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

Upper Back

Upper Back Muscle Anatomy Diagram

One Arm Dumbbell Row Overview

The one arm dumbbell row is a variation of the dumbbell 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 one arm dumbbell row can be performed during your back workouts, upper body workouts, pull workouts, and full body workouts.

One Arm Dumbbell Row Instructions

  1. Assume a standing position while holding a dumbbell in one hand with a neutral grip.
  2. Hinge forward until your torso is roughly parallel with the floor (or slightly above) and then begin the movement by driving the elbow behind the body while retracting the shoulder blade.
  3. Pull the dumbbell towards your body until the elbow is at (or just past) the midline and then slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position under control.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions on both sides.

One Arm Dumbbell Row Tips

  1. Experiment with head position and see which option (looking forward vs. packing the neck) works better for you.
  2. Fight the urge to use your opposing arm to brace against your leg or any other implement.
  3. Keep some tone through your abdominals as you pull the dumbbell into your body to ensure you don’t arch excessively through your spine.
  4. Don’t allow momentum to dictate the movement, control the dumbbells throughout the entirety of each rep.
  5. 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).
  6. Don’t allow the head to jut forward as you pull.
  7. Similarly, ensure the shoulder blade moves on the rib cage. Don’t lock the shoulder blade down and just move through the glenohumeral joint.
23 Comments
John
Posted on: Tue, 07/06/2021 - 13:51

Hello so to clarify should I do 3 sets of 6-12 reps for each arm?

M&S Team Badge
Abigail
Posted on: Wed, 07/07/2021 - 09:42

Hey John - depending on the specific workout, yes, that should be the case.

Dylan
Posted on: Fri, 04/02/2021 - 17:48

Any reason not to do this on both arms simultaneously?

M&S Team Badge
Abigail
Posted on: Tue, 04/06/2021 - 09:33

Hey Dylan - that is a different exercise which you can find here: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/exercises/bent-over-dumbbell-row.html

Ali Khattab
Posted on: Wed, 02/24/2021 - 13:26

This hurts my lower back, is that normal? what am I doing wrong. Also I am doing these after a squat workout so I find this stance hard on my thighs.

M&S Team Badge
Abigail
Posted on: Thu, 02/25/2021 - 09:52
Robert B. Mille...
Posted on: Wed, 10/21/2015 - 00:14

Get exercise but the demonstration shows improper form... Try not bouncing at the top.. The weight is slightly heavy and loses some focus on the main muscle isolation. Also the head and neck are not aligned causeing undo stress on the thoracic spine. And the back isn't aligned properly. The back should be straight and aligned.

Bobbaft
Posted on: Mon, 01/13/2014 - 14:22

@Yogesh verma: Hopefully it will work better than your keyboard and grammar teacher put together.

Yogesh verma
Posted on: Mon, 07/08/2013 - 12:50

Kee ur hand aligning to your hand downwards den pull it to your waist / weight should come up in dis angle / den this thing ll really work very well.....

Yogesh verma
Posted on: Mon, 07/08/2013 - 12:49

All of you plz pay attention to it... START FROM D DUMBELL KEEPING ON D ALIGNMENT OF YOUR HAND DOWNWARDS DEN PULL IT TO YOUR WAIST..... Dis way it gonna work really good

Shannon Macri
Posted on: Mon, 06/17/2013 - 00:08

The man in the video is performing the exercise with just his arm. Amazing how 75% of even fitness experts perform this exercise all wrong. Typical of the "Machine" generation. Terrible demonstration of such a basic "Back" exercise.

Sam
Posted on: Wed, 04/03/2013 - 05:10

i do dis excercise every week...bt i didn't see ny spl results

J
Posted on: Mon, 01/28/2013 - 11:07

ConArtist: I've been using my couch table for about 6 months now lol, it works great.

ConArtist
Posted on: Mon, 01/14/2013 - 18:42

Any other way of doing this work out? I have no bench right now

gambit
Posted on: Mon, 02/11/2013 - 14:32

use a chair/chairs.

Richard
Posted on: Sun, 09/16/2012 - 13:43

this feels like a bicep workout to me. i dont really feel anything in my back or shoulders. is this normal or is my form probably wrong? and should we have most of our weight on our arm and leg on the bench? or on the foot? or even?

dirtnap63
Posted on: Tue, 09/25/2012 - 11:13

Really concentrate on pulling back and up with your middle back and lats. I find this exercise most effective when using lighter weights and lifting to burn reps, focusing on form.

Rick
Posted on: Sat, 10/06/2012 - 05:20

Your probably lifting too much weight for your form!

ben
Posted on: Thu, 12/20/2012 - 15:48

my strength and conditioning coach always tells me when i go down over extend until i feel the muscle contract, and it is also better to actually whening going down let your arm go under the bench and hold then pull back up as high as possible. hope this helps best of luck

VOnapeti
Posted on: Fri, 02/22/2013 - 23:30

Your doin somethin wrong dude. FOcus on the back., pull with the back :D
Go with light till you go right(form) :D

Samsam
Posted on: Sat, 04/27/2013 - 12:26

ACTUALLY YOU WILL FEEL IT AND YOU'LL GET PUMP IN YOUR BACK... AS LONG AS YOU HAVE YOUR BLADES COME UP YOUR MUSCLE AND MIND CONNECTION IS GOOD. :)

Ben
Posted on: Tue, 06/19/2012 - 20:15

Should the weight come up to the hip?

amir
Posted on: Tue, 05/01/2012 - 14:28

Your shoulder blades should be pulled back throughout the set.

Free Workouts & Expert Advice

Get a weekly email with the latest workouts, tools, expert guides and deals from M&S.