resistance band rows

Resistance Band Rows: 17 Variations, Muscles Worked & How To

August 25, 2021

If you are looking to use resistance bands to build muscle mass in your back, banded rows are a must. In this article, we cover everything you need to know about rows (and resistance band pulling exercises in general). We discuss training variables like grip, body and load positioning and how they affect which muscles are being targeted in your back. Then we run you through 17 different variations of rows and pulls. For each of the resistance band row variations, we will tell you the primary muscles being worked and we'll give you step-by-step instructions with important cues to ensure you have good form. To cap it all off, at the end we have a couple resistance band pulling workouts for you. 

So, let’s get rowing.

resistance band rows

WHAT IS A ROW EXERCISE?

In resistance training, a row (or rowing) exercise involves a pulling motion that aims to strengthen the muscles that retract your shoulder blades and draw your arms toward your body.

The major muscles of a row are your lats, traps and rhomboid, as well as your biceps. However, many muscles are involved in rows. It is a big compound exercise...

More on the muscles worked later.

There are so many variations of rows and all types of equipment can be used, such as cable pulleys, barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, and, in the case of this article, resistance bands.

ROWS = PULLS

Rows are a pulling exercise, so they are a “pull”.

Pulldowns (i.e. lat pulldowns) and pull ups are also a pulling exercise.

Essentially, resistance exercises that involve a horizontal pulling motion are considered rows and exercises that involve a vertical pulling motion are considered pulldowns. Both types of pulling exercises aim to strengthen the back.

However, it should be noted that while both pulldowns and rows work the muscles of the back, and, of course, involve a pulling motion, they do target and emphasize muscles differently. This should be obvious since pulling horizontally and vertically places our joints in different positions.

resistance band pulling exercises

Be that as it may, even among rows and pulldowns muscles can be targeted differently. This comes down to grip positioning, load positioning, and body positioning. These are all training variables that should be applied to your training so that you can emphasize all the muscles in your back evenly and effectively. This is why so many variations of rows and pulldowns exists. They are not all redundant. They have purpose!

What’s our point explaining all of this?

Well, first, we want you to understand why we have so many variations of resistance band rows AND why we included pulldowns. This post is all about resistance band pulling exercises, and since pulldowns are essentially vertical rows, we have included them. Overall, with all of the variations of rows/pulls we have for you below, you'll be able to build well-rounded back strength and muscle mass.

CAN YOU DO ROWS WITH A RESISTANCE BAND?

Absolutely! Rows are one of the most effective exercises that you can do with resistance bands. Moreover, there are so many variations of rows that you can do. You can mimic all the same rows that you do with barbells, dumbbells, and cable machines using resistance bands. Because of that, resistance bands are probably the most versatile training tool that you can use for rowing and pulling exercises.

With resistance bands, you can do overhand, underhand and neutral grip rows. You can do single arm or bilateral rows. And, you can do rows from a standing, bent over, half-kneeling, kneeling, seated and even supine position.

Moreover, you have anchored and non anchored options. What this means is you can anchor one end of the band to an external object (like a bar) and perform your rows by standing away from the anchor and pulling the band towards you, or you can use your own body as an anchor by looping the band around your feet or simply stepping on the band. As such, you can do rows with resistance bands literally anywhere, and effectively at that.

So, whether you train at home, the gym, outside or even while traveling, resistance band rows should be implemented.

What are the best resistance bands for rows?

Both 41” loop resistance bands and resistance tubes with handles are good for rows. However, we prefer to use 41” loop resistance bands because they are more versatile. You’ll have many more options for exercises with them.

Related: 41” Loop Resistance Bands vs Resistance Tubes with Handles

If you are worried about them not having “handles” don’t be. The loops act as perfect handles.

Another very important reason why we prefer 41” loop resistance bands is that you have a much greater range of resistance, both on the low and high end.

Here are the specs for 41” loop resistance bands (which are also more durable and flexible):

#1 Yellow Band: 5 to 30 Pounds (1/2" -  41" x 0.5" x 0.18")
#2 Black Band: 20 to 55 Pounds (7/8" - 41" x 0.85" x 0.18")
#3 Blue Band: 35 to 70 Pounds (1 1/4" -  41" x 1.25" x 0.18")
#4 Green Band: 45 to 115 Pounds (1 3/4" - 41" x 1.75" x 0.18")
#5 Gray Band: 60 to 170 Pounds (2 1/2" - 41" x 2.5" x 0.18")

resistance band pulling exercises

Note: The colors of the band may differ among sellers, but the dimensions won’t. The above reference our SET FOR SET bands’ colors.

