Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredDumbbell
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePull (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
    Biceps, Lats, Shoulders
Target Muscle Group

Upper Back

Upper Back Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Neutral Grip Chest Supported Dumbbell Row Overview

The chest supported dumbbell row is a variation of the dumbbell bent over row and an exercise used to build back muscle and strength.

The back is a muscle group that requires a fair amount of variation. So, experiment with several different angles and hand positions to maximize your back muscle growth.

Rows are a foundational movement pattern and are very important to train for balanced muscle growth and strength. So, experiment until you find a rowing variation that you enjoy and work on it.

The chest supported dumbbell row can be performed during your back workouts, upper body workouts, pull workouts, and full body workouts.

Neutral Grip Chest Supported Dumbbell Row Instructions

  1. Position an adjustable incline bench at 45 degrees and lie prone on the bench.
  2. Grab a dumbbell in each hand utilizing a neutral grip and then begin the movement by driving the elbows behind the body while retracting the shoulder blades.
  3. Pull the dumbbells towards your body until the elbows are at (or just past) the midline and then slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position under control.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Neutral Grip Chest Supported Dumbbell Row Tips

  1. Experiment with head position and see which option (looking forward vs. packing the neck) works better for you.
  2. Keep some tone through your abdominals as you pull the dumbbells into your body to ensure you don’t arch excessively through your spine.
  3. Don’t allow momentum to dictate the movement, control the dumbbells throughout the entirety of each rep.
  4. If you feel your biceps being overused and your back remaining under active, consider utilizing a false grip (i.e. don’t wrap the thumb around the dumbbell).
  5. As you pull the dumbbells towards your body, don’t hyperextend the thoracic spine by pull your entire upper torso off the bench. You can extend slightly but don’t make it too drastic.
  6. Some feel more comfortable with bending their knees and positioning them on the bottom pad whereas if you have longer legs than you may want to extend your legs and plant your feet flat on the floor.
  7. Don’t allow the head to jut forward as you pull.
  8. Similarly, ensure the shoulder blade moves on the rib cage. Don’t lock the shoulder blade down and just move through the glenohumeral joint.
Posted on: Tue, 04/23/2024 - 23:54

Can I use a stability ball in lieu of a bench press? Also, I do cardio kickboxing, can I do the weights after the workout or will that not work together?

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Posted on: Sat, 04/27/2024 - 20:49

I would suggest you need a big ball, and it should be solid enough to hold your weight and the dumbbbell weight if you were to try that.

If you were to do kickboxing, I would suggest doing weights first. You will be more likely to burn calories doing cardio after weights instead of before.

Posted on: Thu, 05/06/2021 - 16:07

Are there any alternatives to this exercise that only uses body weight or dumbbells besides standing bent over dumbbell rows?

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Posted on: Fri, 05/07/2021 - 09:34

Hey Trye - you can try a renegade row: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/renegade-row

Nick Dodds
Posted on: Thu, 02/25/2021 - 19:55

I feel like my chest gets crushed from the weight every time I do this. Is there any way to stop that? Thanks

Hillary Ryan
Posted on: Tue, 04/27/2021 - 17:06

I find this a big issue for women too.

Posted on: Sat, 02/06/2021 - 05:48

Hi, any way to do this without a bench? I dont have one :(

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Posted on: Mon, 02/08/2021 - 14:09

Hey Bence - you can do standing bent over dumbbell rows.

Posted on: Thu, 12/24/2020 - 21:33

My bench is much smaller. I only have support up to my upper abdomen. It that acceptable?

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Posted on: Mon, 12/28/2020 - 09:53

Hey Sam - the bench needs to support your chest

Posted on: Tue, 12/08/2020 - 07:15

Can you do this exercise on a flat bench?

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Posted on: Tue, 12/08/2020 - 13:32

Hey Aryan - yes, however, the flat bench may be too short and will not allow you to fully extend your arms

Posted on: Mon, 09/07/2020 - 07:11

what's the angle of the bench? (+is the small adjustable section of the bench necessary? if so, what angle should it be adjusted to?)

I have the same question on the 'Incline Dumbbell Bench Press' in this link(what bench angel is needed for that exercise?) https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/incline-dumbbell-bench-press...

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Posted on: Fri, 09/25/2020 - 16:37

Hey Tom - the bench is at a 45-degree angle in both this exercise and the Incline Dumbbell Bench Press video. And no, there is not a need for the small adjustable section of the bench. Hope that helps!

Ninja turtle
Posted on: Mon, 08/17/2020 - 06:30

Hey, is it ok to do this with feet on the ground ?, actually I incline my flat bench so it won't be to keep legs like that.

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Posted on: Mon, 08/17/2020 - 09:08

That's perfectly okay to perform these with feet on the ground.

vikas kumar gupta
Posted on: Thu, 08/06/2020 - 10:50

is there any substitute for chest supported dumbbell row can i do it on flat bench???

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Posted on: Mon, 08/10/2020 - 11:19

Hey Vikas

There is an alternative, here's the link!

Posted on: Wed, 07/08/2020 - 11:55

What angle is best for this? 30°? Or 45°?

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Posted on: Mon, 08/10/2020 - 11:21

Great question David

I like to alternate the angle every so often. I get a better contraction in my upper back with a 45° angel, and I feel a better contraction in my mid-back with the 30° angel. Try both and see which you can feel better.

Posted on: Sat, 05/25/2019 - 19:54

I don't have a bench at my home what would you recommend ive been doing incline and decline pushups to sub for these is that ok or what would you work?

Posted on: Tue, 06/02/2020 - 03:33

I'm no expert but, I think u just need to bend over to simulate the position