Exercise - Bent Over Gorilla Rows

Bent Over Gorilla Rows

Bent Over Gorilla Rows

What muscles to Gorilla Rows work?

The gorilla row is an awesome exercise for building a strong, toned back! It’s a strength training exercise that primarily works the muscles of the back, specifically the lats (latissimus dorsi), rhomboids, and traps (trapezius).

How To Do Bent Over Gorilla Rows

I like to do a gorilla row with alternating arms.

  1. To get set up, place your kettlebells or dumbbells slightly narrower than hip-width apart on the ground with the handles parallel to your feet.
  2. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart just behind the weights.
  3. Begin the movement by bending your knees slightly and hinging forward from your hips.
    **Julie’s Tip – While hinging forward at your hips, keep that core nice and firm, with a flat lower back. This should be similar to a deadlift stance and your shoulders should be square and facing forward.
  4. Place your hands on the weight handles and with one side, raise the weight to your side in a rowing motion. Keeping the lifting side elbow close to your body, concentrate on squeezing the shoulder blades together during the movement. 
    ** Julie’s Tip – At the top of the row, give your shoulder blades an extra squeeze and hold the movement for a moment **
  5. Slowly and with control return the weight to the ground and alternate lifting the weight on the other side with the opposite arm.

Gorilla Rows – Photo Illustration

What equipment do I need to do Gorilla Rows?

While I like to do the gorilla rows with dumbbells, the gorilla row can also be done with a kettlebell or other weighted object. I have even had online training clients with no workout equipment use a gallon jug filled with water to the appropriate weight!

How many gorilla rows should I do?

I recommend starting with 2-3 sets of gorilla rows for 8 – 10 reps using a weight that is challenging. As you become more proficient with the movement, you can increase the sets to 4. If your primary goal is to gain muscle mass, then use a heavier weight and stick in the 6-8 reps range. If your goal is to maintain lean mass and strengthen the back muscles without adding thickness, then use a weight where you can safely complete 4 sets of 10-12 reps.

Do gorilla rows make your waist smaller?

Gorilla rows not only strengthen the core, arms, and back, but they also can create an illusion of a smaller waist by developing back muscles that visually reduce your waist size.

By consistently incorporating gorilla rows into your fitness routine, you can strengthen and develop the muscles in your upper back. As these muscles grow and become more defined, they can create an illusion of a smaller waist. This is not due to an actual reduction in waist size, but rather the visual contrast between a well-developed back versus your narrower midsection.

Gorilla rows help improve posture and promote a more balanced physique. By strengthening the back muscles, they can counteract the forward rounding of the shoulders, which can make the waist appear wider. As a result, a more upright and aligned posture will contribute to a perception of a smaller waist.

Achieving a smaller waist requires a combination of consistent exercise, including both strength training and cardiovascular exercises, along with a healthy diet and overall body fat reduction.