HomeExercise LibraryHow To: One Arm Dumbbell Row

How To: One Arm Dumbbell Row

One Arm Dumbbell Row

The one arm dumbbell row is a great isolation exercise for the back, and often used as a 'finisher', the last exercise performed on your back workout to burn out the muscle (the one arm dumbbell row is often the exercise of choice for this as it's quick and easy to superset or dropset unlike heavy barbell based exercises).

Movement: Isolation

Targets: Back

Required: Dumbbell, Flat Bench

Optional: Wrist Straps

One Arm Dumbbell Row Form:

Place one leg on top of your flat bench before bending your torso forward from the waist until your upper body is parallel to the floor.

Place the matching arm on the bench for additional support.

With the opposite arm while maintaining a straight back, parallel to the ground pick up your dumbbell with your palm facing toward your torso.

Pull the dumbbell up toward your chest while keeping your arm tucked in tightly against your side. Your shoulder should not jerk around at all nor should your torso change position - only the arm is involved in this pulling movement,

Slowly lower the dumbbell back down until your arm is fully extended, repeat for the desired number of repetitions before switching arms.

Common One Arm Dumbbell Row Mistakes

See also
How To: One Arm Kettlebell Press

Using Partial Range Of Motion

Each repetition should begin with your arms fully extended below your torso and end with the barbell up against your torso with your shoulder blades squeezed together.
Most guys continue to up and up the weight as their range of motion and form begins to degrade... don't be one of them.

Jerking Your Body To Complete The Repetition

The duration of the repetition should be slow and controlled, the top (contraction) portion of the repetition is by far the hardest, and if you're jerking your entire body to get the contraction this is a clear sign it's time to drop the weight down a bit.

Not Bending Over Far Enough

It's called a bent over row for a reason, you must bent forward and row into your torso, standing straight up and attempting to row will not engage the desired muscle.

Not Squeezing The Shoulder Blades Together

Every back exercise comes down to getting the correct contraction - the contraction is a result of squeezing your shoulder blades together and tensing your back muscles as you've pulled the weight towards your torso. You cannot get this contraction without squeezing the shoulder blades.

I feel as if I repeat this point far too often, however for years I was merely training my back without contracting the muscles correctly... needless to say for a few years my back lagged behind the rest of my physique in terms of both size and strength.

See also
How To: Seated Leg Curl

Here Are The ONLY Pair of Dumbbells I'll Ever Recommend...

Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Weights

Instead of buying multiple sets of dumbbells or messing around screwing weight plates on and off your dumbbells between sets and exercises the Bowflex adjustable dumbbell makes progressing with your routine and exercise so much easier and efficient.

Adjustable in 2.5lb increments all the way up to 52.5lbs per dumbbell, ideal for the beginner or intermediate gym-goer

You can invest in a pair of these dumbbells that'll last you forever here.

Similar & Substitute Exercises 

    Bent Over Row
  • Seated CableRow
  • Lat Pulldown
  • Pull-Ups

Any Questions Regarding The One Arm Dumbbell Row? Ask Below!

Scott J.
Scott J.
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

Stay in Touch

To follow the best weight loss journeys, success stories and inspirational interviews with the industry's top coaches and specialists. Start changing your life today!

Related Articles