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December 20, 2021
There are several single-arm row variations but none like the Meadows row. The Meadows row allows you to go hard and heavy to help strengthen imbalances between sides. Moreover, it allows you to hit your back and arms from a different angle and through a different range of motion, leading to greater development of your muscles.
For a quick bit of background information, the Meadows row is a variation invented by former IFBB bodybuilder, and head coach of Mountain Dog training John Meadows (hence the name of this exercise). Using a landmine set up, John Meadows came up with a row that trains the upper back and lower lats through a greater range of motion.
Here we will go into what the Meadows row is, how to do it, muscles worked, benefits, how to program it into your workout routine, and some good alternatives.
Let’s make John proud by doing this row right.
The Meadows row is a single-arm horizontal row performed with a landmine set up, overhand grip, and a staggered stance (although you can also use a bilateral hip-hinged stance). The angle of the landmine and gripping of the fat end of the barbell will help reduce shoulder joint stress while maximizing shoulder, upper back, and lat tension. Staggering your stance with a slight incline of the back allows you to train your upper back and those hard-to-reach lower lats.
Like other supported row variations, the Meadows row allows you to potentially use more weight because of the staggered stance and supporting of your torso on your leg. This is not a strictly performed row like the Seal row. You can use a little momentum to lift when you’re getting tired to maximize strength and hypertrophy.
However, unlike other row variations, you have to work harder to grip the end of the barbell. This further strengthens your grip, forearms, and shoulder stability. Because when you’re gripping, your rotator cuff is activated for better shoulder stability. But if your grip gives out before your back does, then wrist straps can be used.
There are many variations of landmine rows and the Meadows Row is a great variation that targets the upper back and lats through a large ROM. Here are a few things to watch out for to get the best out of this lift:
The Meadows row is mostly an upper-body exercise. But, because you’re lifting one side at a time and hinged over, this exercise challenges the lower body and core too. Here are the main muscles trained by the Meadows Row:
Keeping the upper back and lats strong and mobile makes sure you look good but plays an important role in your performance in and out of the gym too. Here are a few important benefits of training your upper back and lats.
This exercise is geared towards strengthening imbalances between sides and upper back and lat hypertrophy Here are a few considerations to programming the Meadows Row.
Because of the landmine set up and gripping the fat end of the barbell this lift allows you to go hard and heavy while not putting too much stress on the shoulder joint. But because you’re in the hinge position it does stress the lower back and hamstrings. Plus, you’re working hard to grip the barbell. These two things must be considered when deciding how often you perform the Meadows row.
This is best performed one to three times a week along with other row variations.
Volume and frequency go hand-in-hand and there are a few considerations when deciding how much you should Meadows row.
The first is how much do you squat and deadlift. Because you’re in the hinge position lower back strength and endurance play a part. If your back is tired or you have any low back pain, it’s better to cut down on Meadows row volume.
Plus, you’re grip strength might be limited if you're performing exercises that require grip strength like deadlifts and other row variations. Better to play around with volume from training to training depending on what exercises you’re doing and how you are feeling.
SETS PER WEEK:
Each training is not performed in a vacuüm and what exercises you’re performing and how you are recovering between sessions play a huge part in how much you’ll lift with the Meadows row. When it comes to pulling exercises like the Meadows row it pays to pull more than you push for better posture and shoulder health.
If you’re doing 10-15 sets of pushing exercises per week it pays to almost double the amount of pulling exercises you do. If that sounds like you, performing 20-30 sets of pulling exercises per week works best. Then, the Meadows row can be performed for 10-15 sets spread over two-three training sessions.
Furthermore, it pays to let your grip strength be your guide. If you’re losing your grip while performing the Meadows row better to either lighten the load or cut it short for better quality sets and reps.
Pairing this with a Landmine biceps curl will give your biceps some extra love. For example:
1A. Meadows Row 6-12 reps on each side
1B. Landmine Biceps Curl 8-12 reps on each side
...or if you’re looking for more upper body strength and size, pairing it with another low intensity upper body move works well. For example,
1A. Meadows Row 6-12 reps on each side
1B. Band Pull Apart 15-25 reps
...or if you’re in a fat loss phase pairing this with a lower-body exercise will help the heart and body work harder for increased calorie burn. For example,
1A. Meadows Row 6-12 reps on each side
1B. Landmine Goblet Squat 8-15 reps
All that said, you can also just throw in Meadows rows like you would any other big rowing variation. For example, if you train back twice a week, you could do Meadows row one session and another variation of rows the next.
Here are some small changes you can make to the Meadows row to work around some common problems.
1. No landmine attachment, No problem:
Landmine attachment are great and allow for easy setup and smooth movements from different angles. But if no landmine attachments are available wedging a barbell into a corner with a towel works well.
2. Losing grip before your back is exhausted:
If the grip is an issue either lighten the weight, perform one of the variations above or use wrist straps.
3. Stance hurts your lower back:
Not everyone feels comfortable in a hinge position while rowing. If this is happening to you either use a wider staggered stance or perform the single-leg RDL row variation above.
The beauty of the landmine is you can set it up in a variety of positions to train the mid-back, upper back and lats from various angles for better muscle development and less chance of overuse injuries to the wrist, elbow, and shoulder. Here are a few single-arm row and landmine variations.
1. BENT OVER LANDMINE ROW
This is performed two ways. You can perform it with the landmine attachment behind you or to the side like the Meadows Row. Doing so trains your upper back and lats from different angles. Plus, one might be easier on the lower back than the other.
2. SINGLE-LEG RDL ROW COMBO
Combining the hinge pattern with the row makes it more of a total body move and it allows the targeted muscles to get more work in because you’re avoiding overtaxing your low back in the bent-over position. Yes, you’ll use less weight than the Meadows row but you’ll be training more total muscle.
3. SINGLE-ARM DUMBBELL ROW
When you don’t have access to a landmine and or if all the barbells are taken, you can perform this version of the Meadows row with a dumbbell. You might not be able to go as heavy but the dumbbells allow more freedom of movement which is great if you have any elbow or lower back issues.
4. DEADSTOP ROW
The deadstop row still allows you to go heavy because the stop on the floor gives your joints a break. This gives you the potential to load up heavier than other single-arm row variations. This has one benefit over the other rows on this list. The stopping and pausing on the floor takes away the stretch reflex which makes you work hard on the concentric part of the row.
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