The prone dumbbell row is a great compound exercise that targets most of the upper back muscles and biceps. The movement only requires a pair of dumbbells and an incline bench. You will need to lie on the incline bench at a 30-to-45-degree angle.
Pressing your body against the incline bench, supports it and makes it difficult to cheat or swing as you lift the dumbbells. Moreover, it ensures that you work your upper back with minimal strain on your lower back and hips which already feel the heavy impact from squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses
Alternating this move with bent over rows or cable rows will help you attain optimal results as it targets the same muscles. However, people with a large chest or abdomen may feel uncomfortable while performing the movement.
HOW TO DO PRONE DUMBBELL ROW
Here is a step-by-step procedure of how to perform the exercise:
- Lie face down with your chest pressed against an incline bench at a 30-to-45-degree angle. Hold a pair of dumbbells on both hands and let them hang beneath you using a neutral grip. Create a full stretch in your lats.
- Keeping your spine and your head up, row the weights towards your chest by pulling your elbow up and back, and bringing your shoulder blades together. Do not flare your elbows any more than 4 degrees from your torso.
- Hold your breath for a while at the top of the movement before slowly lowering the weights back to the starting position.
- Repeat for the desired number of sets and reps.
PRONE DUMBBELL ROW MUSCLES ENGAGED
The exercise engages several muscles in synergy.
Rhomboids are the primary muscles targeted. They are the upper and middle back muscles that help to squeeze your shoulder blades together. They are able to do this alongside the middle and upper regions of the trapezius.
The latissimus dorsi is a one of the largest back muscles that extends behind the ribs. It helps during arm adduction and extension.
The posterior deltoid, infraspinitus, teres major and teres minor are all smaller muscles that mobilize the shoulder. During the movement, they assist with the squeezing backward movement.
The forearm, the brachialis and brachioradialis, are responsible for gripping the weight as well as wrist flexion and supination.
The lower pectoralis major of the chest helps with controlling the weight as you lower it.
The biceps and triceps help to stabilize the joints as you row and are also crucial in elbow flexion and forearm rotation.
The scapular stabilizers, which surround your shoulder blades, also assist in shoulder joint function.
Finally, the spinal erectors, which run along the length of the spine, help with straightening your back.
PRONE DUMBBELL ROW BENEFITS
PREVENTS DOWAGER’S HUMP
This effective movement helps to strengthen the muscles responsible for pulling your shoulder blades together. Consequently, it prevents Dowager’s hump, which is also more commonly known as a hunched back.
BUILDS A STRONGER BACK.
As discussed above the target majorly focuses on back muscles such as the latissimus dorsi, posterior deltoids, teres major, trapezius, and rhomboids. This in turn strengthens these muscles leading to a stronger back with time.
INCREASES GRIP STRENGTH.
Strengthened forearm, brachialis and brachioradialis, improve your grip strength. So, if you’re a beginner in lifting, the movement is a great place to start. You can also use the exercise as warm-up to other compound lifting exercises that use much heavier weights like the deadlifts and bench presses.
REDUCED ABILITY TO CHEAT.
Lying face down on the incline bench with your chest pressed against it, significantly reduces your chances of using momentum. This forces the lower lat to do the brunt of the work making its isolation easier. This is unlike the barbell row, where you are allowed to stand upright or the one-arm dumbbell row, that you can cheat by just swinging the weight up.
PRONE DUMBBELL ROW ALTERNATIVES
SEATED CABLE ROW
SHORTENED CABLE ROW
The Shortened Cable Row is a great all-round movement that develops your lats and forearms muscles.
BENT-OVER DUMBBELL ROW
The Bent-over Dumbbell Row is quite a challenging exercise. Even more challenging that it’s single-arm counterpart since you will be lifting two dumbbells at the same time. Besides, you won’t use a bench for support in this move. It works and strengthens your lower back and trapezius muscles for pulling motion of your shoulders. If building muscle mass or increasing strength is your goal then, this is a better exercise than even the one-arm dumbbell row.
ONE-ARM DUMBBELL ROW
The One-arm Dumbbell Row is a great add to any dumbbell workout. It works the upper and lower back, shoulders, biceps, and hips. Moreover, it strengthens core stability. Since it only works one side of your back at a time, it’s excellent for correcting any muscle imbalances you may have in your back. Novice lifters may utilize light weights as they build strength. This is also a great addition to a circuit training regimen.
PRONE DUMBBELL ROW MISTAKES TO AVOID
USING TOO MUCH WEIGHT
Do not use too much weight as it will hinder the exercise or even seriously hurt your shoulders. You can tell the dumbbells are too heavy if you are not able to squeeze your shoulder blade muscles at the top of the movement. If this is the case, choose a more suitable dumbbell weight that lets you do this.
LIFTING YOUR CHEST OFF THE BENCH
Even though it is almost impossible to cheat on this exercise, some people have found a way by lifting their chest away from the bench to get some momentum. Using momentum is not using the correct form to do the exercise. In order to maximumly activate and strengthen the lower lats, you need to use strict form in the performance of this exercise.
In conclusion, the prone dumbbell row is a great start to your fitness journey. Ensure, you use the correct technique to obtain maximum results and prevent injuries. Otherwise, it will open doors to even greater lifting moves like the deadlifts and bench presses.