Exercise of the Week: One Arm Dumbbell Rows


The primary muscles stressed in this movement are the muscles in your upper back (latissimus dorsi and rhomboids). The secondary muscles stressed are the shoulders and biceps.

Starting Position

Place your left knee on a flat bench and place your left hand approximately 2 to 2 1/2 feet ahead of your knee. Place your right foot approximately 2 to 3 feet out from your left knee. Grab a dumbbell in your right hand and extend your arm down toward the floor. Push your chest out toward the floor and squeeze your shoulder blade toward the center of your back. Your back must be parallel to the floor.


Pull the dumbbell up to your hip or where designated by the trainer. Keeping your elbow close to your body, squeeze your shoulder blade toward the center of your body. Take 2 to 3 seconds to lower the dumbbell down to the extended position. Reverse the positioning for the left side.

Training Tips

  • Be sure to have your legs at least 2 feet apart to establish a firm base of support.
  • Keep your chest out and shoulders back, and keep your back parallel to the floor to help isolate the lats and rhomboids.


  • You can vary the area of the back this exercise stresses by bringing the dumbbell to your hip or to the mid rib area.

Warning Tips

  • Do not let your shoulder drop as you lower the dumbbell. Failure to do so can result in serious injury to your shoulder.
  • Do not twist your upper body as you raise and lower the dumbbell. Failure to do so can result in serious injury to your back.
  • Do not excessively arch your back when holding it parallel to the floor. Failure to do so can result in injury to your back.
  • Do not lower the dumbbell any faster than 2 to 3 seconds. You must be in control at all times during this movement. The faster you perform this movement, the less control you will have, which in turn will increase your risk of injury.


Robert Bovee Certified Master PPT, RTS, ETS, FTS

As one of the most successful Professional Personal Trainers and Exercise/Fitness Therapists in the United States, Robert continues to remain at the forefront of the industry by providing his clients with a thorough education and the tools to implement that education. By improving his client’s physical health, strength, endurance, cardiovascular fitness and nutritional habits, he is able to motivate them to lead longer, happier and more productive lives.


Guest authors offer experience and educational insights based on their specific area of expertise. These authors are contributing writers for the NFPT blog because they have valuable information to share with NFPT-CPTs and the fitness community at-large. If you are interested in contributing to the NFPT blog as a guest, please send us a note expressing your interest and tell us how you can contribute valuable insights to our readers. We look forward to hearing from you! Send to [email protected]