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In order to build a thick back that will make it look like it’s getting darker outside when you turn around, then the rows should be included in every back workout, being essential for complete back development. There are a lot of versions, from free-weight exercises like the Bent-Over Row and Pendlay Row to machine exercises like the Cable Row.
It’s true that for the Bent-Over Row and Pendlay Row, the weights used can not even compare to the ones used for deadlifts or squats, due to the more restrictive position and the muscles involved in the exercises, but in time, stronger individuals can reach some impressive numbers. Because those types of rows require a lot of core stability, a belt can make a substantial difference. Therefore, in order to help you choose a good one that will allow you to push your limits, here are 5 best lifting belts for rows.
Why Is It Important To Include Rows In Your Routine?
Besides the obvious reasons, like building a thick back and increasing overall strength, the rows are important from other aspects as well. To build and maintain a balanced body, rows should not be excluded from training sessions, otherwise, over time muscle imbalances might occur due to the difference between pressing and rowing sets performed.
To avoid this, for every set of horizontal pressing you perform, a set of rows must be done as well. In other words, keep the number of horizontal presses and rows the same. In case you already have an under-developed back, the ratio can be 2-1. (2 rows for every horizontal press)
One interesting thing to mention is that, normally, people should be able to row the same weight for the same number of reps that they can bench press, that being an indicator of balanced strength.
Do You Need A Lifting Belt For Rows?
When we talk about free-weight exercises, such as the Bent-Over Row and Pendlay Row, your body is in a strange position, almost parallel to the ground (or even completely parallel when performing the Pendlay Row, depending on your mobility and your body structure), therefore good stability and mobility are essential to perform the exercises properly and get 100% out of them.
Mobility can be improved by performing daily stretches and specific exercises, and I highly recommend that you do a proper warm-up before every workout in order to avoid unwanted injuries, make the body ready, and create a better mind-muscle connection.
When it comes to stability, your core has an essential role, therefore developing your abdominal muscles will have a positive impact on your performance, besides the visual benefits. A helpful tool in this situation is a lifting belt, which acts as a second set of abdominal muscles.
By increasing the stability, your overall performance will get better, and you will be able to increase the weight over time. A lifting belt will simply accelerate this process by offering extra support, but it’s important to keep in mind that it will not do the work for you. It is still your job to have a good form and maintain a neutral spine when performing the exercises.
Is It Necessary To Wear A Lifting Belt For Cable Rows?
Things change a little bit for the Cable and Machine Rows, just because the position of the body is either vertical or inclined to a certain degree but supported by something. In this case, I do not think that a lifting belt is necessary, because the required stability is not by far the same as the one required for free-weight exercises. Obviously, if you want to keep it on or you feel like it does help you somehow (even as a reminder to get ready), then go for it.
What About Dumbbell Rows?
For Dumbbell Rows, probably the best thing to do is to try both, with a belt and without one, and after that decide if it’s helping you somehow. This is because the exercise is executed differently by everyone, therefore the position of the body is not always the same. On top of that, some individuals prefer to stay with a leg on a bench, while others are using just a hand to hold on from something.
How To Control The Breathing When Performing Bent-Over Rows?
When performing the bent-over rows, it might get a little confusing when it’s the right time to reset your breathing, because the barbell never touches the floor and your body remains under tension until the set is over. The most effective way is to do as many repetitions as possible with your initial breath (the one that you take before you start the exercise), and then to reset your breathing at the top of the movement in a fast manner for the rest of the exercise.
What Type Of Belt Is The Best For Rows?
Due to the position of the body, the number one problem that it may occur is the belt digging into the ribs. This is mostly happening for short-torso individuals, who can solve that by going with a 3-inch wide belt.
The belt might also dig into the hips, which is mostly caused by thick leather belts, especially if they are not broken-in. For that, you might consider going with a skinny leather belt or a Velcro.
Both leather and nylon are fine, but the choice depends on personal preferences. If you want the best support, a leather belt will cover your needs. The Velcro type is more oriented to comfort and flexibility, but that affects the support.
