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

Chest Supported Dumbbell Row with Isohold Overview

The chest supported dumbbell row with isohold is an exercise used to target the muscles of the upper back. The exercise will also indirectly target the muscles of the lats, biceps, and shoulders.

One would use the chest supported dumbbell row with isohold to isolate one side of the back, while also creating time under tension for the other side through an isometric hold.

Chest Supported Dumbbell Row with Isohold 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. Hold one dumbbell at peak contraction while completing the assigned repetitions on the other arm.
  5. Switch the isometric hold to the other arm and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Chest Supported Dumbbell Row with Isohold 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 bar 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 pulling 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.