All in all, we choose 41” loop resistance bands over resistance tubes with handles all day every day. They are just more superior bands on all fronts. This is why you see them becoming way more popular than tube bands, which really are limited in functionality. You can read more about the benefits and uses of resistance bands if you are interested.

RESISTANCE BAND ROWS BENEFITS

There are many reasons why you should be doing resistance band rows, besides the obvious reason of strengthening and building muscle in your back and arms.

Let’s quickly go over some of the benefits of using resistance bands for rows, including strength and hypertrophy advantages:

  1. Variety: When it comes to strength and hypertrophy training, variety is an important factor, especially as you become more advanced. Variety means new challenges which in turn is an effective way to overload your muscles. This is essential for building muscle and strength. With bands, you’ll have unique variations of rows and ranges of motions. There are so many ways to play around with training variables with bands.
  2. Ascending Resistance: The more you stretch a band, the more the resistance will increase. This is very different from a free weight or cable pulley machine which has a consistent resistance throughout the exercises. But what how does ascending resistance help you? Well, it provides greater resistance in the range of motion when you are your strongest. Basically, bands match our natural strength curves. With that, you will get stronger through your entire range of motion.
  3. Flexible Loads: With a set of 41” loop resistance bands, you have approximately 5-200lbs of resistance, but even with just one band, you have a range of resistance. The more taut the band is from the starting position, the more resistance it will have. So, if you anchor the band and step further away, you are increasing your resistance with the same band. If you are using your feet as an anchor, you can just loop it around another time or two to increase resistance. What’s more, you can combine bands, since they are all the same length. One small and one medium band together equals the resistance of both of them combined. There’s so much to play around with in terms of load with resistance bands.
  4. Eccentric Strength: Bands promote a slow and controlled eccentric movement (which is when you lengthen your muscle, aka the negative). A lot of times with free weights, people don’t take their time on the eccentric phase of the movement. This is not good as the eccentric is actually better for building muscle and strength than the concentric (although both are important, of course).
  5. No Jerky Movements: With free weights, it’s easy to get lazy and start doing jerky, sloppy reps just to finish a set. You won’t do this with bands because of the type of tension (elastic). They will force you to perform each rep in a controlled manner. You can be explosive during your row on the concentric or slow, both will feel right and are good to do, but if you get lazy on the eccentric, the band is going to give you immediate feedback as it is going to try to snap back toward its anchor point.
  6. Portable: This is obvious. Resistance bands are way more portable than equipment like dumbbells. As such, you can get a back workout in with resistance bands anywhere.
  7. Low Impact: If you have joint issues, resistance bands are going to be far easier on your joints. You can get an effective back workout in with bands without all the extra stress on your joints and spine.

Now, let us be clear, we are not saying that you shouldn’t use dumbbells, barbells and other equipment for back exercises, but we ARE saying that bands are worthy of being placed into everyone’s routine, including advanced athletes. It’s definitely not just a beginner training tool. But, we are guessing you already know this seeing as pros (both in fitness and sports) use bands regularly.

resistance bands for rows

WHAT MUSCLES DO RESISTANCE BAND ROWS WORK?

Resistance band rows work the same muscles as rows with other equipment do as the movement mechanics are the same, which are your back muscles (i.e. your lats, traps, rhomboids), your rear delts, and your arms (specifically your biceps and forearms).

The difference with resistance band rows is in the type of tension, which is elastic tension rather than gravitational tension. Essentially, you are working the same muscles just the resistance penetrates your muscles a little differently, albeit both free weight and resistance band rows are effective for strength, hypertrophy and muscular endurance.

Related: Free Weights vs Resistance Bands

For a more in-depth look at the muscles worked, here is a list of all the muscles targeted when doing rows:

Back (Major Focus):

Arms (Secondary Focus):

  • Biceps Brachii
  • Brachialis
  • Brachiordialis (forearm)

Stabilizing Muscles:

  • Erector Spinae
  • Core Muscles
  • Deltoids
  • Triceps
  • Pectoralis Major & Minor
  • Depending on the variation, your glutes, hamstrings (legs in general).

