Friday, October 2, 2015

Revamping the Dumbbell Row

Rowing movements, like the dumbbell row or the kettlebell row, are a staple in any weight training or bodybuilding program. In fact, I would venture to say that a well-developed back is a fantastic indicator of overall strength and athleticism.

When you implement these movements into your routine, you want to make sure you're getting the most bang for your buck. If you execute a dumbbell row correctly, it is an excellent exercise for improving grip strength, shoulder stability, posture, and it can also advance your other big lifts like the bench press and the deadlift!

Two of the biggest blunders I notice most on this movement are the following:

Check out the position of her supporting arm. Don't do that.

  1. Scapular retraction of the supporting arm. I mentioned this same concept on my post about perfecting the plank. Scapular retraction (when you pull the shoulder blades back), is a significantly less secure position than either scapular protraction (pushing the shoulders forward), or maintaining a neutral position somewhere in the middle. If you can see your entire shoulder blade, you're pulling from an unstable foundation.
  2. Kipping as you pull. Kipping is great for those who want to lift the most weight (for their own ego boosters), or individuals who are mostly focused on achieving more reps per set, but if you want to utilize the powerful latissimus dorsi muscles to their capacity, you're better off without it. If your main goal is strength, use a lighter weight, or do as many repetitions as you can perform with strict technique.
While the dumbbell row might seem like a pretty simple exercise, there are a lot of little nuances involved to achieve maximal contraction of the prime movers. Make these two easy fixes, and your friends and family will look at you and say "baby got back!"

Works Cited:
  1. Cressey, Eric. "Strength Training Technique: Scapular Movement During the Push-up." Eric Cressey. N.p., 9 Jan. 2013. Web. 02 Oct. 2015.
  2. Paine, Russ, and Michael L. Voight. "THE ROLE OF THE SCAPULA." International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. Sports Physical Therapy Section, Oct. 2013. Web. 02 Oct. 2015.
  3. Somerset, Dean. "Deconstructing the Dumbbell Row." Deconstructing the Dumbbell Row. N.p., 9 Sept. 2011. Web. 02 Oct. 2015.

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