What is a dumbbell bent over row?

Before we talk about how to do the dumbbell bent over row correctly, it is essential to understand what this exercise is and what are its benefits.

It is a variation of the bent over row exercise that’s done with dumbbells. This is an important exercise since it mimics the foundational movement patterns that we make with our backs. 

The dumbbell bentover row is a weight training exercise that primarily targets the muscles in your back along with those in your arms. Bent over row muscles worked include:

  • Trapezius
  • Infraspinatus
  • Teres major
  • Teres minor
  • Latissimus
  • Rhomboids
  • Erector spinae
  • Pectoralis
  • Brachialis

How to do a dumbbell bent over row?

Just doing the dumbbell bent over row exercise is not enough. To gain its benefits, it is essential to do this exercise correctly. 

Here is a step by step guide of the traditional bent over two arm dumbbell row for you to follow:

  • Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart. Keep a slight bend in your knees.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip with your palms facing each other.¬†
  • Bend your torso at an angle of 45-degrees and inhale deeply.
  • Exhale and pull the dumbbells up along the sides of your chest.
  • Your upper arms shouldn‚Äôt go higher than your shoulders.
  • Ensure minimal wrist movement during the lifting motion.
  • Lower the weights slowly to the starting position while inhaling deeply.
  • This is one rep.

Sets and reps for the bent over two dumbbell row: You can do 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps of the dumbbell bent over row exercise. 

What are some alternatives to dumbbell bent over row?

Here are some great bent over dumbbell row alternatives for you to challenge yourself:

  1. One arm bent over dumbbell row: In this unilateral variation, you lift one weight at a time. You can either do all the reps on one side before moving to the other side or switch arms back and forth. The one arm bent over dumbbell row is a great exercise to make your shoulders, upper arms, and core stronger. 

  1. Dumbbell bent over row lunge variation: As the name suggests, this variation is performed in a lunge position by keeping one leg behind the other. This helps in activating and strengthening your glutes and hamstrings in addition to the muscles in your back. 

  1. Dumbbell bent over row with isometric hold: In this bent over row muscles worked include traps, lats, rhomboids, biceps, and erector spinae. To do this bent over dumbbell row alternative, pull the weight up to your torso while keeping your elbow straight. Do all the reps on one side and then switch sides. Hold this position and do the reps with the other arm. This extended time challenges your muscles and improves their endurance. 

What are the benefits of a dumbbell bent over row?

Dumbbell bent over row is much more than just a back exercise. There are amazing dumbbell bent over row benefits for your overall health and fitness. These include:

  • Being an exercise that works on multiple muscle groups in your back, shoulders, and arms, it helps in improving your upper body strength. This is important for enhancing your workout performance, especially for doing pull-ups and push exercises.

  • Since dumbbell bent over row requires core engagement, it enhances your core strength too. This lets you become more functional and agile. Not just this, a strong core also improves your balance and coordination.¬†

  • Whether you are doing the one arm bent over dumbbell row, bent over two dumbbell row or any other variation, the risk of injury gets eliminated. This happens because this exercise doesn‚Äôt add any extra strain to the shoulders and isolates the muscles in the back and shoulders, improving their strength.

  • It is an excellent weight loss exercise. By increasing the strength of your body, this exercise helps you build lean muscle. This improves your metabolic rate and helps burn more calories. In the long run, this reduces your risk of chronic heart, kidney, and metabolic diseases.

  • One of the most important dumbbell bent over row benefits is that this is a great exercise to enhance your bone density, reducing the risk of injuries and fractures.

  • It helps improve your posture and reduces postural problems like back pain and stiffness. This is especially essential for people who sit for long hours.

  • Whatever be your age and exercise experience, with variations such as one arm bent over dumbbell row and bent over two arm dumbbell row, it is easily customisable for everyone.¬†

How to do dumbbell bent over row safely to avoid injuries?

Since this exercise involves weights, there are some things that you need to keep in mind to prevent injuries, especially when you are doing a workout at home. These include:

  • If you suffer from some specific medical problems or are experiencing local temporary pain, avoid doing this exercise without consulting your doctor.
  • Never start doing dumbbell bent over row without learning its technique and correct form from an experienced trainer.
  • Always activate and stretch your muscles through a warm-up session before doing a dumbbell bent over row. Similarly, end the session with a cool-down session to allow your body temperature to normalise and avoid muscle cramps.
  • Maintaining the correct posture is critical. Never bend your body too far and keep your hips and legs stable.¬†
  • Don‚Äôt lift excessively heavyweights at the outset. Start with lighter weights and build up gradually.¬†
  • If you feel dizzy or pain anytime during dumbbell bent over row stop exercising immediately.
  • Keeping in mind your body type and experience, experiment with the different alternatives to find the one that works the best for you.


The dumbbell bentover row is a challenging and yet rewarding exercise to build a stronger upper back. The key to gaining its benefits is to be consistent with your workouts and switch between different variations to keep yourself engaged and motivated. Remember to consume a high protein diet to support better and sustainable muscle build up while doing this exercise.

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