Pull Ups or Barbell Rows (Which is more effective)
Lets compare both -
1.Strength- From a strength perspective both exercises work very well as they can help build massive amount of back strength.
2. Fitness – From a fitness perspective both exercises will work very well as they both work on second largest muscle group i.e . back muscles which helps with posture correction and can also help burn massive amount of calories.
3. Muscle Building – From a muscle building perspective both exercises will again work very well as they both offer enough resistance to build muscle mass.
However if your goal is to build more strength and muscle then over a period of time barbell rows will be a better exercise because resistance/weight on barbell rows can be increased easily but not with pull ups and muscle respond well to higher resistance.
Let me explain -
My weight is 70 kgs and while doing pull ups my resistance is limited to 70 kgs only however that is not case with barbell rows as with rows i can take the resistance or weight even higher like 70 to 80kgs to 90kgs to100 kgs and that will help build more power and strength because ultimately muscle responds well to more resistance or overload.
One can argue that we can increase resistance by adding weights while doing pull ups and that may work well but the fact is – a) Its very difficult to do pull ups with weights hanging around your waist (not practical on regular basis) and b) Even if you are successful in adding weights while doing pull ups you wrist and forearm muscles will give up much before your back muscles.
Overall both exercises are effective for strength,fitness and muscle building perspective but barbell rows have an edge.
Raghav Pande is New Delhi (India) based Fitness Consultant
He is a Certified Fitness Trainer,Sports Nutritionist and the Winner of “You Tube Next Trainer”