I just started doing the Strong-lifts program this week, and while researching the correct movement for each exercise I got a little confused with the barbell row. in some videos I saw it being done with an underhand grip, and in others with an overhand grip. Is there a difference between the grips? If there is, then which one is recommended to do in order to get the best results from the Strong-lifts program?

3 Answers 3


I do barbell rows overhand, like exrx recommends and like Arnold does and like this StrongLifts-doing guy does. I think underhand would turn them into curls when they're challenging.

StrongLifts specifically recommends against the underhand grip.

  • 1
    NOTE: there are training reasons to use an underhanded grip for both rows and bench press--typically, these are for guys who have been training for a while and know what kinds of adaptations each allows. Commented May 21, 2014 at 21:34

Underhand grip allows more bicep and lat activation and also allows up to one-third more weight compared to overhand... BUT the most important thing is how either grip feels to YOU. You'll have some people tell you that you SHOULD do them one way or the other, but that is based on THEIR biomechanics. YOU need to do both exercises for about 3 months regularly each, and only then will you know which grip-over or under-is right for YOU.

  • "allows up to one-third more weight compared to overhand" - That's interesting. Where did you get that information?
    – Alec
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 7:30

I am glad that you are venturing into the world of barbell rows. They are a great row in my opinion. To address your question, I have to go with the overhand grip.

To support my answer, I recommend taking a look at the video presented in this article The Bent Over Barbell Row.

You'll notice that during the bent over barbell row you lean over the bar and lift up, so using an overhand grip gives you a sturdier hold and a better angle to lift upwards.

I hope this helps you- Neil Cook

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