The greatest quote I ever heard on the barbell bent over row was from Mark Rippetoe, in his book Mean Ol’ Mr. Gravity. “F*** barbell rows.” He says this on the tails of another quote I also love: “Get your deadlift up to 500 pounds and then you’ll have your own opinions.”
But just in case you’re determined to do barbell rows anyways, here is a video showing the basic pattern for bent over rowing. Note: I do not believe in perfect form (barbell row form or otherwise) and I do not endorse this video as anything other than a demo of the basic barbell rowing pattern: a horizontal pull with a barbell.
According to the glossy pages of Muscle & Fitness, John McCallum’s The Complete Keys To Progress, and Adam T. Glass rows are great for developing a broad, thick back, off the top of my head. Although Adam focuses more on single arm rows with thick-handled, heavy dumbbells for the grip carryover.
Are they right for you? The first question I would ask is always, “What are your goals? Are you willing to test your movements?” If you’re willing to test, then yes, rows will be right for you sometimes, but not always.
Or you can always just go with Mr. Rippetoe and can the whole idea.