The Ultimate Guide to Hammer Strength Row: How to Master This Effective Back Exercise

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Are you looking to build a strong, defined back? If so, you might want to consider adding Hammer Strength Row to your exercise routine. This compound movement targets the entire back, including the lats, traps, and rhomboids, and can help you develop a powerful upper body.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Hammer Strength Row, including the benefits of this exercise, how to perform it with proper form, variations you can try, and tips for maximizing your results. Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

  1. What is Hammer Strength Row?
  2. Benefits of Hammer Strength Row
  3. Muscles Targeted by Hammer Strength Row
  4. How to Perform Hammer Strength Row
    1. Set-Up and Equipment
    2. Execution
    3. Common Mistakes to Avoid
  5. Hammer Strength Row Variations
    1. One-Arm Hammer Strength Row
    2. Reverse-Grip Hammer Strength Row
    3. Close-Grip Hammer Strength Row
    4. Seated Hammer Strength Row
  6. Tips for Maximizing Your Results
  7. Hammer Strength Row vs. Other Back Exercises
  8. Incorporating Hammer Strength Row into Your Workout Routine
  9. Conclusion
  10. FAQs

What is Hammer Strength Row?

Hammer Strength Row is a weightlifting exercise that involves pulling a loaded weight sled towards your torso while seated on a machine. This exercise is named after the manufacturer of the machine, Hammer Strength, and is sometimes referred to as Seated Row or Machine Row.

Hammer Strength Row is a popular exercise for bodybuilders, powerlifters, and athletes looking to build strength, size, and definition in their back muscles. It’s a compound movement, which means it works multiple muscle groups at once, making it an efficient and effective exercise for building overall back strength.

Benefits of Hammer Strength Row

There are several benefits to including Hammer Strength Row in your workout routine:

  1. Builds Upper-Body Strength: Hammer Strength Row is a compound exercise that targets the back muscles, including the lats, traps, and rhomboids. It also engages the biceps and forearms, helping to build overall upper-body strength.
  2. Promotes Muscle Hypertrophy: By lifting heavy weights and challenging your muscles, Hammer Strength Row can promote muscle hypertrophy, or muscle growth. This can help you develop a bigger, more defined back.
  3. Improves Posture: Strengthening your back muscles can improve your posture and reduce the risk of back pain and injury.
  4. Enhances Sports Performance: Strong back muscles are essential for many sports and athletic activities, including weightlifting, powerlifting, wrestling, and football.

Muscles Targeted by Hammer Strength Row

Hammer Strength Row primarily targets the back muscles, including:

  1. Latissimus Dorsi (lats): The lats are the largest muscle in the back and are responsible for pulling your arms down towards your body.
  2. Trapezius (traps): The traps are a triangular-shaped muscle that runs from the base of your skull to your mid-back and helps to support your shoulders and neck.
  3. Rhomboids: The rhomboids are located between the shoulder blades and help to stabilize the shoulder blades during movement.

In addition to these muscles, Hammer Strength Row also engages the biceps, forearms, and core.

How to Perform Hammer Strength Row

Before attempting Hammer Strength Row, it’s important to make sure you have proper form and technique. Here’s a step-by-step guide to performing this exercise correctly:


  1. Sit on the machine with your chest against the pad, your feet flat on the platform, and your knees slightly bent.
  2. Grasp the handles with an overhand grip, making sure your palms are facing down.
  3. Slowly pull the handles towards your torso, keeping your elbows close to your body and your shoulders down and back.
  4. Pause for a moment at the top of the movement, then slowly release the handles back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

To ensure proper form and avoid injury, it’s important to avoid these common mistakes when performing Hammer Strength Row:

  1. Using Momentum: Don’t use momentum to lift the weight. Instead, use a slow, controlled movement to ensure your back muscles are doing the work.
  2. Arching Your Back: Don’t arch your back or lean too far forward. This can put stress on your lower back and increase the risk of injury.
  3. Rounding Your Shoulders: Don’t round your shoulders or let them hunch up towards your ears. Keep your shoulders down and back throughout the movement.
  4. Using Too Much Weight: Don’t use more weight than you can handle with proper form. This can increase the risk of injury and limit your results.

