What muscles does the Single Arm Row work?

The single arm row (or dumbbell row) mainly targets the latissimus dorsi (broad muscle on your upper and mid-back) but it also engages your trapezius, rhomboids (other muscles on your back) as well as your deltoids (shoulders) and even your biceps!

How to perform a single arm row?

Keep one foot flat on the floor (leg straight with slight bend on your knee) and bend the other leg, allowing your lower leg (from knee to foot) to rest on the bench. Hold a dumbbell in one hand (same side as your straight leg) and hold onto the bench with the other hand.

Now, check your form. You should see a straight line from your hips to your head. Your back is perfectly straight and you’re looking down but slightly in front of you (avoid looking straight down or up to keep your cervical spine in neutral position).

From here, bend the arm holding the dumbbell. Bring your elbow up (go above your ribs) and keep it as close as possible to your body. It’s a vertical row so you want your elbow to stay in line with your shoulders. Squeeze your shoulder blades. Get back to the starting position in a controlled movement.

Video demo

Pro tips

  • Form over ego! If you’re jerking the weight or twisting your back and shoulders then you need to use a lighter weight.

  • Place the bench in a way that will allow you to be able to check your form in the mirror so that you’ll make sure that you’re not rounding your back.

How to tell if you’re doing it right?

You should feel it on the side of your back just under your shoulder blade. If you’re feeling your shoulders more than your back then you might be swinging the way up using momentum instead of really pulling it.