One-Arm Dumbbell Rows

When you are first starting out, you try to copy other people in the gym, because you feel like you do not know what you are doing. The problem is that even some of the biggest looking bros do not even know what they are doing.

If you spend your time learning how to perform the exercise with a correct form you will not only get better results, but you will significantly reduce the likelihood of injury. This is even more important with an exercise like one-arm dumbbell rows where you can move around substantial weight.

It is a great exercise, which if done correctly can bring you phenomenal results. It would appear to be straight forward. However, when the aim of the exercise is to move the maximum amount of weight rather than work the target muscle group, you are risking injury without maximising your results.

In this article, I will walk through not only the correct form for this exercise but also how to incorporate it into your workout to get the most from one arm dumbbell rows.

Would you start or finish your workout with this exercise?

Even though the one-arm dumbbell row would work our whole back, you should not put it at the beginning of your work out.

Generally, you can go a little bit heavier in this exercise, but you are also putting a lot of strain on all areas of your back. If your back is not properly warmed up, you are risking an injury.

How many reps should you perform?

This is a great mass/strength-building exercise. Ideally, you would perform somewhere between 6 to 8 repetitions each set.

If you can easily get to 8 reps each set, slightly increase the resistance by grabbing a heavier dumbbell.

Just remember to always focus on your form, never sacrifice your form for weight.

Is this the type of exercise where you should use lifting straps?

If you are getting to that stage where you are more advanced, and you are going to go heavy, then yes.

Sometimes when you are training your grip will go before your muscle is going to get tired. I am not talking about training to failure every single set.

I am talking about training your muscle with heavier loads when your grip is either too weak or you have some sort of strain and want to alleviate the pressure.

If you do have a strong grip, do not worry about spending your money on straps. If you do not have a strong grip, you do not necessarily need straps but rather some grip training. This is also handy for exercises like deadlift and chin-ups.

How much weight should you use?

We all seem to know when the weight is too light, but always seem to give a blind eye and try to muscle through once we grab a weight which is too heavy.

If you use too much weight you start using your arm and momentum to lift the weight. This might look sick or hectic, but you are not actually getting enough range of motion adequately focus on the muscle which you are supposed to be training.

nstead of doing a back exercise, you are performing a core twist with a shrug thrown in at the end. This is the perfect recipe for a back injury!

Your reps should not look like you are trying to start a lawnmower, your goal is to get the full stretch and squeeze the muscle at the top of the movement.

Train your muscle – not your ego!

What sorts of variations can you do?

There are two different ways you can perform this exercise and two different way on how you can set up for the one-arm dumbbell rows.

– Bench: Place your knee and your paw on the bench. If you are rowing with your right hand, place your left knee and left paw on the bench.

– Anywhere stable: if you do not have a bench-handy, you can try performing this exercise by placing your paw on a stable surface in front of you.

Why do you need to place your knee and paw on the bench or stable surface?

By placing the arm in front of you are creating more stability in your whole body. This will help you to control the weight much better and it will alleviate the pressure off your lower back.

There are two variations for this exercise

– Beginner Version: Rowing the dumbbell up and down in a straight line. I call it a beginner version because you do not really have to think about anything else other than extending your arm and bringing the dumbbell back up again.

– Advanced Version: Bring the dumbbell slightly forward to get a better stretch on your late and row it in a semi-circular motion or arc. On your way back bring the dumbbell in front of you again. This version is slightly more complicated as it requires you to constantly think about how you execute the exercise.

Shoulder position?

The One-Arm Dumbbell row is mainly about your back and rowing so your shoulder should not be moving that much. Once you have contracted your back, your shoulder should be parallel with your other shoulder.

If you are going any further you are just turning your body, your back is already fully contracted and will not contract any more, no matter how much further you are going to turn.

Yet a lot of people still try to start the lawnmower when doing this exercise or turn until their shoulders are vertical. It is best to leave your lower back out of this and focus on the strict form if you want to reap the benefits of this exercise.