It's nearly impossible to discuss back training without bringing up rows. This complex exercise accounts for the majority of your back workout, resulting in increased bulk and strength. 

Plus, the dumbbell row and its variations can help you improve your posture, help you gain muscle, firm saggy shoulders, improve lower back strength, and shoulder mobility, and more. Our Fitness Expert, Mamta Surana, talks to us about how you can ace this workout.

Benefits Of Dumbbell Rows

Solid back

Dumbbell rows when combined with correct eating practices and adequate rest and recovery, can help you build bigger and stronger back muscles.

Bigger, stronger arms

They strengthen your biceps and forearms, which is a huge plus whether you're looking to bulk up your arms or tone them up.

Corrects muscular imbalances

Sometimes one set of muscles gets tight from overuse and the other set is weak from inactivity. This can be corrected with one-arm dumbbell rows.

A Step-By-Step Guide On Doing Dumbbell Rows

STEP I- Hold a dumbbell in your right hand with the palm facing in and stand to the right of the weight bench. For further support, place your left knee and hand on the bench allowing your right arm to fall forward and down. 

STEP II- Pull your abs in and bend forward from the hips, keeping your back naturally arched and about parallel to the floor, and your right knee slightly bent. 

STEP III- Tilt your chin toward your chest to align your neck and spine. Pull your right arm up until your elbow is pointed to the ceiling, your upper arm is parallel to the floor, and your hand reaches the ribcage's outside edge.

STEP IV- Slowly lower the weight onto the floor but almost about an inch off.

Exploring The Variations Of Dumbbell Rows

While dumbbell rows might provide significant benefits, you may find yourself becoming less challenged or boring over time. Infuse your training program with new dumbbell row variants to keep your progress from plateauing and your motivation high.

#1 Dumbbell Renegade Row

Get into a push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders holding a light dumbbell in each hand. Begin by keeping your feet shoulder-width apart then push yourself to the peak of a push-up with your hands on the dumbbell grips. 

Tighten your entire body and squeeze the handles firmly, push forcefully into the ground with your left hand while pulling the weight to your lower rib cage/waist area with your right hand. Before repeating on the other side, lower the weight slowly and steadily. 

Activating core muscles such as the obliques, back muscles, and arm muscles like triceps are reasons to opt for this particular variation.

#2 Incline Bench Dumbbell Row

Begin by lying face down on an incline bench with your feet still on the ground and your head ideally hanging off the end of the bench. Then tighten your core and force your elbows up and back as far behind your body as possible while squeezing your shoulder blades together with dumbbells in hand and arms fully extended. 

Next, extend your arms toward the floor and aim to stretch out your lats as you lower the weights back down. This variation helps you particularly target your lats, upper back, and biceps.

#3 Dumbbell Upright Row

With a dumbbell in each hand, stand in an upright position. With your palms towards you, hold the dumbbells in front of your thighs. Lift the weights straight up until they're at your lower chest level, making sure your elbows are higher than your forearms the entire time. 

Return to the initial position by lowering the dumbbells. We suggest this one particularly for beginners as it is comparatively easier. This targets your traps and biceps.

Pro Tip: Begin every set with your weaker side and once you find out how many reps are easily doable by that side, you can keep the number similar for your stronger side as well. Doing so would allow your weaker side to catch up to your stronger side, thereby addressing muscle or strength imbalances if any. Later you can start your sets with whichever arm you like once you can get the same number of reps on both sides.

How Many Reps Of Dumbbell Rows Should You Do?

To gain muscle 

Adding muscle requires a reasonable amount of volume combined with a moderate amount of weight. With a moderate to heavyweight, execute three to five sets of eight to twelve or 15-20 repetitions. To vary your time under tension, you should also experiment with your lifting tempo.

To gain strength

Once you've mastered dumbbell rows, gradually increase the weight and decrease the reps to focus on strength development. Begin with four to six sets of four to eight repetitions with really difficult loads. Also, with the chest-supported row variants below, this is a fantastic set and rep pattern.

To improve muscle endurance

Perform two to three sets of 20 to 30 reps with a moderate load if you want to condition your back and arm muscles. If you want to target the back, we suggest wearing lifting straps.

Safety & Precautions To Keep In Mind

  1. Avoid performing this if you have lower-back pain or injury
  2. Avoid using an extremely heavy dumbbell
  3. Do not round your back as it increases the chances of a back injury. Your spine should remain neutral.
  4. Avoid pulling with your bicep, instead pull with your back

Keep in mind..

Your back is a jumble of muscles that require stimulation from a variety of directions. The ideal row for thickening your traps differs from the best row for engaging your lower lats. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to strengthening your back (or any muscle for that matter). Don't be frightened to try something new. As usual, we propose that you use progressive resistance strategies to ensure that you are continuously looking to learn, improve, and grow.

Dec 27, 2021

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