Top Bodybuilder’s Favorite Types of Bent-Over Row (and How to Do Them with Proper Form)

Dumbbell Bent-Over Row

The dumbbell bent-over row is similar to the regular barbell row, but involves using dumbbells, usually one arm at a time.

Here’s what it looks like:


With the one-arm variation, you first place a dumbbell next to a bench. Then, choose an arm to start with and put the other hand, knee, and foot on the bench to support your upper body. Plant your other foot solidly on the floor a few feet away from the bench to provide maximum stability.

Then, lean over and grab the dumbbell with your free hand and straighten your back so it’s parallel to the floor.

Pull your shoulder blades back and down (“into your back pocket” as some people say), pull the dumbbell straight up toward your torso until it touches your stomach. Then lower the weight to the ground.

Try not to cheat by twisting your torso to jerk the weight up, as this reduces the effectiveness of the movement and may increase your risk of injury.

You can also perform the dumbbell bent-over row while standing on two feet and leaning against the dumbbell rack, like this:

dumbbell bent over row

I don’t like this style of dumbbell rowing as much as the more traditional one-arm style, however,  because it requires more balance, it forces you to lift the weight further from the floor on the first rep, and it makes it harder to keep your back straight when the weights get heavier.

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