Welcome to Modify This Move, a series that will provide you with all the information you need to modify a common exercise to suit your needs, your body, and your mood. Each tale explains a fundamental fitness action in detail before offering a variety of variations based on your current level of fitness or energy, any current or past ailments, or the muscles you wish to focus on the most. So leave your ego at the door and make sure every workout is appropriate for where you are right now.
It can be tempting to ignore more discrete muscle groups, such as your upper back, when muscular legs that can deadlift heavy weight plates and abs that can withstand viral plank challenges are all the rage in the fitness world. But since these muscles are used for practical, daily activities like lifting laundry baskets off the floor and opening heavy doors, skipping back day may have an impact on how you function.
How might you make sure your upper back gets the attention it merits? Kristie Larson , a NASM-certified personal trainer and body-neutral strength coach in New York, advises incorporating dumbbell rows, which entail hunching at the hips and bringing two dumbbells up to your ribcage, into your workout regimen. According to Larson, the conventional workout focuses mostly on your rhomboids and lats, which draw the shoulder blades in toward the spine and assist stretch and rotate the shoulders and arms. She adds that in order to support your lower back and keep it from rounding while you’re in a hinged position, the exercise also calls for core engagement.
There are many accessible dumbbell row modifications you may execute to reap those benefits if the traditional dumbbell row sounds too uncomfortable, simple, or challenging for you. For instance, a dumbbell row variant that involves body support from a bench might be tried by novice weightlifters who wish to perfect their form and experienced lifters who are ready to increase their load. Similar to this, people can use several dumbbell row variations to gradually achieve their aims of correcting their muscular imbalances or propensity to slouch. Additionally, dumbbell row modifications that are intended to prevent any sensitivity from worsening can be tried by people with lower back difficulties. It should go without saying, but there’s nothing wrong with altering a motion to make sure it complements your own requirements and fitness objectives.
Are you prepared to try the upper-body exercise and start improving your posture? Watch as Larson explains how to switch up the exercise with six different dumbbell row variants she revealed that work for all abilities and fitness objectives after following the guidelines below to master the standard dumbbell row.
A. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with the palms facing inward while standing with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides. Gently bending the knees
B. While simultaneously lowering the dumbbells to the floor with straight arms, hinge at the hips until your chest is almost parallel to the floor and your back is flat. Pull the shoulders away from the ears and down. This is where everything begin.
C. Pull the dumbbells back toward your hips while maintaining a flat back and a strong core. Keep your elbows tightly bent near to your torso and stop when they touch your ribs.
D. To return to the starting posture and lower the dumbbells to the floor, slowly extend your elbows.
Don’t be afraid to try a different dumbbell row variant that meets you where you are if you do the standard exercise and discover that it isn’t advancing your fitness goals or simply doesn’t make you feel your best.
Dumbbell row variations are provided here that scale the exercise up or down as well as those that focus on particular fitness objectives including better posture, increased biceps strength, and repaired muscular imbalances. Additionally, Larson offers many dumbbell row variations that are more comfortable if you have lower back pain. Regardless of which option you pick, keep listening to your body as you go through your reps, and if anything doesn’t feel right, try a different activity.
In order to grip a piece of paper or squeeze a lemon, envision doing each dumbbell row variation while pulling your elbow to just outside of your ribs, advises Larson. These indications will make sure you’re getting the most out of the workout, protecting your shoulders, and appropriately working your lats and rhomboids, she says.
BENCH-SUPPORTED ROW IS A DUMBBELL ROW VARIATION TO SCALE DOWN. People who are just starting out with exercise or who have taken a break from it might wish to start with this dumbbell row exercise. “It’s more beginner-friendly because it lessens the pressure on your core muscles,” claims Larson. “You don’t have to work quite as hard to stabilize, and you can really focus on mastering the motion of the row without putting any additional stress on your lower back.” She adds that the exercise can also be helpful if you want to try lifting heavier weights or if you have tight hamstrings that prevent you from properly hinging at the hips. According to Larson, using a bench-supported row can enable you to lift bigger weights, which is another approach to advance the technique.
A. Hold a dumbbell in your left hand, palm facing inward, while standing next to a flat exercise bench with your arms at your sides. Lay your right knee flat on the bench with your toes hanging over the side. Gently flex the left knee.
B. Hinge at the hips until the right hand is resting on the exercise bench, the back is flat, and the chest is almost parallel to the floor. The left arm should be stretched all the way to the ground. Pull the shoulders away from the ears and down. This is where everything begin.
C. While maintaining a flat back and a tight core, slowly bend the left elbow to pull the dumbbell back toward the hips. Keep your elbows close to your body and pause when your elbow touches your ribs.
D. To return to the starting position and lower the dumbbell to the floor, slowly extend your elbow. On the other side, repeat.