As you can see, rows are a big compound movement.

resistance band row muscles worked

Now, it’s important to note, that not all rows are equal. Different variations will emphasize certain primary movers and secondary movers more or less.

With that, when going over all the different resistance band row variations below, we will make a clear statement of the muscles being targeted for that specific exercise.

NOTE: Vertical Pulls will hit the back muscles differently, but pretty much all the same muscles are being targeted. We will also tell you which muscles are being emphasized for the vertical pulls that we have included in our variations of resistance band rows below.

BEST REP RANGES

Even with the king of the rows, the barbell bent over row, no one is doing 1 rep maxes. It is simply not an exercise where you do a one rep max, like you would with deadlifts, squats, bench press and overhead press. Basically this is because there’s no way to do a clean 1rm with rows. Your form would be too sloppy. With the big 4 (deadlifts, squats, bench press, OHP), you can do 1 clean rep with a max load to test absolute strength.

With all that said, strength training can involve lower reps with bent over rows, such as 3-5 reps, and it is effective. However, since we are using resistance bands, we won’t be going that low.

With resistance band rows, you will want to work in the 5-15 rep range.

Yes, this is a wide range, but it depends on what the exercise you are doing is, how heavy of a band you are using, and what’s your goal.

We are going to tell you the best rep range for each exercise, but just to simplify things, here are the rep range goals for resistance band rows.

  • Strength: 5-8 reps
  • Hypertrophy: 8-12 reps
  • Endurance: 12-15+ reps (yes, you can go over 15 reps)

Obviously, none of these rep ranges matter without speaking about load, so, again, to keep things simple, you will want a resistance level that challenges you in these rep ranges, which means brings you to failure or close to failure within the given range.

We recommend that you work through all rep ranges. You can do this by doing strength days, hypertrophy days, and endurance days or having various sets in your workout that work you through the different rep ranges.

i.e.:

  • Warm Up Sets
  • Set 1: 5 reps
  • Set 2: 6 reps
  • Set 3: 8 reps
  • Set 4: 10 reps
  • Set 5: 12 reps

Just to be clear, it’s not like you won’t build strength in a higher rep range, because you will. The same is true for hypertrophy, you can build muscle in lower rep ranges. AND, the same is true with endurance too, you will build some muscular endurance in the hypertrophy range. It’s just that the main focus of the rep ranges will be either to build strength, size or endurance.

With all that said, let’s not think too much about all this here, especially if you are a beginner. All you have to do is play around with your sets and the resistance level. Don’t just always use the same number of sets, reps, and resistance level. It’s hard to have linear progression with resistance bands because you can't exactly measure the resistance, so your best bet is to play around with these and other training variables.

WHAT SIZE RESISTANCE BAND FOR ROWS?

It’s going to depend on what variation of resistance band row you are doing and what rep range you are working in. Ideally, you will want to have at least a set of 41” loop resistance bands that has the 0.5”, 0.85”, and 1.25” width bands, which will give you 10-100+ pounds of resistance. Even better if you get the 1.75” width band too as that will be useful for rows, at least for most men.

All in all, you will find all of the 0.5-1.75” bands useful for resistance band rows. It will allow you to do all the variations effectively and play around with both strength and hypertrophy rep ranges.

Note: Some row exercises will be super challenging even with just the smallest (0.5” width) resistance band while other row exercises will be too easy with the smallest, so it’s best if you buy a set or a few different sizes.

Remember, you can combine bands together (as they are all the same length and thickness, just the width is different and thus resistance).

So, let’s say you have a 0.5” and 0.85” band and you combine them for an exercise, you’d essentially be using a 1.35” band.

Women: We recommend getting at least a 0.5” and 0.85” band, and if you can the 1.25” as well.

Men: We recommend getting a 0.5”, 0.85”, 1.25”, and 1.75” band, but if you are a true beginner, you can probably skip out on the last on and get it later on if needed.

Buy Resistance bands from SET FOR SET

resistance band pulling exercises

Related: What size resistance band should I buy?

HOW DO YOU DO BANDED ROWS?

