How To Build a Strong and Injury-Proof Back with the One-Arm Dumbbell Row

The best form to reap the benefits of this excellent exercise.

Discover how to build a strong and injury-proof back with the one-arm dumbbell row.

The exercise you are about to see is explained by Adam Schafer, one of the hosts of the Mind Pump Podcast. The Mind Pump Podcast is an online radio show that talks all fitness related and, usually, is provocative. Its hosts are Sal Di StefanoAdam SchaferJustin Andrews, and Doug Egge. They also have a YouTube channel with more than 700k subscribers.

In principle, it seems easy enough to do the one-arm dumbbell row.

  • On a bench parallel to you, place a hand on it, while the other foot is touching the ground
  • Grab the dumbbell with palms facing you
  • Remember to keep your back straight at all times – this will engage your core throughout the exercise
  • Row the dumbbell to your side by pulling your elbows back towards the hips and upwards
  • The elbow should barely pass your torso line. Lower the dumbbell until the arm is fully extended
  • That is one rep

Easy, right? Well, turns out it isn’t. See below how to build a strong and injury-proof back with the one-arm dumbbell row.

How to Level Up Your Dumbbell Rows

woman performs dumbbell row to grow muscleSource: Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

##How To Build a Strong and Injury-Proof Back with the One-Arm Dumbbell Row

Adam Schafer takes on the expertise of Ben Pakulski, a well-respected fitness coach worldwide.

Pakulski talks about the set-up of the exercise. Some people like to put a knee on the bench, but Pakulski prefers not to, utilising only the hand as support with one foot forward.

He also talks about not jerking the lats, but rather squeezing out some reps as the muscle is strongest when lengthened. So you can still use the lats in isolation, only in a progressively smaller range of motion.

See the video for deeper detailed information on how to build a strong and injury-proof back with the one-arm dumbbell row.

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Variations of The Dumbbell Row

You can change the underhand grip in order to tackle different muscles with this exercise. Palms facing forward, in the same direction as your head, means your biceps will become more active during the row repetition. Palms facing backwards will focus on your back muscles.

It is possible to perform the same movement with two dumbbells at a time. In order to do that, keep a natural curvature of your spine (straight back) while you bend over holding one dumbbell in each hand (hammer grip). Perform the row normally and keep the focus on your back not to arch or curve your spine. This is called a bent-over dumbbell row.

You can also add a stability ball to the exercise. You should place your free hand on a stability ball to engage smaller stabilizer muscles from the torso, arms and shoulders.

A powerful variation of the dumbbell row is the dumbbell renegade row. Place two dumbbells on the floor, assume a plank position, feet a bit wider than shoulders, and grasp the dumbbells so your hands are elevated off the floor. Maintain a neutral wrist position (hammer grip) and perform one row on each side while maintaining a stable body (straight flat back). This combines the benefits of a plank and the traditional dumbbell row, which engages your core muscles more than a regular dumbbell row.

Would you like to see other dumbbell shoulder exercises to get a perfect round shoulder? Click here.

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Master the Dumbbell Pullover

Working out with dumbbells offers numerous advantages and is considered a great idea for several reasons:

  1. Versatility: Dumbbells provide a wide range of exercise options, allowing you to target various muscle groups effectively. With dumbbells, you can perform compound exercises (such as squats, lunges, and deadlifts) as well as isolation exercises (such as bicep curls, lateral raises, and tricep extensions), providing a comprehensive full-body workout.
  2. Stabiliser Muscle Activation: Dumbbell exercises engage your stabilizer muscles, which are responsible for maintaining balance and control during movements. Unlike machines or barbells, which often provide stability, dumbbells require greater muscle activation to stabilize the weight, leading to improved coordination, balance, and functional strength.
  3. Muscle Symmetry and Imbalance Correction: Dumbbells allow for independent movement of each limb, ensuring that both sides of your body work equally. This can help address muscle imbalances or strength disparities between your left and right sides, promoting symmetry and reducing the risk of injuries.
  4. Range of Motion: Using dumbbells enables a greater range of motion compared to certain exercise machines or barbells. This increased range of motion can enhance muscle flexibility and joint mobility while targeting specific muscle fibres more effectively.
  5. Core Engagement: Many dumbbell exercises engage your core muscles as stabilizers, helping to improve core strength and stability. Movements such as overhead presses, renegade rows, and goblet squats require your core muscles to work in conjunction with the targeted muscles, resulting in a more functional and well-rounded workout.
  6. Convenience and Accessibility: Dumbbells are relatively compact, making them a convenient option for home workouts or when space is limited. They are also easily adjustable, allowing you to increase or decrease the weight as needed, making them suitable for various fitness levels and progression.
  7. Muscle Activation and Development: Dumbbell exercises require greater muscle activation and recruitment compared to using weight machines or other forms of resistance training. This increased activation stimulates muscle growth and development, promoting strength gains and muscular hypertrophy.
  8. Joint Health: Dumbbell exercises can be beneficial for joint health, as they allow for more natural and fluid movements. By working through a full range of motion and using proper form, you can help strengthen the muscles around your joints, potentially reducing the risk of joint-related issues.
  9. Functional Fitness: Dumbbell exercises often mimic real-life movements and activities, promoting functional fitness. By incorporating movements that mimic daily tasks or sports-specific actions, you can improve your overall physical performance and carry over the benefits to everyday life.

Remember to always use proper form, start with an appropriate weight for your fitness level, and gradually increase the intensity as your strength improves. It’s also essential to consult with a fitness professional or trainer to design a well-rounded and personalized dumbbell workout routine that aligns with your goals and abilities.

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