Dumbbell Exercises: Single Arm Dumbbell Row

Exercises involving a dumbbell are especially good because they can be done in a wide variety of different places. They do not require a full set of gym equipment and can therefore be incorporated into an at-home training program or workout schedule. The single arm dumbbell row is a great one of these exercises, although it also requires a bench or another flat surface.

The single arm dumbbell row is a great way to build up strength in your arm. It supports the bicep muscles, the triceps and lower arm muscles. Done properly, it can also help to stimulate growth of the shoulder muscles.

Exercise Basics

This exercise requires a single dumbbell and a flat bench. It’s best to use an adjustable exercise bench so that you can set the height of the bench to be an appropriate level for you, although there are plenty of other flat surfaces which will work equally well. Position yourself next to the bench and place your inside hand flat down onto the edge of the bench. The knee on the same side should rest up on the bench as well, with the rest of your leg following it and resting on the bench. The other foot should be on the ground, extended slightly behind you. Hold a dumbbell of reasonable weight in your free hand so that your back is parallel to the ground and your eyes are facing the floor.

This is the basic rest position. From here, the single arm dumbbell row involves a straight lifting motion. Lift the dumbbell up as high as comfortably possible; at the top position, your elbow should be sticking straight up. Slowly lower the dumbbell. This entire process constitutes one repetition.

Safety and Injury Prevention

One of the great benefits of the single arm dumbbell row is that the potential for injury due to a dropped weight is low. If you do drop the dumbbell by accident, it will fall to the floor and be out of the way of your body. However, that’s not to say that you can’t injure yourself as you do this exercise. For instance, if you attempt to lift a weight that is too heavy, or if you lift a weight too quickly, you’ll often find that you can cause your muscles undue stress. This can cause injury as well.


There are a number of ways that you can modify this exercise if you feel that you’ve mastered the basic positioning and fundamentals of the single arm dumbbell row. First, you can increase the amount of weight that you use. Second, you can experiment with using either an incline or a decline bench. Finally, you can modify the exercise by adding in other components, like a side raise of the dumbbell from the highest point of the lift. All of these can work other muscle groups and enhance the exercise.


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