Table of Contents

In this blog I will demonstrate three row exercise variations including the bent over row exercise, the one arm dumbbell row exercise, and the single leg row. Each of these row exercise variations is a dumbbell row exercise. I will also answer the question: what muscles do rows work?

Row Exercise • Three Variations

The following are the three variations of the row exercise:

  1. Bent Over Row Exercise • Active Level
  2. One Arm Dumbbell Row Exercise • Athletic Level
  3. Single Leg Row • Elite Level

What Muscles do Rows Work?

Rows work several muscle groups including muscles in the:

  1. Upper back.
  2. Buttocks.
  3. Hamstrings.

Rows also target the bones in the following areas and are an effective way to build bone strength.

  1. Hips.
  2. Spine.
  3. Wrists.

Bent Over Row Exercise • Active

The bent over row exercise is an Active level strength exercise in the Exercise for Better Bones program. It targets the upper back, buttocks, hamstrings, hips, spine and wrists.



Bent Over Row Exercise • Instructions

The following are the step-by-step instructions for the bent over row exercise — the first of three row exercise variations.

  • With bent over row exercise, you’re going to need a chair or a bench of some sort and you’re going to need a free weight.
  • You want to place one knee onto the bench.
  • The opposite foot is going to be just on the outside of the chair or bench.
  • By the way, your thighs are fairly parallel to one another. And, you’re going to flex or bend from your hips.
  • Your hand of the same side of the knee comes down onto the chair or the bench and the opposite hand is going to take hold of the free weight.
  • Now, in this position, you want to ensure that you have nice alignment so that your back of your head and mid-spine and your tailbone form a nice straight line.
  • And then, when you’re ready, grasp the weight, let it hang down, take a breath in, exhale as you squeeze your shoulder blades up toward your spine… and back down.
  • Take a breath in.
  • Exhale.
row with support

Bent Over Row Exercise • Tips

  • As you execute the movement, you will really want to ensure that you’re pulling your shoulder blades.
  • You really want to get in there and feel your shoulder blades move in towards your spine.
  • It’s quite easy to actually do this whole motion just using the muscles in the back of your shoulder.
  • Those aren’t the ones that we want to target.
  • We really want to get in and target the muscles that attach to the spine. Ensure that you have that alignment.
  • Some people find getting into the position — if their hamstrings are tight — to be quite challenging. So you may have to bend the leg that you’re supporting on a little bit more to loosen up or give you a little more flexibility through your pelvis.

Those are the tips for today on the bent over row exercise.

row exercise

Wrist Pain and Bent Over Row Exercise

There are several things you can do to reduce or avoid wrist pain when doing the bent over row exercise. Here are several strategies:

  • Keep the forearm angle in the arm holding the weight perfectly vertical so that there is less stress on the wrist.
  • Use hooks and or weight training gloves.  I have clients that have worn wrist supports until they get stronger.
  • Hold the supporting wrist in a fist and support yourself on your knuckles.
  • Resting you supporting arm on a second dumbbell placed on the bench. This keeps the wrist in a more neutral position.

One Arm Dumbbell Row Exercise • Athletic

The one arm dumbbell row exercise for Athletic level is an Exercise for Better Bones Program exercise designed to build muscle strength in the upper back, buttocks and hamstrings. It also strengthens the bones in the hips, spine and wrist. Support is provided by your hand only. In the video I demonstrate how to perform this exercise.



One Arm Dumbbell Row Exercise • Instructions

The following are the step-by-step instructions for the one arm dumbbell row exercise — the second of three variations.

  • You can either use a ball or a bench for your hand support.
  • This exercise builds nicely on the bird nod, where the fulcrum of motion is happening from the hip joint.
  • You want to transfer the weight onto the supporting leg.
  • The ball or the bench is going to be beside the supporting leg.
  • You’re going to allow the hand holding the weight to hang straight down.
  • You want to ensure that the rhomboids get engaged in this exercise, so the shoulder blade muscles.
  • With the row, take a breath in, exhale.

Single Leg Row • Elite

The single leg row is a strength exercise from the Exercise for Better Bones program specifically designed for the Elite Level. The exercise targets the muscles of the hamstrings, upper back, and buttocks. It also targets the bones in the wrist, spine and hips.



Single Leg Row • Instructions

The following are the step-by-step instructions for the single leg row — the last of three variations.

  • This exercise builds nicely on the Bird Nod but requires you to hold additional weight.
  • You’re going to bend your supportive knee.
  • The weight’s in the opposite hand.
  • Your movement is around the hip joint.
  • You drop down, keeping it bent about 20 degrees.
  • Elbow towards the ceiling as you’re doing that.
  • Shoulder blade towards the spine.
  • I demonstrate that single leg row on the opposite side.

That’s single leg row.

Osteoporosis Exercise Plan

Visit my Osteoporosis Exercise Plan page for more information on this topic.


April 26, 2017 at 1:13pm


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