Building Big Back: The Pendlay Row

Douglas Perry

Technology, Cycling, Swimming



Glenn Pendlay was a renowned strength and conditioning coach who, unfortunately, passed away in 2019 at the young age of 48 losing his battle against cancer.



A Level 5 USA Weightlifting coach, Pendlay inspired many coaches and athletes through his endeavors in promoting weightlifting and strength training. as well as his training methods and mentorship.


The eponymous Pendlay Row is a variation of the barbell bent-over row that isn't anything like a bent-over row. It is explosive, often done with heavy weights, that requires the torso remain parallel to the ground throughout the movement.



It's probably best not to treat it as an add-on exercise but use it as a mainstay of building a strong, powerful, big back.


Do it heavy. Do it first in your routine. Form is key and that's why the emphasis is on a parallel torso to the floor. But, make sure you keep your knees fluid and you don't strain the lower back.


And, yes, the correct way to do it will have the weight hit the ground hard. Like we said, it is done with a heavy load. Performed by Greg Walsh, founder of Wolf Brigade, you can feel the ground shaking with every rep. Just as prescribed.


The NSFW version of the Pendlay Row is demonstrated by one of my personal heroes, and one of the best writers on all things strength and conditioning, Jamie Lewis, on his Instagram page,


A post shared by Jamie Lewis (@plagueofstrength)

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