Dumbbell Rows

About Dumbbell Rows

Bent over dumbbell rows are one of the best movements for adding lean muscle tissue to the upper back. Similar to the majority of the other back exercises, the movement should be initiated by drawing the shoulder back while keeping the arm straight. Not allowing the arm to bend throughout the first 6-8 inches of the movement will minimize bicep recruitment and isolate the muscles of the upper back. While performing bent over dumbbell rows, it is extremely important that the back stays flat to reduce the risk of spinal injury. A tip for maintaining a flat back is to push the buttocks out (perform a posterior pelvis rotation) prior to beginning the exercise.

Exercise Video

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How To Do Dumbbell Rows

  1. Place the shin of one leg on a flat bench with toe positioned slightly off the end of the bench. If the LEFT leg is resting on the end of the bench, then it should be the LEFT arm that is also positioned around the top of the bench. Taller trainees will tend to place hand further towards the top in order to maintain a position that has the back parallel with the ground.
  2. Grasp a dumbbell with your free hand and allow the weight deliver a back stretch and draw the shoulder forward.
  3. Initiate the movement by retracting the shoulder while keeping the arm straight.
  4. Exhale, flex arm and with elbow positioned under the shoulder, pull the dumbbell up towards the upper rib cage. Hold briefly.
  5. Inhale and lower weight back down to starting position at a controlled speed. Allow the weight to once again deliver a stretch and draw the shoulder slightly forward.
  6. Repeat until desired number of repetitions are completed.

Exercise Variations

When performing bent over dumbbell rows, you can alter the muscle recruitment by switching your arm position. Switching the hand position from a neutral grip to a pronated grip (palm facing away) and drawing the elbow up in alignment with the shoulder will alter the recruitment and place more reliance upon the rhomboids and posterior deltoids. Strengthening the rhomboids has been proven effective in alleviating the upper back pain commonly associated with spending long durations at a desk in front of a computer.

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