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As you may know, there’s no shortage of rowing variations in the fitness world. You’ve got the barbell row, upright row, seated dumbbell row, bent-over row, and the list goes on. So, why should you care about yet another variation of this exercise, the chest supported dumbbell row? Well, the simple answer is that it’s one of the best exercises for really isolating your key back muscles. And as a result, it’s a great exercise to add on top of your back routine to see even better results.
Some might think I’m a little crazy, but I like to think of the chest supported dumbbell row as the straightjacket variation. Why? Well, as you’ll see in the form demonstration, this exercise forces you to only use your back muscles to row the weights up, unlike other rowing variations where other muscle groups can come into play. And for that reason, the main focus here is on having the proper form and staying slow and controlled through the motion.
The Chest Supported Dumbbell Row Setup (0:30)
To do this exercise, you’re going to need a workout bench that you can adjust to an angle of around 45 degrees. It’s also beneficial to have the seat of the bench at a slight angle as well for added support. Now, one of the keys with this exercise is, before you begin to row the weights up, make sure to engage your back muscles by bringing your shoulder blades back and together. As you’ll see in the video, they shouldn’t move from this position.
The Chest Supported Dumbbell Row Form Demonstration (1:15)
With your feet firmly planted and shoulder blades back and engaged, start the rowing motion from your back, pretending your arms are cables bringing them up. This exercise is all about isolating your rhomboids, lats, and traps, so make sure that none of the lifting is coming from your arms, only your back. If you feel tension in your arms, you might try a lighter weight in order to dial in the proper form.
Different Hand Positions & Variations (2:14)
In addition to adjusting your weight to lock in the proper form of this exercise, you can also play around with different hand positions to see if one feels better for you. There really isn’t one right answer here, it’s all about finding the setup and technique that allows you to feel the proper tension in your back the most.
Sets, Reps and Routine Recommendations For The Chest Supported Dumbbell Row (2:42)
As promised I’m going to breakdown some of the recommendations I have for you on incorporating the chest supported dumbbell row into your training. Here’s the basic overview of what you’ll discover:
– Not a primary back exercise, use a lighter weight at the end of your workout
– 3 sets of around 8-15 reps. Higher reps are great for this exercise
– Great to do at least 2 times per week, 3 sets each session
So I hope this exercise tutorial on how to do the chest supported dumbbell row correctly gave you some insight on how to get started this week. Again, if you’re looking for an exercise that strictly targets your back muscles, this exercise is a great option. You can tack it on the end of your back routine to engage the muscle group in a bigger way and start seeing more well-rounded gains.
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Your friends here at the FFP,
-Dr. Balduzzi + The Men’s Health Experts @ The Fit Father Project
**Disclaimer: This information is for reference purposes ONLY and cannot replace personal information you can and should discuss with your Doctor. If you have any concerns about your health, you should see your Doctor immediately. Results vary by individual, so we do not guarantee you will get the same results as any shown here or on our website.