Shoulder exercise
Bodycare,  COACH,  EXTRA,  FEATURES,  HEALTH,  June 2023,  Training and Technique

Move of the month: Bent-over row

This move helps strengthen and stabilise the shoulders, and protect from repetitive overhead movements in front crawl

This month’s move works the muscles of the back primary, the trapezius, rhomboids and lats, which are all key movers in swimming. These muscles help strengthen and stabilise our shoulders giving us power and also protect us from the repetitive overhead movements involved in strokes like front crawl.

How to do bent-over row

You can do this with anything that gives resistance, such as a barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell or resistance band.

  1. Stand with feet hip width apart, and keep the knees slightly bent (soft).
  2. Hinge forward from the hips, push your butt backwards and keep your back flat and your neck in line with your back.
  3. Engage your core and pull up from the elbow ensuring that you don’t allow the shoulder to lift upwards.
  4. Breathe out on pull, breathe in on lower with control.
  5. This is one rep. Try 2/3 sets of 8 reps on each side.


If you are using a dumbbell or kettlebell you are able to train one side at a time, which is great for training imbalances in the muscles (think one weaker side than the other).

Using a barbell, however, means you train both sides at once so is less time consuming. Place a resistance band under your feet, grasp in both hands and pull up to your chest.

Read more of our swim training articles.

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Outdoor Swimmer is the magazine for outdoor swimmers by outdoor swimmers. We write about fabulous wild swimming locations, amazing swim challenges, swim training advice and swimming gear reviews.