What Are Dumbbell Rows and Why Are They Important

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What are dumbbell rows? You’ve seen the exercise on your plan, but don’t know what to do…

In this article, we’ll give you a quick guide.

What Are Dumbbell Rows?

Just on its own, dumbbell rows can mean a lot of things. There are a lot of different ways to do the exercise, so we’re just going to focus on the popular ones.

Dumbbell rows are a weightlifting exercise that is great for working your shoulders, back, and triceps. It’s easy to do and can be done with a bench or on the floor. Anyone can do them and benefit from them, both men and women. When done correctly, they can tone and build the arms.

How to do a Dumbbell Row

The dumbbell row variant we’re going to be focusing on is the single-arm variant. You do this variant bent over, making it great for your lats, all of your back, your arms, and your shoulders. That might come as a surprise to you, given how easy you might find these to do.

It makes a great addition to a circuit routine and is a perfect starting place for beginners that might be working with lighter weights.

To start, position yourself with your feet hip-wide apart, and your dumbbell in your hand. Step back into a lunge, make sure you maintain a soft bend in your front knee and keep your back leg straight. Lean yourself forward and stabilize yourself by placing your hand on your thigh. Tighten your core to finish your starting position.

Slowly lower your dumbbell towards the floor until your arm is fully extended. Make sure that you’re lifting with your arm and not arching your back to make it easier. Keeping your arm close to your body, pull up with your shoulder blade, and keep doing so, driving your elbow upwards until you can’t go any further. Repeat this for as many reps as you need and change arm.

Common Dumbbell Row Mistakes

There is one common weightlifting convention that is actually a mistake when it comes to dumbbell rows. A lot of people that lift tend to like heavier weights with fewer reps. Generally, that’s normal, but it’s not what you want to do with dumbbell rows.

One of the biggest reasons to do dumbbell rows is just how many different muscle groups you’re working out in one go. When you up that weight, you’re more likely to be lifting more with your lats than the other smaller muscles that should be getting involved.

Therefore, keep it light with lots of repetitions per set. Make sure that you’re squeezing your shoulder blades during the routine and get the most out of the movement. Once you become more familiarized with the workout, then you can start thinking above, moving the weight up, and the reps down.

Another super common mistake people make with dumbbell rows is lifting with their arm instead of their shoulder. Nearly everyone has done this at one point or another. Rather than lifting with your triceps, you should be driving your shoulder blades back towards your spine.

The last few common problems just come down to incorrect form. Make sure that you’re keeping your back straight and not rounded out. You also want to make sure that you can comfortably complete your set. If you find yourself twisting and jerking your shoulder and spine while lifting, you might want to think about decreasing the weight.

What Other Ways Are There to do a Dumbbell Row?

There are dozens of different, nuanced dumbbell row variants. However, the easiest and quickest way to mix it up is to change your starting position.

If you have something you can use as a bench, you can kneel on the bench instead of stepping back into a lunge. You could also rest your free hand on a stability ball instead of your thigh in order to work more muscles in your torso and legs.

Regardless of how you change it up, you’re going to find an increase in difficulty. Don’t overdo it and injure yourself.

Can I do Dumbbell Rows with Both Arms?

Yes, you can, but just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

The only real advantage of double dumbbell rows is that you’re saving time on the exercise. Rather than three to four sets for each arm, you are getting them blasted in one go. However, remember that you need a free hand to stabilize yourself if you’re maintaining proper dumbbell row form.

Double rows compensate this by bending the knees slightly, and completely bending your back over at the hips. From this position, you get your dumbbells in a hammer grip and complete the exercise as usual.

This form is arguably more effective for your back. You’re putting more strain on yourself, so you might find that you’re getting better results. However, there is a higher chance of you hurting yourself, especially if you’re lifting heavy.

How Many Dumbbell Rows Should I Do?

The answer depends on your personal position and physique. We’re not going to recommend a first-time lift goes and rows with 30kg for 20 reps per set. In fact, we wouldn’t recommend anyone attempts that, at all.

Like we said earlier, start with plenty of reps with lighter weights. Try aim for four sets of 15-20 reps and work your way up from there. Start off with what you think you’re capable of and adjust the weight on your dumbbell accordingly.

Are Dumbbell Rows Any Good?

Of course. Dumbbell rows are a great way to work out plenty of muscles and offer a great home alternative to some of the more intensive back exercises that you might find yourself doing in the gym.

Veteran lifters might find that it’s not for them, but you don’t know until you try.

If you’re just starting on your weight lifting journey, you might find that dumbbell rows are a great addition to mix up your routine, and hit some muscle groups that your other, typical exercises are going to miss.

As always, just don’t lift more than you’re capable of. There’s no point in injuring yourself.

If You Like This Article, You’ll Like…

Here are some other dumbbell articles that you’ll find value in.

Best dumbbells for a home gym
How to use dumbbell for chest
How does your dumbbell weight translate to bench?
What dumbbell weight should I start with?
Guide to different dumbbell curls
Dumbbell Rows vs Kettlebell Rows

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