There are many ways to do a resistance band row as there are a plethora of variations. All the different variations play around with different training variables.

The two main training variables are:

  • Body positioning: supine, seated, kneeling, standing, or bent over resistance band rows.
  • Grip: neutral, overhand, underhand resistance band rows

You can combine body positioning with grip, so the total number of variables is a lot (for examples, seated neutral grip, seated overhand, seated underhand).

What’s more, you can also add in unilateral and bilateral variations, which takes the number of variations up even more!

Rather than explain how to do one type of banded row, such as seated rows or bent over rows, we are going to teach you how to do 17 of the best resistance band rows, all of which use these different training variables.

For each variation of the banded rows we go over, we will explain the muscles worked and exactly how to do them with step by step instructions and cues. 

17 RESISTANCE BAND ROW AND PULL EXERCISES


17 RESISTANCE BAND ROW VARIATIONS:

1. Bent Over Rows (0:06)
2. Bent Over Alt Rows (
0:15)
3. Kroc Rows (aka Single Arm Rows) (
0:25)
4. Upright Rows (
0:41)
5. Seated Neutral-Grip Row (anchored) (
0:52)
6. Seated Single Arm Row (anchored) (
1:07)
7. Seated Lat Pulldown (anchored) (
1:17)
8. Seated Close-Grip Pulldown (anchored) (
1:33)
9. Seated Single Arm Lat Pulldown (anchored) (
1:47)
10. Half-Kneeling High Row (anchored) (
1:58)
11. 
Half-Kneeling Twisting High Row (anchored(2:07)
12. Half-Kneeling Face Pull (anchored) (2:22)
13. Bent Over Lat Pushdown (anchored) (
2:32)
14. Standing Neutral-Grip Rows (anchored) (
2:47)
15. Standing Alt Rows with Twist (anchored) (
3:02)
16. Standing Neutral-Grip Low Rows (anchored) (
3:12)
17. Standing Underhand Rows (anchored) (
3:22)

Below we have the muscles worked and step-by-step instructions for all of the resistance band rows in the video above. After we go through each of them, we will give you some sample resistance band pulling workouts, using these resistance band back exercises...

1. Bent Over Neutral Grip Rows

resistance band bent over row

This variation has you in the bent over position, which automatically activates your spinal erectors, glutes and hamstrings, making the row and greater compound exercise.

With the neutral grip, your elbows will be more tucked. This places maximum activation on your lats. Your biceps will also have greater activation because they will be moving through a greater range of motion. With this grip and positioning, you will also get good activation for your rhomboids and mid traps. 

How to:

  1. Step onto the band and grab each loop like it’s a handle.
  2. Hold the band with your palms facing in (neutral grip).
  3. Perform a hip hinge and get into the bent over position. Your spine should be straight with your hips shooting back.
  4. Perform a row while keeping your elbows close to your body. Bring your elbows up as far as you can. Your hands should come up just near the sides of your core.
  5. Squeeze at the top and then slowly low your arms back down to full extension.
  6. Repeat for desired reps.

Note:

  • You can use an overhand grip with bent over resistance band rows, which will place more emphasis on your rear delts, rhomboids and middle/upper traps (upper middle back).
  • You can also do an underhand grip, which is very similar to the neutral grip both in terms of muscles worked and elbow positioning. This will place more emphasis on your arms and outer back rather than the middle and center of your back like an overhand grip does.

2. Bent Over Alternating Rows

rows with resistance bands

This banded row variation will work the same muscles as the previous variation as you will be performing the row through the same movement pattern using the same grip. The difference is that with the alternating movement, you will have more activation of your core to maintain stability and keep your torso and hips squared forward. Furthermore, with the alternating rows, you can iron out muscle imbalances as the focus will be on just one side at a time. To top it all off, your sets will be longer, which means more calories burned!

How to:

  1. Step onto the band and grab each loop like it’s a handle.
  2. Hold the band with your palms facing in (neutral grip).
  3. Perform a hip hinge and get into the bent over position. Your spine should be straight with your hips shooting back.
  4. Perform a row with your left arm, leaving your right arm extended in the starting position. As you row your left arm, be sure to keep your elbow close to your body. Bring your elbow up as far as you can. Your hand should come up just near the sides of your core.
  5. Slowly lower your left arm down and once it reaches full extension, perform the row on your right side.
  6. Repeat in an alternating fashion for your desired reps.

