Single Arm Dumbbell Row


Muscles used

single arm dumbbell row

The single arm dumbbell row will primarily target your lats, but will also naturally recruit your rear delts and traps and triceps.

How to perform a single arm dumbbell row

You’ll need a dumbbell and a free bench to perform this exercise.

Start by positioning yourself with one knee and one hand resting on the length of the bench.  Next, place your opposite leg firmly on the floor with your free arm holding the dumbbell.

Then, lean forward so that your torso is parallel with the floor.  Keep your back straight and hang the arm with the dumbbell in hand straight down towards the floor. 

Finally, with your core tight, bring the dumbbell up into your waist (bending your arm at your elbow).  Hold at the top for a second and then finish by releasing back down to start position through the same controlled movement.  Go for reps.

Single arm dumbbell row: Common mistakes to avoid

One of the most common mistakes seen with this exercise is pulling the weight through the shoulder.  You should pull the weight back recruiting the targeted muscles pictured above.  

Also, avoid using momentum and keep your entire body in its fixed position, moving only your elbow as you pull the weight up into your waist.

Finally, remember that sloppy form on any exercise is not recommended.  If you are performing your single arm dumbbell row with incorrect form, you may poorly engage the intended muscle groups, which will hinder your gains at best and result in injury at worst.  

Reps and sets

As with all exercises, your single arm dumbbell row needs to be worked into your overall bigger picture.  How many reps and sets you perform with each exercise depends entirely on where you are physically and your desired outcomes.

Beginners should keep it simple; 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps is an ideal starting point.  Don’t overcomplicate things early on, worry about laying a solid foundation and the rest will come with experience.

More advanced lifters should consider their current strength and goals.

Beyond the single arm dumbbell row...

Check out more back exercises and of course, be sure to track your lifts.

More back exercises coming soon...

Just so you know, this list of back exercises is a work in progress and is by no means extensive.  We will continue to grow this entire database for you over time, so be sure to check back for updates.  Alternatively, you can join our mailing list below and you’ll be the first to know about all new content we produce.


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