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Daniel Mesa

Chest Supported Dumbell Row: How To & Benefits

chest supported dumbbell row

Attention all health and wellness buffs! As a fitness-focused writer, I’ve had the opportunity to investigate a wide range of physical activities that can help you reach your objectives. The chest-supported dumbbell row is a terrific workout since it strengthens the back muscles while also supporting the chest.

In this post, I’ll show you how to do the exercise correctly, talk about its advantages, offer various alternatives, and give you some useful advice. What are we waiting for? Let’s dive in!

How To Do Chest-Supported Dumbell Row

Set Up

Prepare an inclined bench and place the dumbbells in front of it for easy access. Position yourself with your chest against the bench and grab the dumbbells with an overhand grip.

Initial Position

Let your arms hang straight down, ensuring a slight bend in your elbows. Maintain proper posture with your chest supported against the bench and engage your core.


Initiate the movement by retracting and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Pull the dumbbells smoothly toward your ribcage, focusing on engaging your back muscles and avoiding excessive arm involvement or momentum.


Lower the dumbbells back down in a controlled manner, maintaining tension in your back muscles and avoiding swinging or using momentum.

Repetitions and Sets

Perform the exercise for the desired number of repetitions and sets, keeping in mind your fitness level and goals. Allow sufficient rest between sets to recover and maintain form.

Our Tips

Here are a few additional tips based on my personal experience with the chest-supported dumbbell row:

Focus on your form: It’s crucial to maintain proper form throughout the exercise. Avoid using momentum to lift weights, as it can reduce the effectiveness of the workout and increase the risk of injury. Control the movement, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and pull the dumbbells towards your body in a smooth and controlled manner.

Experiment with grip variations: While the standard grip is shoulder-width apart, you can try different grip widths to target specific areas of your back. A wider grip emphasizes the outer back muscles, while a narrower grip places more focus on the inner back muscles. Mix it up and see what works best for you.

Don’t forget to breathe: Breathing properly during any exercise is essential. Inhale before pulling the dumbbells towards your body, and exhale as you release them back down. Maintaining a consistent breathing pattern will help you maintain focus and get the most out of each repetition.

Muscles Worked By Chest Supported Dumbell Row

db chest supported row

The chest-supported dumbbell row primarily targets the back muscles, including the latissimus dorsi (lats), trapezius, and rhomboids. These muscles play vital roles in various upper body movements and contribute to overall strength and aesthetics.

  1. Latissimus dorsi (lats): The lats, which run from the lower back to the middle of the back, are the biggest muscles in the upper body. They are responsible for pulling moves and help bodybuilders get the “V shape” they want.
  1. Trapezius: The trapezius is a muscle that looks like a kite. It goes from the lower neck to the middle of the back vertically and across the upper back horizontally. It starts actions and keeps the shoulder blades in place, which helps the shoulders work right.
  1. Rhomboids: The rhomboids are diamond-shaped muscles that are between the inner shoulder blades and below the trapezius. They are made up of the rhomboid major and rhomboid minor, and they help pull the shoulder blades back when you push or pull.

In addition to the key back muscles, the chest-supported dumbbell row also engages secondary muscles in the upper body and arms, including:

The biceps, which are found at the front of the upper arm, help to flex the elbow during the rowing motion. They help lift the dumbbells up, which is an important part of the exercise.

A tiny muscle deep in the upper back, the teres major helps the larger latissimus dorsi raise the humeral (upper arm bone) head.

The teres minor is a minor rotator cuff muscle that plays a crucial role. It aids in the initiation of deltoid action and contributes to shoulder stability.

Chest Supported Dumbell Row Benefits

Now that you have a better understanding of how to perform the chest-supported dumbbell row, let’s explore some of its amazing benefits:

Better back strength and posture

Doing the chest-supported dumbbell row daily helps strengthen your back muscles, which improves your posture and stability. A study in the Journal of Applied Biomechanics found that the chest-supported row exercise worked well to activate the scapular muscles, which led to better control of your posture. 

By working the muscles that pull the shoulders back and down, this exercise can counteract the bad effects of sitting for long periods of time and having bad posture.

Increased pulling strength

The chest-supported dumbbell row works the muscles that are used for pulling, so it can help you pull much harder. 

A study released in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine found that doing rowing exercises, like the chest-supported row, improved pulling strength and performance. This change can help you do exercises like pull-ups, deadlifts, and bent-over rows better, letting you lift bigger weights and move forward in your training.

Balanced upper body development

Doing dumbbell rows with your chest as support makes sure that your upper body develops in a balanced way. A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compared different types of rowing and found that the chest-supported row activated the back muscles just as much as other types of rowing.

By building up your back muscles, you can avoid muscle imbalances and lower the chance of getting hurt from overcompensating. This exercise goes well with pushing exercises like bench presses, push-ups, and shoulder presses to help you build a well-rounded body.

Common Chest Supported Dumbell Row Benefits

In addition to the individual benefits mentioned, the chest-supported dumbbell row offers other advantages that are commonly experienced by those who incorporate it into their fitness routines. These include increased muscle endurance, enhanced grip strength, improved mind-muscle connection, and reduced strain on the lower back.

Alternatives To Chest Supported Dumbell Row

While the chest-supported dumbbell row is an excellent exercise, it’s always beneficial to have alternatives in your arsenal. Here are three exercises that you can incorporate to target similar muscle groups: 

Barbell Rows

Barbell rows are a classic way to build power and muscle mass in the back. By using a barbell instead of dumbbells, you can push yourself to lift bigger weights, which will help you get stronger overall. The barbell row also works your core and lower body, making it a complex exercise that uses many different muscle groups.

T-Bar Rows

Another good way to build a strong back is to do T-bar rows. Using a T-bar row machine or a barbell propped up in the corner of a room, you can separate your back muscles and do the exercise correctly. T-bar rows are a great way to work on your middle and upper back, giving your muscles a unique way to grow.

Inverted Rows

Inverted rows are a great choice if you like to work out with your own body or want a harder alternative to the dumbbell row. Using a hanging trainer or a bar at waist height, you can imitate the motion of rowing and work your back muscles well. Inverted rows also strengthen your core, and you can easily change them to fit your exercise level.

Bottom Line On DB Chest Supported Row

The chest-supported dumbbell row is a great way to strengthen your back, improve your posture, and make your upper body more balanced. By adding this exercise to your schedule along with its alternatives, you can make a full workout plan that targets the muscles you want to work. Remember to start with smaller weights, pay attention to keeping good form, and slowly add more weight as you get better. Stay steady, push yourself, and you’ll see your back muscles get stronger day by day.

Before you start a new exercise program, make sure to talk to a fitness expert or a doctor, especially if you already have health problems or worries. Happy training!