RENEGADE ROW AS A DUMBBELL ROW VARIATION TO LEVEL UP Try the renegade row when you’re ready to increase the core difficulty. As your lower back tries to rotate and expand while you row on a high plank, says Larson, this dumbbell row variant tests your stability. Your entire trunk is thus put to the test in order to support you in the plank position, in addition to the muscles in your upper back.
A. Position two dumbbells on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Start on a tabletop with your hands holding a dumbbell in each hand and your shoulders placed over them. Straight beneath the hips, the knees are bent.
B. To get into a high plank position on your palms, step back one leg at a time. Shoulders should be between the feet. Activate your glutes, quads, and core, and slightly tuck your tailbone. Pulling shoulders away from ears and downward
C. While maintaining a flat back and a tight core, slowly bend the right elbow to move the dumbbell toward the hip. Keep your elbow tightly bent next to your body and stop when it touches your ribs. Avoid swaying to the side and maintain solid hips.
D. To return to the starting position and lower the dumbbell to the floor, slowly extend the right elbow. On the other side, repeat.
WIDE-GRIP ROW IS A DUMBBELL ROW VARIATION TO IMPROVE POSTURE. As it targets some of the smaller muscles in and around your shoulder blades, like the middle and lower traps and deltoids, that are involved in posture, practicing this dumbbell row variation will help you stand tall and slouch-free, according to Larson. Additionally, she continues, the exercise strengthens the muscles that support your shoulders, which may be helpful for those who have a history of shoulder pain.
A. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides. Gently bending the knees
B. While simultaneously lowering the dumbbells to the floor with straight arms, hinge at the hips until your chest is almost parallel to the floor and your back is flat. Turn hands toward body and lower shoulders away from ears. This is where everything begin.
SINGLE-ARM ROW IS A DUMBBELL ROW VARIATION TO FIX MUSCULAR IMBALANCES You may concentrate on exercising your shoulder joint through its complete range of motion by executing dumbbell rows with just one arm at a time, according to Larson. This can assist develop the flexibility and resilience of the muscles that surround your shoulder blade. She continues, “Really what helps keep the shoulder happy and healthy is moving it through its whole range of motion. Additionally, working out one side at a time will assist correct any potential muscle imbalances. Because you’ve been using one hand more than the other every day of your life, imbalances are inevitable, she says. Therefore, in order to develop pure strength on one side, it’s crucial to train each side separately from the others.
A. Hold a dumbbell in your left hand with the palm facing inward while you stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides. Gently bending the knees
B. While simultaneously lowering the dumbbell to the floor with straight arms, hinge at the hips until your chest is almost parallel to the floor and your back is flat. Pull the shoulders away from the ears and down. This is where everything begin.
C. Pulling the dumbbell back toward the hips while maintaining a flat back, a tight core, and an extended right arm. Keep your left elbow tightly tucked in next to your body and pause when it touches your ribs.
D. To return to the starting position and lower the dumbbell to the floor, slowly extend the left elbow. On the other side, repeat.
INCLINE ROW AS A DUMBBELL ROW VARIATION FOR LOWER BACK PAIN Try this dumbbell row variant if you have sensitive lower back muscles or experience pain while you are in a hinged position, advises Larson. She explains that the bench is supporting some of your weight and allowing you to achieve the hinge’s forward angle without really hinging. She goes on to say that the backrest of your bench should be angled between 45 and 60 degrees.
A. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with the palms facing inward while seated on a workout bench with the backrest at a 45 to 60 degree angle. Legs should be extended behind body in a straight line from heels to head as you lean your torso against the backrest to align your chest’s top with the top of the bench. Pulling the shoulders down and away from the ears while lowering the dumbbells to the ground with straight arms. This is where everything begin.
B. While maintaining core stability, slowly flex elbows to bring the dumbbells back to the hips. Keep your elbows tightly bent near to your torso and stop when they touch your ribs.
C. To bring the dumbbells back to the floor and get back to the beginning position, slowly extend the elbows.
REVERSE-GRIP ROW AS A DUMBBELL ROW VARIATION TO TARGET BICEPS Your palms will face forward rather than inward when performing this dumbbell row variation, a little change that, according to Larson, targets the biceps. This is a really nice row variation, she continues, “if you wanted to have one that really hits your biceps and they can actively work.”
B. While simultaneously lowering the dumbbells to the floor with straight arms, hinge at the hips until your chest is almost parallel to the floor and your back is flat. Turn hands to face forward and lower shoulders away from ears. This is where everything begin.
Anthony Cunanan took the pictures. Jenna Brillhart is the director of art. Kristie Larson, a fitness professional and model Makeup and hair: Tee Chavez Girlfriend Collective, activewear Exercise machine: Ignite by SPRI