Build Power with Pendlay Rows

So you’ve been training for a while now, things are going well but that back just isn’t getting any bigger. Not only that, but you aren’t really getting much stronger… Then you need to be doing the Pendlay Row! These are one of the most efficient exercises for building a bigger, stronger and more powerful back.

Developed by Glenn Pendlay, a US weightlifting coach who has produced over 90 national weightlifting champions, this lift has some serious weight behind it (get it?). If you’ve ever browsed any bodybuilding article or video, you will almost certainly be used to performing the “normal” bent over row. In this case you bent over a little and keep the weight off the floor. The weight barely moves but is good for building size. However, if you want to look as strong as you look, you need to be doing the Pendlay row.

How to do it

  1. Stand over the bar as you would with the deadlift, but a few inches further away from you.
  2. Bend your knees and push your hips back. Your back needs to be perpendicular to the floor (90 degrees)
  3. Grab the bar at least shoulder width apart, but anywhere that comfortable.
  4. Rip the bar off the ground. Try not to move your hips.
  5. Rest the bar on the floor.
  6. One rep complete.

This is a video from Glenn Pendlay’s YouTube Channel:

In summary

  • Pendlay rows are superior to bodybuilding rows for strength and power.
  • It was developed by one of the most successful US weightlifting coaches.
  • Easier on your lower back as you rest it on the floor after a rep.
  • This also carries over very well to your deadlift
  • Who doesn’t want a V-taper?


Remember to check out our other muscle building articles here. Let’s build some serious muscle!

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How to build big arms

If you were to look at anyone with an enviable physique, one of their stand-out features would almost certainly be their arms: be that male or female. Something about owning a thick and defined pair of biceps gives someone a distinct presence when they enter the room. If they were easy for everyone to achieve then they wouldn’t have this affect. So how exactly do you build big arms?

Scrap “Arms Day”

One of the hardest things for a new lifter to understand, is that however impressive the biceps and triceps may look, they are not major muscle groups. These include the likes of the back, glutes, hamstrings, pectorals and quadriceps. To dedicate a whole day to arms does two things.

  1. It takes the priority away from the major muscle groups that have a greater impact to your overall physique.
  2. It impacts the training of the pectorals, shoulder or back. As weaker muscles give out first in compound movements, it will reduce the amount of weight that you can lift due to the arms recovering, which in turn impacts the muscle you can build in those areas.

Do heavy compound movements

We at EHF are massive advocators of lifting heavy in order to maximize muscle (and strength) gains for natural lifters. When you complete a workout consisting of heavy bench press or heavy rows, your arms are working hard to help you complete your lifts. Rows may target your back, but you couldn’t lift the weight without the help of your biceps and the same for the bench press and your triceps: they’re synergistic. Basically your arms are getting a tough workout without you even focusing on them.

Finish off a workout with isolation exercises

Just after completing a serious chest or shoulder session is a perfect time time to hit your triceps with isolation exercises. They are already tired from moving the heavy weight around, so targeting them in isolation will speed up their muscle development. The same goes for your biceps. You ideally want to hit one or two exercises for around 10-12 reps, for a total of 4-6 sets. This rep/set scheme is fantastic for hypertrophy and the weight will be light enough that you can still lift it.

An example workout for the bench press and triceps would be as follows:

  • Bench Press – 3×3
  • Incline Press – 4×6
  • Floor Press – 4×8
  • Cable Flies – 4×10
  • Overhead Tricep Extension – 4×10


We look forward to seeing streets filled with some sizable arms when summer (finally) comes around!

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