Dumbell Row is one of the best lat-building
exercises you can do. If you knew of a
way to be able to not only perform it
with heavier weight but in a far safer
manner for your lower back, would you
just what you're looking for: a simple body-positioning
trick that will INSTANTLY allow you to use much
heavier weight with good form without compromising
the health of your lower back.
typical one-arm dumbell row is done on a bench
with one knee placed on the end, one hand set
forward on the bench to brace the upper body and
the other foot planted solidly beside the bench.
The lower back should be arched and tight and
the head should be looking somewhat up and forward.
position is absolutely fine for the back and body
when you are in it without weight. Now let's add
a dumbell and see what happens.
you are taught to hold the dumbell in your hand,
let it stretch forward a little then bring it
up along the outside of your thigh and up towards
your hip. Nothing wrong with that, right?
Bringing the dumbell up along the outside of your
thigh can not only greatly limit the amount of
weight you're able to use safely for this exercise,
it can also compromise the safety of your lower
back. The technique I'm about to show you will
TOTALLY eliminate these problems, making the exercise
safer and making your immediately stronger in
How can I go against the teachings of decades
of exercise instruction? Easy, I do it every day.
Quite often, it actually ends up being a lot better
the technique? Instead of placing your foot beside
the bench and bringing the dumbell up along the
outside of your thigh, set your foot out wide
to the side and bring the dumbell up along the
INSIDE of your thigh (your knee should be slightly
bent when you do this).
doesn't sound earthshattering but you'll notice
an IMMEDIATE difference in how the exercise feels.
You will feel stronger and more stable right away.
One Arm Row Position
Note how the
dumbell is held on the outside of the leg.
This places it outside of your base of support
for the exercise.
One Arm Row Position
Note how the
leg is now set off to the side. This places
the dumbell inside your base of support,
dramatically increasing your stability and
allowing you to use much more weight safely.
you examine the standard performance of this exercise,
you'll see one glaring problem...
resistance is placed entirely OUTSIDE of your
base of support during the movement. Your base
of support is formed by your legs and your arm
on the bench. When the resistance is outside of
your base of support, i.e. the dumbell coming
up the outside of your thigh, your body must attempt
to counterbalance this torque with your lower
you're using lighter weights, it doesn't matter
so much as the resistance is not enough to really
cause problems. Imagine, however, trying to do
a one-arm dumbell row with a dumbell that weighs
almost as much as you do. Think you'll be able
to hold that outside your thigh and not fall over
or severely injure your back?
setting your foot out wide (like an angled brace
holding up a retaining wall), you immediately
widen your base of support, making yourself far
more stable and increasing your power. Bringing
the resistance up INSIDE of your base of support
allows you to instantly use much heavier weight
without the dangerous, unbalanced torque on your
lower back and body.
angle shows the top position of the movement.
Placing your leg out to the side also helps
you get a better contraction at the top by
keeping you balanced, allowing you to focus
on the contraction instead of not falling
this technique allowed me to perform 3 reps (with
good form) with a home-made 210 pound dumbell.
This dumbell weighed 20 pounds more than I did
at the time.
you try this technique and are able to starting
moving heavier weights, be absolutely sure you
keep a tight arch in your lower back. DO NOT allow
it to round over at all. Rounding your lower back
not only decreases the effect of the exercise
on the lats, it also immediately relaxes the muscles
of the spine that work to stabilize the spine.
The result: possible immediate injury. Keep it
arched and keep it tight.
this positioning technique a try in your next
back workout. You will notice an immediate difference
in how the exercise feels and realize an immediate
increase in the amount of weight you are able
to handle with it.
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