When we perform bent over rows or flyes, we want to create a neutral spine, a flat back, a long spine, an extended spine. I’ve heard it cued all of those ways (and they can all be great cues!).

But often because we lack thoracic extension and even our pecs and lats are tight, we end up arching our lower back in our attempt to extend and create a “flat back.”

We end up compensating to try and replicate a movement. We seek out mobility from other areas, which ends up creating overload.

So if you feel your lower back during those bent over rows and flyes, even though your form “looks” pretty good overall, it may be time to try some tweaks as you also work on your thoracic mobility!

If you find this happens, it may be helpful to start with a single arm row, where you can have a hand and knee on a bench. This can take some of the load off of your core.


Or you can even place your other hand on your leg to help brace while in a staggered stance. This can help you elongate without arching. The staggered stance alone can also sometimes help.


Of course you do want to be working to learn how to extend your thoracic spine without hyperextending or overloading your lower back, but as you work on that mobility and core bracing, you can tweak your positioning during rows and flyes to avoid pain!

You can also modify the bent over dumbbell fly, or even the bent over row, by doing them while prone.

Lie face down on a bench or incline bench so your chest and torso is supported. This can help you brace against the bench and use that to help you extend without arching.

To make the most out of these tweaks, you need to be conscious of what muscles you truly feel working!

You can’t just rush through moves or go through the motions!

Love these tips and tweaks? Want some killer upper body and arm workouts?!

Don’t forget to check out my Arm Burner Workouts!

In my Arm Burner program, I share tweaks and modifications for moves so you can avoid injury and build the lean, strong back and arms you’ve always wanted!

Check it out!…You know you want to! 😉

–> The Arm Burner Cards