One-Arm Dumbbell Bent Row Exercise Guide

The One-arm Dumbbell Bent Row, simple as it looks, is a fundamental compound exercise that targets and strengthens numerous muscle groups in the body. The movement allows you to build your upper and lower back, and improve the overall function of your arms, shoulders and triceps.

In this article, we will go over the proper way to do the bent-over one arm dumbbell row and how it can benefit your fitness regime. By following our guide, you’ll be able to get stronger shoulders and a more developed back-end. 

How To Do a One-arm Dumbbell Bent Row

Setting Up

To start with your row, prepare a sturdy flat bench and place a dumbbell of your choice next to it. Position your left knee and left hand on the bench and bend forward until your upper body is parallel to the bench.

Keep your back straight and maintain a stable spine and torso by contracting your core. Extend your free (right) arm towards the floor to grab the dumbbell without rotating your torso or pulling your shoulder joint down. This is your starting position.


While exhaling, slowly bend your elbow and pull the dumbbell up towards the hip on the same side. Your hand should be in a neutral position with your palm facing you. Make sure to keep your arm close to the side of the body to target the correct muscles and avoid rotating your torso. Remember to maintain your neck and spine in a neutral position to avoid injuries.

In a controlled manner, return the dumbbell until you feel a stretch in your lat. Repeat for the desired number of reps and switch to the other side.


  • Keep your back straight and parallel to the ground at all times to avoid straining or hurting your back. Keeping your core engage can help you maintain the correct form.
  • Avoid fast, erratic movements and maintain fluid motion throughout the entire exercise


  • Helps achieve back pain relief by strengthening the upper back muscles
  • Improves your shoulder position and overall fitness
  • Creates stability and balance

Illustrated Guide

how to do one arm bent row

Muscles Worked

Primary Muscles

  • Latissimus Dorsi

Secondary Muscles

  • Deltoid 
  • Rhomboids
  • Teres Major
  • Trapezius.

One- Arm Dumbbell Row Alternatives

Seated Single-Arm Cable Row

Seated single-arm cable row is one of the most effective compound exercises for your upper body, making it a popular exercise for gym-goers. Using cables gives you a consistent amount of resistance throughout the movement which helps target and build your back muscles effectively.

To perform a single-arm cable row, place your legs on the front platform while sitting straight and slightly bending your knees. Stretch your left arm in front of you and grab the single-hand attachment of the machine.

With your torso stationery and chest up, pull the handle back towards your torso. Exhale as you do this movement and make sure to squeeze your back muscles. Hold this position for a second and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of reps and switch to the other side.

V Pulldown

The V Pulldown is an old-school exercise but is still one of the most effective exercises in terms of working the latissimus dorsi muscles. If you are looking for an easier alternative for the one-arm dumbbell row, v pulldown is the exercise for you.

This exercise requires a lat pulldown machine with a v-grip handle attachment. Sit on the machine while grabbing the handle with both hands. Make sure to keep your feet planted on the ground and back straight.

Pull the handle down to your chest while keeping your elbows in to increase lat activation. Pause at the bottom for a second, then slowly return to the starting position.

Landmine Row

Landmine row is one of the best rowing exercises, especially for those who are just starting lifting. This involves a landmine setup where one end of the bar or barbell is anchored to the ground while you row from the other side. Landmine rows are a safer option for your spine while effectively targeting your major muscle groups.

To do a landmine row, prepare a loaded barbell and secure one end on a landmine attachment. If you do not have access to one, you can simply rest the end against a corner or a secure, non-slip surface. Position yourself at the side of the bar with your feet hip-width apart. Bend over with your spine straight and core tight.

Slightly bend at the hips and with one arm, slowly grab and lift the weighted end of the bar while maintaining a straight back. Pause in this position for a second and lower the bar but do not let it touch the ground. Repeat this until you reach your desired number of reps and then switch to the other side.

Bird Dog Row

The bird dog row is a unique combination of two common exercises — the bird dog and the single-arm dumbbell row. It is a challenging movement that in return provides a wide array of benefits from improving stability to strengthening several muscle groups in your body.

To start, assume a bird dog position on a flat bench or on the floor and hold the dumbbell on your left hand. With your core tight, straighten and lift the opposite (right) leg until it is parallel to the ground and start rowing the weight up. Lower it back downwards in a controlled manner until you complete the reps on one side, then switch to the other arm.

Back Exercises Guide

Kevin Harris