Dumbbell Single Arm Row


by Devin Sarno, NSCA-CPT

Muscle Groups:  Mid-Back

Importance: The single arm row is an excellent exercise for helping build and strengthen your back muscles. It also helps address any imbalances from one side to the other. Using dumbbells also allow for a longer range of motion and deeper contraction than a barbell row.

Proper Form:

  1. Begin by finding a flat bench and placing your dumbbell on one side of the bench

  2. Place the leg opposite of the arm you intend to row with on top of the bench, while planting your other leg on the ground

  3. Bend at the waist so that your torso is about parallel to the floor

  4. Pick up the dumbbell and hold it in starting (hanging) position with a flat back and tight core

  5. Keeping your elbow close to your side and your torso stationary, pull the dumbbell straight up to toward the ceiling on the side of your chest

  6. Pull up until you reach the end range of your contraction, squeezing your mid back

  7. Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting (hanging) position in a controlled manner

  8. Repeat for desired number of repetitions; switch sides and repeat for same number of repetitions

Progression/Regression: Cable Single Arm Row, Two Arm Dumbbell Row, Chest Supported Row


  • Keep your torso stationary and parallel to the floor throughout the movement

  • Make sure your back muscles are doing the work; try not to shrug your shoulder or let your biceps and forearms take over the movement

  • Start with a weight you can control; you should not be rotating or swinging the dumbbell to complete the exercise

Sample Workout | Complete 5 times through

  • 12 Dumbbell Bench Presses

  • 10 Dumbbell Single Arm Row (per arm)

  • 10 Bench Step-ups (per leg)

  • 12 Push Ups

  • 10 Single Arm Lat Pull Downs (per arm)

  • 10 Dynamic Step Ups (per leg)