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How to Do Rows for a Bigger Stronger Back

Dumbbell Row Technique

Rows are an outstanding way to build a big strong back, to maintain antagonistic balance at the shoulder, as well as for strengthening the hands. There are many variations to choose from, using both barbells and dumbbells.

However, many trainees develop bad habits with Rows which can lead to shoulder problems, rotator cuff issues and other conditions that are better prevented than trying to rehabilitate them. That is why it is important to do this lift correctly in order to pack on muscle and maximize strength gains.

In this video, I cover the proper technique of performing the Side Dumbbell Row version, which is commonly used for isometrically training the lats, rhomboids, traps, posterior delts and other parts of the upper back.

Reminder of major points:

  • Perform the “Shoulder Suck” Retraction prior to performing any repetitions in the Row.
  • Maintain this Retraction throughout the set
  • If the shoulder muscles fatigue and allow the shoulder to seep forward, either retract again for the rest of the set, or terminate the set all together and regroup for the next one.

Right behind Pull-ups, Row Variations are one of the main muscle builders for the back, and everyone should do them, but doing them improperly can hang you out to dry and leave you susceptible for shoulder problems down the road.

All the best in your training.


P.S. To see ways to modify rows for even bigger strength gains, check out this post = > Rows for a Bigger Back and Stronger Grip

Stronger Grip

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6 Responses to “How to Do Rows for a Bigger Stronger Back”

  1. Matt Says:

    Great post Jedd, not something people normally think about! I will know be performing a checklist run down before I complete this or any row variation for that matter.

  2. Tracy Mangold Says:

    Thanks for this! I love doing rows but realize I’ve been doing them wrong once I watched this. Can’t wait to workout and try it this way. It definitely seems to isolate that area more than the “other” way.

  3. Eric Moss RKC Says:

    excellent info. i had pretty nearly forgotten how much i enjoy that form of rowing

  4. Rich Says:

    That’s a great post Jedd. What are your thoughts on using an off-set barbell for one-arm rows over DB’s? I’ve been experimenting with these for a few weeks and as well as making my lats and rhoms nice and sore, I find it really hits my obliques too.

  5. Jedd Johnson Says:

    I am sure they are very effective. I have only done them a handful of times in my life.

  6. Jedd Johnson Says:

    The other way involves a lot of throwing and momentum. This way puts much more concentration on the lats and posterior delts as well as the rhomboids.

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