3. Kroc Rows (aka single arm rows)

single arm resistance band row

While Kroc rows generally refer to single arm dumbbell rows from a split stance position or with one knee on a bench and the other behind on the ground, this banded single arm row is essentially the same thing.

The resistance band Kroc row works a lot of muscles, not just your back. Your delts, biceps, forearms, low back and obliques will get some great activation.

That said, the primary emphasis is on your lats, biceps, rear delts, traps and core.

How to:

  1. Place the band under your right foot and grab one end by its loop with your left hand. The less slack you give yourself from the start, the harder it’ll be.
  2. Step your left foot back so you make a wide split stance.
  3. Shoot your hips back a little to ensure your spine is straight. Push your chest up.
  4. With your left arm extended down, row the band so your elbow comes back behind you while keeping close your sides. Keep your shoulders down and scapula depressed as you row back. You don’t want your elbow to come straight up, you want it to be low and back.
  5. Bring your elbow as far back as you comfortably can, and then slowly bring it back down to full extension.
  6. Repeat for desired reps and then switch sides.

4. Upright Rows

resistance band upright row

The upright row with a resistance band is arguably better than a dumbbell or barbell upright row. It’s a lot easier on your shoulder joint as you have flexibility in your grip to spread the band at the top. The further your hands are apart at the top, the easier it will be on your shoulders.

As for muscles worked, the banded upright row effectively targets your front, middle and rear delts, as well as your upper trapezius, rhomboids, and even biceps.

How to:

  1. Step through the band and spread your feet about 1.5x shoulder width apart.
  2. Grab the band with your hands in an overhand grip. You can position them closer together or a little wider (whichever feels more comfortable for you when performing the row).
  3. Row the band up to about neck level. As you do this, your elbows should come up and out so that they are in line with your shoulders and your upper arm is parallel with the floor.
  4. Slowly slower the band back down till your arms are fully extended near your hips and then repeat for desired reps.

5. Seated Neutral-Grip Row (anchored)

seated resistance band row

The seated neutral grip allows you to take your legs out of the equation, placing all your focus on your upper body. With this variation, using a neutral grip, you will be emphasizing your teres major/minor, rhomboids, and middle traps as well as your lats and biceps.

How to:

  1. Anchor the band to a low point so that when you sit down on the floor the band is at about upper ab level and parallel with the floor.
  2. The band will be anchored at its middle so you can grab each looped end with your hands like its a handle. Hold the loops with a neutral grip.
  3. Without raising your shoulders up, row the band back until your elbows shoot behind you and your hands are almost near the side of your chest. Keep your elbows close to your side throughout the movement.
  4. Hold the end position and squeeze your back and arms, then very slowly return your arms to full extension out in front of you.
  5. Repeat for desired reps.

6. Seated Single Arm Neutral-Grip Row (anchored)

how to do a resistance band row

This resistance band row variation is essentially the same as the previous exercise. However, since you are using one arm at a time, you have the added core factor. Moreover, when holding the band with both loops in your hands as seen in the video, you are virtually doubling the resistance.

How to:

  1. Anchor the band to a low point so that when you sit down on the floor the band is at about upper ab level and parallel with the floor.
  2. The band will be anchored at its middle so you will grab both looped ends in one hand (i.e. left hand to start).
  3. With your elbows in full extension and your back upright, row the band back while keeping your torso squared forward at all times. Also, try not to flare your elbow.
  4. When your elbow reaches behind you, squeeze, then slowly return to full extension.
  5. Repeat for desired reps on one side, then do another set on the opposite side.

7. Seated Lat Pulldown (anchored)

resistance band lat pulldown

While this is technically a pull down and not a “row”, rows and pulldowns are the same, just a row is a horizontal pull and a pull down is a vertical row.

As you are pulling down from a high anchor point with an overhand grip, the emphasis will be on your lats and lower traps. Your biceps and forearms will also get good activation.

We recommend using a little heavier of a band for this one.

