Fitness School, Question 35, Let us dig deep down into ‘standing barbell row’ and the complete amount of muscles it will engage and activate.

This is my personal goto upper body exercise.

Question number 35 in our School of Fitness.

Once we venture beyond the glorious realms of leg and glutes training, there is the never-ending hallway of kicking and boxing to explore and conquer. But what else lies beyond the joy of those fit & healthy cornerstones?.


Well, if it was not obvious so far in life, martial arts and legs and glutes have their equal in the colossus that is weighted back training, providing your entire body and upper body with untold health & fitness benefits.

And when it comes down to weighted back training, actually, when it comes down to working the upper body at all, there is one exercise which I will never hesitate to put front and center (together with deadlift), and that is ‘Standing Barbell Row’.

Scandinavia by Mike Koontz

Here is my question for you: 
Standing Barbell Row will challenge and work you from top to toe. 
But do you really know all of the muscles which you will activate when you do this bad boy in a properly challenging way?.


Unless you are well versed in human anatomy and fitness science, this could prove to be a very tough ask. So I will provide you with three options, pick one and scroll down to reveal the correct answer.

Bite sized fitness knowledge at its best and most convenient, right? :).

  1. My back?
  2. Trapezius. Inferior and middle. 
    Rhomboideus 
    Latissimus Dorsi 
    Deltoideus. Posterior.
  3. Main muscles. 
    Trapezius. Inferior and middle. 
    Rhomboideus 
    Latissimus Dorsi 
    Deltoideus. Posterior.
    Secondary muscles. 
    Biceps Brachii 
    Brachialis 
    Brachioradialis 
    Erector Spinae 
    Teres Minor 
    Teres Major 
    Supraspinatus 
    Subscapularis 
    Infraspinatus 
    Trapezius. Superior. 
    Deltoideus. Lateral. 
    Transversospinalis 
    Levator Scapulae.
Norse Autumn, October by the shore by Mike Koontz

Option 3 is the correct answer.

And as if that impressive list of activated muscles was not already enough as it is. There is no absolutely no way to avoid activating your glutes, legs, abs and lower arms too. 
Yes, it is true, when you are talking about this exercise and its muscle activation, and the many reasons why you should train standing barbell row, formally speaking you usually never include legs, glutes and abs in that conversation.

But they are still activated when you do standing barbell row with proper technique and enough weight to properly challenge yourself. 
And as such, I mean, is there any wonder that I am holding this one as my nr.1 upper body go to exercise alongside all the variants of deadlifts.

Keep on grinding people, and stay healthy fit.