The Dumbbell Row is by far one of the best upper body exercises period.
“If you wanna grow, you gotta row.”
The dumbbell row exercise will help strengthen the muscles of the upper back, lats, rear deltoids, forearms, biceps, and even the core. For an upper body exercise, the dumbbell row has almost countless benefits for nearly all strength, athletic, and fitness goals.
Benefit 1: Makes you appealing! Helps coveted V-Shape torso for the men, Hourglass shape for the women.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the aesthetic benefits of having toned back muscles. Both men and women have an improved appearance (and signals of ability) by strengthening the muscles that are targeted by the DB Row.
For men, waist to shoulder ratio is an obvious sign of attractiveness. And for women, the DB Row can strengthen the lats and upper back and give the waist a slimming appearance due to having improved muscular proportion.
Benefit 2: Dumbbell Rows are a unilateral exercise and can remedy strength and muscular imbalances between either side of the body.
Everybody has some asymmetry so it is an important part of a good strength training program to balance strength between all planes of the body. By working one side at a time, you are guaranteed to know how much that particular side can lift, without ever wondering if your body is compensating.
A fine example would be the TRX-Low Row exercise (also known as inverted row, or suspension row) that is performed with two arms. I guarantee one side does a little bit more work than the other side — and that’s okay! It’s okay because we can do unilateral exercises such as DB Rows to help clear out those imbalances.
Benefit 3: Postural benefits of Dumbbell Rows can improve shoulder health and function.
Have you ever slouched? Are you slouching right now? Well sit up a bit taller! Also, do your dumbbell rows on a regular basis because this exercise is a fine way to improve your posture.
The upper back is severely neglected by population in general. We need a strong upper back to keep the natural curvature of the spine, to keep our shoulders in a healthier alignment, and to strengthen the muscles inside and surrounding the shoulders.
A lot of fitness professionals are now telling us about how DB Rows are a superior back exercise compared to pull ups due to the fact that DB Rows are way healthier for the shoulders and do not place the shoulder into internal rotation. For good posture, do your dumbbell rows on a regular basis — this is an exercise you should have in your arsenal for the rest of your life.
Benefit 4: Makes you a stronger runner.
Dumbbell Rows can actually make you a stronger runner. People always ask me how to become a faster runner. I can do treadmill All-Outs at 16 MPH at 6% incline or higher for a full 30 seconds and I’ll tell you honestly that it’s due to practice and due to years of weight training.
I love sprinting and running in general. With sprinting, I love pumping/driving my arms because my lats are strong enough to generate force that I can transfer into the ground via my core and legs.
Even endurance running like mile runs or 5k’s are benefited greatly by having stronger back muscles. I ran my fastest mile so far at 4:56 minutes and I can tell you that despite weighing over 180 pounds of body mass, I’m able to stay light on my feet because I run over the ground, not on the ground.
Benefit 5: Will help you be better at pretty much everything else life has to offer.
I don’t have to be very creative to think of ways that having a strong back, arms, and core will carry over to pretty much anything. Even non-physical tasks are improved by the dumbbell row due to the confidence that having strength will give you.
You will also feel confidence from being able to achieve something valuable in the weight room and you will be able to take the lessons you learn while sweating over the iron into all other areas of your life.
I am very passionate about the Dumbbell Row exercise.
This is an exercise that I would prescribe for nearly all of my clients due to the numerous benefits of the DB Row.
As always, I recommend using progressive resistance techniques so that you always seek to learn, improve, grow. (Related blog post: 5 Methods of Progression that you can use to get Results Today)
Stay tuned my glorious readers!
Interesting! I had the impression that this exercise was always over-hyped.
I can see why you’d say that, it’s one of the first exercises for the back that anybody really hears about. Let’s say that somebody did DB rows religiously starting with 30 lbs and over the years worked up to 100 lbs for reps with good form, they will have built a somewhat impressive back and certainly gained inches to their biceps in the process. So it’s a great thing to focus on increasing your strength in. I also like the cable rows, but no machine can give me that same feeling as dumbbells.