How to:

  1. Using a high anchor point, grab the band with one side’s loop in each hand using an overhand grip.
  2. Sit down on the floor and position your body so your arms are full extended above and slightly in front of you. Your front delt should be near your upper jaw/earlobe.
  3. Depress your shoulder blades and pull down with focus on your lats. Essentially your lats do the work first and your arms second.
  4. Your elbows will be out at your sides at about 45-70˚.
  5. Pull all the way down until your elbows are down behind you at your side. Really feel that contraction in your lower traps and lats.
  6. Slowly return your arms back up to full elbow extension, then repeat for desired reps. 

8. Seated Close Grip Pulldown (anchored)

resistance band row variations

This lat pull down involves a close, neutral grip. With that, you get more activation of your biceps, rhomboids, teres major, teres minor, and infraspinatus, in addition to your lats and lower traps. Even your upper chest will get some good activation with this exercise.

How to:

  1. Anchor the band a little higher than the previous pulldown if you can. Ideally you want your arms to be even more straight up above you, yet still very slightly toward the front. Your front delt will be right next to your ear.
  2. With your arms in full extension (nice stretch in your lats, shoulders, and arms), depress your shoulder blades as you pull down. Keep your elbows tucked in as your pull down.
  3. When your elbows are down at your side and slightly behind you (hands at about chest level), contraction and hold for a second, then slowly return your arms up overhead to full extension.
  4. Repeat for desired reps.

9. Seated Single Arm Neutral-Grip Lat Pulldown (anchored)

seated banded rows

While this resistance band pull variation may seem similar to the previous exercise, there are some more notable differences than just using one arm. Your arm will be out to the side more, with the anchor point in line with your working sides shoulder rather than your centerline. With that, you will have more activation of the lats, as well as your teres major and minor. Of course, your lower traps, rear delts, and biceps will also have good activation.

How to:

  1. Anchor the band above you and in line with your working side’s shoulder.
  2. From a seated position with your legs extended in front of you, pull the band down until your elbow is tucked to your side.
  3. Squeeze and hold for a second then slowly return your arms to full elbow extension.
  4. Repeat for desired reps on one side, then do another set on the opposite side. 

10. Half-Kneeling High Rows (anchored)

rows with bands

This row variation is what is called a high row as you will be rowing to your upper chest with your elbows at almost 90˚. This will place emphasis on your upper back, so your rhomboids and chest, as well as your rear delts and teres major.

As you are in a half-kneeling position, you will also have core and glute activation to maintain stability.

How to:

  1. Anchor the band to a high point so that when you get into the half kneeling position, the anchor point is a couple feet above your head.
  2. Grab the band with an overhand grip and bring your arms to full elbow extension. Your hands will be at around eye level when your arms are extended in front of you.
  3. Row the band to about upper chest/lower neck level. Keep your elbows up as you row back, but not above shoulder level.
  4. When the band about touches your clavicle, slowly return your arms to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for desired reps.

11. Half-Kneeling Twisting High Row (anchored)

resistance band rowing

The twisting row is great because it involves rotation, which is great for your core and obliques and building strength through the transverse plane, but also it allows you to maximize range of motion in your row. Essentially, you are exaggerating the row and getting the most possible contraction and stretch with each repetition.

So, all together, the muscles worked with this exercise are your lats, rhomboids, traps, and all the other smaller muscles of your back, as well as your biceps, obliques, abs and erector spinae.

As you are in a half-kneeling position, your glutes and forward leg will also be activated to maintain stability.

Since you are using a high anchor point, hence the name twisting “high row”, you will also get more activation in your lower traps than your would with a mid-point anchor since some shoulder depression is involved.

How to:

  1. Anchor the band to a high point so that when you get into the half kneeling position, the anchor point is a couple feet above your head.
  2. Grab the band with one hand using a neutral grip and bring your arms to full elbow extension. Position your body so the band is shooting down in line with your working side’s shoulder and your forward leg (your half kneeling position should have your forward knee on the same side as your working arm). Your hands will be at around eye level when your arm is fully extended in front of you.
  3. Row the band so your elbow comes down and to your side. When it reaches your side start to rotate your chest in that direction until you reach the end range of motion. Your hips will remain squared forward at all times, the rotation is purely in your torso. 
  4. Slowly return back through the same path of motion. When your arm reaches full extension, repeat for desired reps and then do another set on the opposite side.