Hammer Strength Row Variations

If you want to mix up your back workouts, try these Hammer Strength Row variations:

One-Arm Hammer Strength Row

Perform Hammer Strength Row with one arm at a time, focusing on pulling the weight towards your torso with your back muscles.

Reverse-Grip Hammer Strength Row

Switch up your grip by using an underhand grip, which targets the biceps and forearms more than the traditional overhand grip.

Close-Grip Hammer Strength Row

Bring your hands closer together on the handles, which increases the activation of your rhomboids and middle back muscles.

Seated Hammer Strength Row

Perform the exercise while seated on a bench or stool, which can help to isolate the back muscles and reduce the risk of lower back strain.

Tips for Maximizing Your Results

To get the most out of Hammer Strength Row, try these tips:

  1. Use Proper Form: Use a slow, controlled movement and keep your back straight throughout the exercise.
  2. Vary Your Rep Range: Switch up your rep range between low (1-5 reps), moderate (6-12 reps), and high (13-20 reps) to challenge your muscles in different ways.
  3. Increase Weight Gradually: Gradually increase the weight you’re lifting over time to continue challenging your muscles and promoting growth.
  4. Incorporate Other Back Exercises: Mix up your back workouts by incorporating other exercises like pull-ups, chin-ups, and barbell rows.

Hammer Strength Row vs. Other Back Exercises

How does Hammer Strength Row compare to other back exercises? Here’s a quick comparison:

  1. Deadlifts: Deadlifts are a compound exercise that targets multiple muscle groups, including the back, glutes, and hamstrings. While Hammer Strength Row is primarily a back exercise, deadlifts can help you develop overall lower body and back strength.
  2. Pull-Ups: Pull-ups are a bodyweight exercise that primarily target the back muscles, including the lats and traps. While Hammer Strength Row can be easier for beginners or those with limited upper body strength, pull-ups provide a more challenging bodyweight option.
  3. Barbell Rows: Barbell rows are a compound exercise that target the back muscles, as well as the biceps and forearms. While similar to Hammer Strength Row, barbell rows require more stability and balance, making them a more advanced exercise.

Incorporating Hammer Strength Row into Your Workout Routine

Strength Row into your workout routine, try this sample back workout:

  1. Warm up with 5-10 minutes of cardio or dynamic stretching.
  2. Perform 3-4 sets of Hammer Strength Row, aiming for 8-12 reps per set.
  3. Follow up with 3-4 sets of pull-ups, aiming for as many reps as possible per set.
  4. Finish with 3-4 sets of barbell rows, aiming for 8-12 reps per set.
  5. Cool down with static stretching and foam rolling.


Hammer Strength Row is an effective exercise for targeting your back muscles, specifically the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and middle trapezius. By using proper form and gradually increasing the weight you’re lifting, you can build strength and muscle mass in your back. Remember to also incorporate other back exercises into your workout routine and vary your rep range for optimal results.


  1. Is Hammer Strength Row better than traditional dumbbell or barbell rows?

Hammer Strength Row can be a great alternative to traditional dumbbell or barbell rows, as it allows you to use a more stable machine and focus on proper form. However, both exercises can be effective for building back strength and muscle mass.

  1. Can Hammer Strength Row help improve posture?

Yes, Hammer Strength Row can help improve posture by strengthening the muscles in your back that help support proper alignment.

  1. Should I do Hammer Strength Row every workout?

It’s not necessary to do Hammer Strength Row every workout, but incorporating it into your back routine once or twice a week can be beneficial.

  1. Can beginners do Hammer Strength Row?

Yes, beginners can do Hammer Strength Row, but it’s important to start with lighter weight and focus on proper form before increasing the weight.

  1. Can Hammer Strength Row help with weight loss?

While Hammer Strength Row can help build muscle mass and improve overall fitness, it’s not a direct form of cardio and may not contribute significantly to weight loss on its own. A balanced diet and regular exercise routine are key for weight loss.

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