How To Do The Chest Supported Dumbbell Row

The chest supported dumbbell row is a great way of building muscle mass. This is because it incorporates one of exercise’s best hidden secrets – manipulation of stability.

If your goal is to get to the pinnacle of fitness then you understand that conquering one exercise often leads to the desire to conquer something more challenging.

As such, it is important to understand that as you grow and gain more muscle, there are certain things that are set to benefit you more than others.

This is where exercises such as the chest supported dumbbell row come in. The chest supported dumbbell row like many similar exercises puts you at an advantage if you need to add more weights to your workout.

By virtue of being so stable, it provides the mechanisms to carry heavier loads which is the first step to tangible muscle gains.


In order to get the most out of the exercise, there are a couple of things you should consider. For instance you should:

  • Experiment with head position until you find a position you’re most comfortable in.
  • Keep your abdominals tense as you pull the dumbbells into your body to ensure you don’t arch excessively through your spine.
  • Don’t allow momentum to dictate the movement, control the dumbbells throughout the entirety of each rep.
  • If you feel your biceps being overused and your back remaining under active, you can release your thumb’s grip thus unwrapping the thumb around the dumbbell.
  • As you pull the dumbbells towards your body, don’t hyperextend the thoracic spine. To avoid this, regulate your movement. You can therefore extend slightly but don’t make it too drastic.
  • Some feel more comfortable with bending their knees and positioning them on the bottom pad whereas if you have longer legs than you may want to extend your legs and plant your feet flat on the floor.
  • Don’t allow the head to jerk forward as you pull.
  • Similarly, ensure the shoulder blade moves on the rib cage. Don’t lock the shoulder blade down and just move through the glenohumeral joint.


  • Set an incline bench to a 35-degree angle. Holding one dumbbell in each hand, lie face down on the bench with both knees resting on the seat or feet planted on either side of the bench.
  • Extend your arms to hold the dumbbells directly below your chest in a neutral grip . This is your starting position.
  • Exhale. Bend your elbows to bring the dumbbells in towards your body, ensuring your elbows remain in close contact with the sides of your body.
  • You should feel a small squeeze between your shoulder blades.
  • Extend your elbows to lower the dumbbells and return to the starting position.



The latissimus dorsi is one of the instigators of the movements necessary to complete the chest supported dumbbell row.

The latissimus dorsi works closely with the pecs to facilitate lifting the dumbbell by generating power in the upper extremities.

As such, it enables you to hold your arm to extend and retract while holding weights. Consequently, the more it adapts to helping carry said weights, the stronger it gets.


This is the largest muscle in the back. It is engaged when your arms are retracted and when they are settling back into starting position.

The trap muscles are responsible for holding the strain from the weights in between this period.

They also ensure that your movements are smooth and not rushed therefore avoiding using momentum to ease the strain.



As mentioned above, the chest supported dumbbell row engages the trapezius muscle. Not only does this muscle cover the largest part of the back, it is also responsible for posture.

Therefore the weaker the trap muscle is, the worse it makes your posture look. Luckily the chest supported dumbbell row works this muscle.

It thus makes your back seem naturally straighter ensuring you have better posture.


The chest supported dumbbell row is based on a quite relaxed starting position that also enjoys a lot of support.

As such, it ensures balance in all the right regions. Consequently, this reduces the impact and strain your joints would otherwise feel if unstable



  • Lie face-up on a mat or other soft surface with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Keep your arms near your sides with your palms down.
  • Exhale and brace your core. Lift your feet off the ground and raise your thighs until they’re vertical. Keep your knees bent at 90 degrees throughout the movement.
  • Tuck your knees toward your face as far as you can comfortably go without lifting your mid-back from the mat. Your hips and lower back should lift off the ground.
  • Hold for a moment and slowly lower your feet back toward the floor until they reach the ground.
  • Repeat for at least 10-12 repetitions. Do one set to start, and increase the number of reps and sets as you get stronger.


  • Stand facing the barbell, legs about shoulder width apart, with your toes either pointed forward or slightly outwards
  • Bend your knees slightly forward, so that your shins are touching the bar. Bring your butt backwards, so that your thighs are above your knees in a half-squat position, and lift your chest up so that your entire back is tight and flat.
  • Start the movement by pressing hard through your legs. Think of it like trying to leg press the floor away from you.
  • As soon as the bar leaves the ground, thrust forward with your hips, while continuing to press through your legs at the same time, keeping your core tensed and firm.
  • Hold this position for 1-2 seconds, before lowering the weight back down to the floor in a controlled movement. Exhale.



The neck’s position is often so important while doing any exercise because it is actually just an extension of the spine.

As such the neck greatly affects the spine. An unaligned back is therefore frowned upon whenever you’re doing the chest supported dumbbell row as it could lead to serious spinal injury. This is as a result of all the strain it puts the back under.


When doing this exercise it is best advised to measure the speed of your movements. A lot of times when the strain becomes too much, we opt to use momentum to complete movements.

However, this is detrimental to reaping the full benefits of the exercise. This is as a result of reducing the amount of time  that your muscles are allowed to feel the strain.