12. Half-Kneeling Face Pull (anchored)

resistance band face pull

If you though the high row was high, the face pull row is even higher...to your face...hence the name.

The face pull will target your rear delts, lower traps, mid traps, infraspinatus and teres major.

Again, as you are in a half-kneeling position, your core, glutes and legs will work to stabilize and keep your torso and hips square forward.

How to:

  1. Anchor the band to a high point so that when you get into the half kneeling position, the anchor point is a couple feet above your head.
  2. Grab the band with an overhand grip and bring your arms to full elbow extension. Your hands will be at around top of head level when your arms are extended in front of you.
  3. Pull the band toward your forehead while bringing your elbows straight back so they are in line with your shoulders in the end position and your forearms are facing upward.
  4. Hold the position for a moment, then return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for desired reps.

13. Bent Over Lat Pushdown Row (anchored)

banded pulldowns

While it’s called a pushdown, this resistance band exercise is essentially a pulling motion. The main target here is your lats. However, the long head of your triceps will also be activated as it is involved in shoulder extension, which occurs in this movement.

Other muscles activated will be your rear delts, teres major, levator scapulae, rhomboids, and lower lats.

And since you are in the bent over position, your spinal erectors, glutes and hamstrings will be working isometrically.

How to:

  1. Anchor the band at about top of head level and hold onto the band at about a hip width distance using an overhand grip.
  2. Step away from the anchor point and get into a bent over position. The band should be taut with your arms extended up and forward (biceps running along the side of your head).
  3. Pull down the band down and in, keeping your elbows fixed with a slight bend. Pull all the way down until your hands are near your thighs.
  4. Really squeeze the heck out of your lats and hold the position for a moment, then slowly return your arms back up.
  5. Repeat for desired reps. 

14. Standing Neutral Grip Rows (anchored)

standing resistance band row

The standing neutral grip row emphasizes your rhomboids, middle traps, and teres major, as well as your lats, biceps and forearms.

Because you are in a standing position, your lower body and core will also be activated isometrically to maintain a strong position.

How to:

  1. Anchor the band to at about ab level so that when you get into a quarter squat it is aiming just below your sternum and is parallel with the floor.
  2. Gab each looped end with your hands like they are handles. Hold the loops with a neutral grip.
  3. Without raising your shoulders up, row the band back until your elbows shoot behind you and your hands are almost near the side of your chest. Keep your elbows close to your side throughout the movement.
  4. Hold the end position and squeeze your back and arms, then very slowly return your arms to full extension out in front of you.
  5. Repeat for desired reps.

Note: This exercise can also be done with an overhand or underhand grip to change how the muscles are targeted.

15. Standing Neutral Grip Alternating Rows with Twist (anchored)

resistance band row benefits

The set up for this resistance band standing row variation is exactly the same as the previous exercise. However, with this one you will be alternating sides each rep and adding a slight twist into the movement. With that, you will be working all of the same muscles (rhomboids, middle traps, teres major, rear delts, lats, biceps, forearms), while additionally targeting your obliques. Moreover, because you are doing a twist, you will be increasing your range of motion on the concentric phase, which will give you greater contraction of the targeted muscles.

How to:

  1. Anchor the band to at about ab level so that when you get into a quarter squat it is aiming just below your sternum and is parallel with the floor.
  2. Gab each looped end with your hands like they are handles. Hold the loops with a neutral grip.
  3. Starting with your left arm, row the band back keeping your elbow close to your side. As you row, simultaneously rotate your torso in the direction of your working side. In the end range, your elbow will be back behind you and your chest and head (in line with each other) will be slightly rotated in that same direction. Your hips will remain squared forward.
  4. Return to the starting position through that same smooth path of motion. Do so slowly and in a controlled manner.
  5. Perform the next rep on your right side using the same form that we just went over.
  6. Continue alternating sides for a desired number of reps.

    16. Standing Neutral Grip Low Rows (anchored)

    band row

    This resistance band row variation has the same set up as the previous exercise but you will only be using one arm at a time and you will have a neutral grip.

    The standing neutral grip low row targets your lats, especially the upper lats, rear delts, teres major and biceps, as well as your rhomboids and middle traps.

    Also, because it is a unilateral exercise, your core and low back will work to maintain a squared forward, upright position.

