

Bent-over rows wide (90°)
Single-arm or double-arm, dead or hang

Bent-over rows hybrid (45°)
Single-arm or double-arm, dead or hang

Bent-over rows narrow (0°)
Single-arm or double-arm, dead or hang

For the bent-over rows, you can hip hinge with bent knees or locked-out knees.

Squat rows
Single-arm or double-arm, dead or hang

Long lunge rows
Single-arm, dead or hang


Nr.1 Mistake Made With Kettlebell Rows

Let’s talk about the Nr. 1 mistake I see made the most with the kettlebell row. If you want to see it, watch my video here at 5:12, plus you can see it in action in this video. First things first, kettlebell rows are designed to target the back, the rear delts and rhomboids. A big mistake is made when the biceps get a workout rather than the target muscles, I should say that this is not a problem if you were planning to work your biceps!


Muscles worked with rows

  • Deltoid (posterior head)
  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Teres major
  • Rhomboids
  • Triceps brachii (long head)
  • Pectoralis major
  • Erector spinae
  • Trapezius
  • Other core muscles

The muscles worked will vary depending on the row variation.

Now you know you can also work your biceps with rows when you do them incorrectly.


Wide works more the rhomboids and rear delts

Narrow works more the tricep and rear delts

Renegade rows works more the triceps, rear delts, lats and core

Long lunge rows works more the triceps, rear delts, and quads

Squat rows works more the triceps, rear delts, and quads

A dead row is a longer range but provides a break to the muscles

A hang row is a shorter range but keeps tension on the muscles

You can do a long lunge row while resting the forearm arm on the knee, or resting the extended arm on the kettlebell. The later provides more stability.

The bent-over row single kettlebell double-arm is the easiest version of all rows.



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