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Bent-Over Dumbbell Row 101 Video Tutorial

Gym Main Variation Strength


Bent-Over Dumbbell Row
Bent-Over Dumbbell Row

Exercise Synopsis

Target Muscle Group

Upper Back

Secondary Targets



Force Type

Pull (Bilateral)

Required Equipment


Fitness Level











The Bent-Over Dumbbell Row is a compound exercise targeting the muscles of the upper back with secondary engagement of the abs, biceps, lats, lower back, and shoulders. To perform this exercise, stand with feet shoulder-width apart, hinge at the hips, and maintain a slight bend in the knees. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip, allowing them to hang at arm's length. Keep the back straight and chest up as you pull the dumbbells towards your hips, squeezing the shoulder blades together at the top of the movement. Lower the weights in a controlled manner to the starting position. This exercise is effective for building overall upper back strength and promoting muscle development in various key muscle groups.

How to Perform

  1. Stand with a dumbbell in each hand using a neutral grip.

  2. Hinge forward from the hips, ensuring your torso is approximately parallel to the floor or slightly above.

  3. Initiate the movement by driving your elbows backward and retracting the shoulder blades to engage the upper back muscles effectively.

  4. Pull the dumbbells towards your body, aiming for the elbows to reach or slightly pass the midline.

  5. Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position in a controlled manner, maintaining proper form.

  6. Execute the desired number of repetitions, emphasizing the engagement of the upper back, and be mindful of maintaining a neutral spine throughout the exercise.


  1. Experiment with different head positions, finding the one that suits you best, whether looking forward or maintaining a packed neck.

  2. Engage your abdominal muscles to maintain core stability, preventing excessive arching of the spine during the dumbbell row.

  3. Focus on controlling the entire range of motion in each repetition, avoiding reliance on momentum for the movement.

  4. If you sense your biceps taking over, consider using a false grip (keeping the thumb around the dumbbell) to shift emphasis back to the back muscles.

  5. Avoid letting your head jut forward during the rowing motion to maintain proper neck alignment.

  6. Ensure that the shoulder blades move along the rib cage, allowing for a full and controlled movement, rather than locking the shoulder blades down and relying solely on the glenohumeral joint.

How Not to Perform

  1. Avoid Rounded Back: Do not round your back during the row; maintain a flat or slightly arched position to prevent strain on the lower back.

  2. Do Not Overextend Neck: Avoid overextending your neck; keep it in a neutral position to prevent unnecessary stress on the cervical spine.

  3. Avoid Excessive Momentum: Don't use excessive momentum or body swing to lift the dumbbells; focus on controlled and deliberate movements to engage the targeted muscles effectively.

  4. Do Not Overuse Biceps: Avoid relying too much on your biceps; ensure that your back muscles are doing the majority of the work by controlling the movement.

  5. Avoid Forward Head Movement: Refrain from allowing your head to move forward; maintain proper alignment with your spine throughout the exercise.

  6. Avoid Locked Shoulder Blades: Don't keep your shoulder blades locked down; allow them to move along the rib cage for a full range of motion and better engagement of the upper back muscles.

  7. Prevent Excessive Arching: Avoid excessive arching of the lower back by keeping your core engaged throughout the exercise.

  8. Ensure Controlled Descent: Do not let the dumbbells drop too quickly during the descent; ensure a controlled and steady lowering to maximize muscle engagement.


Variations of fitness exercises refer to different ways of performing a specific exercise or movement to target various muscle groups, intensities, or goals. These variations aim to challenge the body differently, prevent plateaus, and cater to individuals with varying fitness levels.


Alternative exercises in fitness refer to different movements or activities that target similar muscle groups or serve the same training purpose as the primary exercise. These alternative exercises can be used as substitutes when the original exercise is unavailable or challenging to perform due to various reasons such as equipment limitations, injuries, or personal preferences.














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