    How to:

    1. Anchor the band to a low point at about knee to shin level.
    2. Grab the loop of the band with your left hand using a neutral grip. Step away from the anchor point to make it taut (the further you step away, the more resistance you will have) and get into an athletic stance. Position yourself so that the band is in line with your shoulder.
    3. With your left arm extended down and out in front of you, row the band until your elbow is back behind you. Keep your elbow tucked throughout the movement.
    4. Slowly return your arm to full elbow extension and repeat for desired reps.
    5. After you finish the set, do the same on your right side.

    17. Standing Underhand Rows (anchored)

    standing band row

    This is a standing resistance band underhand row, which targets the same muscles as the aforementioned neutral grip row, yet with a little more emphasis on the lats and biceps...but that’s not all. Since you are using a low anchor point, your upper traps will also be activated. Altogether, this is a great exercise to target the traps, rhomboids, lats and arms.

    How to:

    1. Anchor the band to a low point at about knee to shin level.
    2. Grab the band about hip width apart using an underhand grip.
    3. Step away from the anchor point to make it taut (the further you step away, the more resistance you will have) and get into an athletic stance.
    4. With your arms extended down and out in front of you, row the band until it about touches your upper abs. Your elbows will be back behind you. Keep your elbows tucked throughout the movement.
    5. Slowly return your arms to full elbow extension and repeat for desired reps. 

    RESISTANCE BAND PULL WORKOUTS

    There are many ways to incorporate resistance band rows into your workouts. For example, you could superset free weight back exercises with banded rows or you could just add them into your routine like you would any other exercise.

    But let’s say you want to do just a resistance band back workout (aka pull workout)...well, here are a couple great workout examples:

    SET X REPS WORKOUT:

    1. Bent Over Rows: 3 sets x 6, 10, 12 reps
    2. Seated Close Grip Pulldowns: 3 sets x 8-12 reps
    3. Standing Underhand Rows (low anchor): 3 sets x 8-12 reps
    4. Seated Overhand Grip Lat Pulldowns: 3 sets x 8-12 reps
    5. Upright Rows: 3 sets x 10-12 reps

    Rest 60 seconds between sets

    CIRCUIT WORKOUT:

    Circuit 1 x 3 Rounds:

    1. Kroc Rows x 12 reps
    2. Bent Over Rows (Overhand Grip) x 8 reps
    3. Upright Rows x 10 reps

    Rest 1 minute between rounds

    Circuit 2 x 3 Rounds:

    1. Half-Kneeling Face Pulls x 12 reps
    2. Half-Kneeling Single Arm Twisting Row x 8 reps each side
    3. Half-Kneeling High Row x 10 reps

    Rest 1 minute between rounds

    What is a good beginner workout?

    For beginners, choose 4 to 5 different exercises, ideally 3 row variations and 2 pulldown variations and do 3 sets for each with 8-12 reps. This will give you a well rounded back workout.

    When choosing exercises, make sure they are different. For example, don’t choose 3 variations of neutral grip rows, choose one underhand, one overhand, and one neutral grip and each with different body positioning. This will help you hit the muscles of your back more evenly.

    Related: More Resistance Band Back Exercises & Workouts

    resistance band pull workout

    WHERE TO BUY RESISTANCE BANDS?

    You can get resistance bands for rows at SET FOR SET.

    Our 41” loop resistance bands are extremely durable and long lasting. They come in the following sizes:

    • #1 Yellow Band: 5 to 30 Pounds (1/2" -  41" x 0.5" x 0.18")
    • #2 Black Band: 20 to 55 Pounds (7/8" - 41" x 0.85" x 0.18")
    • #3 Blue Band: 35 to 70 Pounds (1 1/4" -  41" x 1.25" x 0.18")
    • #4 Green Band: 45 to 115 Pounds (1 3/4" - 41" x 1.75" x 0.18")
    • #5 Gray Band: 60 to 170 Pounds (2 1/2" - 41" x 2.5" x 0.18")

    You can buy them individually or in sets. Our two sets are:

    • Set 1: Yellow, Black, Blue Bands
    • Set 2: Yellow, Black, Blue, Green, Gray Bands

    Buy Resistance Bands

    resistance band pulls


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