Bench Exercises: Bent Over Row with Leg Raise

The bent over row is a great exercise to do to develop arm and shoulder strength. It is minimally stressful on the body and the risk of injury due to dropped weights is low. Additionally, it only requires the use of a single dumbbell and an adjustable bench, meaning that many people can complete this procedure at home.

There are also a great many variations of the bent over row. You can change the number of dumbbells that you use and the motions that you make. One of the more popular variations is the bent over row with a leg raise. This incorporates an element of balance into the exercise and makes for a great intermediate version after you’ve already become familiar and comfortable with the standard bent over row.

Exercise Basics

The basic position for the bent over row with leg raise is essentially the same as a standard bent over row. Stand next to a bench and place your benchside hand down onto the surface. Your benchside knee can also rest on the bench temporarily. Set up your other side so that your other foot is resting comfortably on the ground and so that you have the dumbbell in your hand and resting toward the ground as well.

Your back should be flat and your gaze should be oriented toward the floor. To get to the initial resting spot for this exercise, you should then lift up the knee that is on the bench and rotate your leg so that it is behind the other leg; thus, the only points of contact will be your benchside hand on the bench and your opposite foot on the floor.

To execute the exercise, slowly lift up the dumbbell in a straight line. At the highest point, your elbow should be above the rest of your arm. Carefully hold it there and then slowly drop it back down. This constitutes one repetition of the exercise.

Safety and Injury Prevention

If you perform the bent over row too quickly, you may cause back problems or should problems as well. For this reason, it’s important that you move slowly in order to best execute the procedure. Additionally, you should rotate the dumbbell slightly in toward your body as you lift it up. This will help to minimize the strain on your shoulder and upper arm. Keep your back flat and be sure to continue breathing properly as you perform the exercise.


Some people incorporate a leg lift into the exercise as well. Rather than keeping your leg raised throughout the exercise, you can lift up your benchside leg as you lift the dumbbell. This is an exercise in balance and coordination that can be helpful for training you in these ways if you’ve already mastered and felt completely comfortable with the standard bent over row and the bent over row with a leg raise.


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