The Bent-Over Dumbbell Row is a great alternative exercise if you do not have a barbell, or just want to mix things up slightly. Using dumbbells will also help target smaller stabilizer muscles that a barbell cannot hit.

dumbbell rowBent-Over Dumbbell Row works a lot of the upper body muscles, as you can see from the anatomical image on the right.

Mostly targeting the back, it is a great exercise for building thickness, rather than width. Secondary muscles targeted are the shoulders, traps, and biceps.

Due to the position you need to hold as you complete the Bent-Over Dumbbell Row, you will also work your core muscles and postural muscles.

In this tutorial and related video, I'll show you the proper technique of the exercise, so you can complete it with confidence and safety.

Completing the exercise properly will mean the best results for you, while avoiding the potential of injury.

We have a full video tutorial below to show you the fine form points of the Bent-Over Dumbbell Row.

Also, if you need something to print off and take to the gym, you can find our step-by-step exercise walkthrough further down this page.

Bent-Over Dumbbell Row – Step-by-step technique

    • Step 1: Stand in front of your dumbbells, both of even weight.
    • Step 2: Bend yourself forward, hinging at the hip and keeping your back flat. Grip the dumbbells and raise yourself up slightly, keeping your back flat.
    • Step 3: Holding this position, squeeze your shoulder blades back and down, to isolate the lats.
    • Step 4: Row the dumbbells up, keeping your elbows close to your sides throughout. Pause at the top of the movement and squeeze your lats.
    • Step 5: Lower the dumbbells back to the lowest point, slow and controlled, keeping your shoulder blades drawn down and back.
    • Step 6: Repeat steps 3-5 for the prescribed number of reps .

** Pro Tip #1: To start, complete this exercise as a finisher exercise, with 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

** Pro Tip #2: Make sure your back does not round throughout the exercise. Keep your back flat.

To learn more exercises that you can use in your training, visit our complete exercise library on the Fit Father Project YouTube channel.


The Men's Health Experts @ The Fit Father Project

If you’re interested in a completely laid out “done-for-you” muscle building program – designed especially for you as a busy man over 50…

Then I’d recommend you read the program overview letter for our Old School Muscle Program (OSM).

Inside OSM, you'll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Muscle Building Meal Plan
  • The awesome Old School Muscle workout plans
  • Full Muscle Gain supplement guide
  • Key accountability steps to help you through your journey

Read the Old School Muscle Program overview letter here to see how our plan can help you gain lean, solid muscle and keep you training safely and effectively… whatever your age!


* We hoped you enjoyed this article. Remember to always consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program and that this is not medical advice – just well-researched info. Please see our disclaimer at the bottom of this website. Exercise intelligently and safely at your own risk.