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Movement Tip: The Dumbbell One-Arm Row

The Dumbbell One-Arm Row a staple movement for back workouts.  It’s one of the most common movements that I see when walking through a gym, and one of the most poorly performed.  Hopefully this post helps clean up some of the typical compensations that seem to occur with this exercise.

The dumbbell row is a go to exercise due to its simplicity.  But there’s a lot going on, and it’s not as easy as it looks.  To perform this movement correctly, there’s a ton of stability and core coordination that needs to take place.  I tend to see most people just focus on moving the weight, and completely forget about having a solid base.  The video below explains some of the important things to keep in mind throughout the entire movement to maximize its effectiveness and keep you safe.

Here are the key points to keep in mind while performing this movement.  Watch the video below for a full explanation and demonstration.

  • Think of keeping spine long and neutral from top of the head to tail bone
  • Fill up mid-back maintaining a supportive protraction of the shoulder blades
  • Keep space between the shoulders and ears
  • Shoulders and hips should be square with one another, don’t twist
  • Core should be engaged throughout the movement
  • Keep supporting foot flat
  • Initiate movement with a scapular retraction
  • Drive elbow up toward ceiling and pull toward your hip

Suggested Variables to Start:

2-3 sets with 60-90 seconds rest in between, 10-12 reps each side.  Take 1 second to pull up, pause for one second, slowly return to start position taking 3-4 seconds.

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