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Sculpting a Wider Back: Single Arm Dumbbell Rows

Athletes in Motion
Athletes in Motion
September 7, 2017
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Let’s get serious about your back! Yes, we’re talking about an actual thick, strong back here. A solid back is built through solid lifting using both pushing and pulling exercises. With that said, you can’t have complete back day without single arm dumbbell rows, an exercise where you’re pulling against resistance.

single arm dumbbell rows

Dumbbells rows are superior because they allow for a long range of motion and the ability to focus on each side of your back evenly. They work your latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, lower traps, and erector spinae.

How To Perform The Single Arm Dumbbell Row:

  1. Secure a flat bench and place a set of dumbbells on each side of it.
  2. Place your right leg on top of the bench in a kneeling position. Your other foot will stabilize you on the ground. Hinge at the hips until your upper body is parallel to the floor, and place your right hand on the other end of the bench for stabilization.
  3. Use your left hand to pick up the dumbbell off the floor. Hold the weight with your arm extended while keeping your lower back straight. The palm of your hand should be facing your torso.
  4. Pull the dumbbell straight up to the side of your chest, keeping your upper arm close to your side and keeping your trunk stationary. At the top of the movement, your elbow should be pointed toward the ceiling. Squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  5. Slowly lower the weight back to the floor, but don’t let it touch the floor before moving into the next repetition.
  6. Switch to the other arm and repeat.


Trainer Tip:

Focus on pulling with your back and squeezing your back muscles when you are at the top of the movement. Don’t round your back. Keep it straight and stable. This is a back exercise, not an arms exercise. Your arms and hands are merely there to hold the weight. They are not there to jerk the weight up. If you are jerking the weight, you are not using your back thus defeating the purpose.

Solid Back Exercise Routine:

  • Deadlift 3 sets of 10
  • Single Arm Dumbbell Row 3 sets of 10 on each arm
  • Underhand Cable Pull Down 3 sets of 10-12
  • Wide Grip Seated Cable Row 3 sets of 10
  • Standing T-Bar Row 3 sets of 10-12
  • Wide Grip Pull up 3 sets of 10

Read more fitness articles here.

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