In general, you should look for a maximum thickness of 10mm. After that point, the belt might bother you during rows, because thick belts are, most of the times, stiff and sturdy.
Dark Iron Fitness Leather Lifting Belt
- 4-inch wide
- designed not to dig into the hips
- double-prong buckle
- 4mm thick
- USAPL approved
- over 8000 reviews on Amazon
- 4.8-stars average rating on Amazon
- best Seller in Weight Lifting Belts category on Amazon
- really flexible and comfortable
- easy to fold and carry
- perfect for rows
- great balance between support and comfort
- good durability
due to the double-prong buckle, the time required to put on & take off the belt is a little bit bigger
Schiek Sports Model 2004 Nylon Lifting Belt
- 4 ¾-inch wide in the back
- made of nylon
- hip and rib contour
- dual-closure system
- 8 available colors
- stainless steel buckle
- does not pinch during lifting because of its contour
- perfect for exercises that require mobility
- good fit even for people with a short torso
- it has velcro inside plus a second outer loop
- it provides good support for a nylon belt
- can be used for heavy training as well
- more expensive than most nylon belts
RitFit 4-inch Unisex Lifting Belt
Despite this belt having a uniform width of 4 inches, the ergonomic design allows it to be suitable for rows, due to the firm lumbar support it provides. The closure system consists of a low profile torque ring and a Velcro strap, which will make you feel secure when you put the belt on.
The number one quality to mention is the versatility, the belt being capable of handling numerous types of training, from basic strength exercises like squats and deadlifts to upper body movements like bent-over rows and presses. Considering the price, it could also be a good pick on a budget, if you do not want to go with more popular brands.
- 4-inch wide
- ergonomically designed to provide firm and comfortable lumbar support
- quick-release buckle
- strong-stitched edges
- low profile torque ring and velcro strap
- steel buckle
- due to its versatility, it can be used in many types of training
- good pick on a budget
- comfortable layer on the inside
- easy to put on & take off
- easy to carry in a bag
- the quality of the velcro strap is good
- it only comes in one color (black)
RDX 4-inch Padded Lifting Belt
- 4-inch wide
- made of cowhide leather
- double-prong steel buckle
- dual stitching
- contoured design
- 10 precision-spaced holes
- dual belt holders
- the design makes it perfect for rowing exercises, while still providing decent support for day-to-day training
- suitable for short-torso lifters
- good durability
- comfortable back cushion
- fits easily in the gym bag
- inferior support comparing to a uniform-width thick belt
Rogue 3-inch Ohio Belt
The reduced width of this product by Rogue Fitness allows individuals with a short torso and females to take advantage of the original Ohio belt, without worries that it might create discomfort.
Because of this feature, it makes perfect sense to use it for rows, because a 3-inch width is small enough not to create any kind of pain or dig into ribs/hips, but you will still be wearing a top-notch product. Another aspect to mention is the IPF approved status of this belt, which means it can be used in powerlifting competition on top of the day-to-day gym training.
- 10+/-1mm thick
- 3-inch wide
- double-prong buckle
- water-resistant genuine leather
- made in the USA
- top-quality materials & stitching
- solid construction
- the reduced width makes it perfect for rowing exercises
- great for short-torso individuals & females
- has the same width everywhere, which allows a better intra-abdominal pressure
- the vegetable tanning process makes it comfortable to wear even tho is 10mm thick
- can be used in powerlifting competitions
- can handle heavy training
- coming from a popular brand, the price is considerably higher than the average
Do Rows Require Other Accessories For Faster Progress?
5 Best Lifting Belts For Rows - Conclusion
With such a big importance in good back development and a balanced body, the rows, regardless of the type, are a must in order to get the most out of a back workout. With that being said, for better stability and extra support, a lifting belt that doesn’t dig into the ribs/hips is a useful tool for faster progress and better safety.
Everyone has a different body structure and what seems perfect for one person might not be the best choice for another, but with the right information, you should be able to find a good product that will help you push your limits.