The Yates barbell row is an ego exercise that allows you to lift a lot of weight because the range of motion (ROM) is reduced. In a sense, the movement is an equivalent of the partial bench press. Since the goal of exercising is not to lift the most weight over the shortest ROM, this exercise is simply ineffective and incomplete.
The Yates Row Can Tear Your Biceps
The original Yates row is performed with an underhand grip (palms facing away). It worked nicely until Dorian tore his biceps. When you do Yates rows with an underhand grip, the biceps tendon is placed under a lot of stress. The weight added to the bar as a result of the smaller ROM increases the risk and so does the cheating common for most people doing Yates rows. The result could be a biceps tear.
The Yates Row Is Mechanically Inefficient
Due to the short ROM and the upright torso, most of the stress is placed on the traps rather than the whole back. The motion is usually jerky, and it’s not uncommon to see lifters use this variation just to put more weight on the bar. From the sides, it looks like the athlete is having a sexual intercourse with the bar in a standing pose.
Why are Yates barbell rows popular?
The Yates row owes its popularity to Dorian’s insane back development. It may surprise you, but the fact that Dorian had a good back does not mean that his way of training is the best. This is hard to explain to the uneducated and inexperienced crowd, but once you get a little deeper into the iron game, it will all make sense to you. Until then, stick to the classics and don’t do partial, jerky and inefficient movements like the Yates row.