Back To Basics #6: Single Arm Bent Over Row

The bent over row is a great exercise to help engage the lat muscles, the rhomboids and rear delts, and the muscles of the mid back. When done properly, it can really help increase your overall upper body strength. There are several variations of the bent over row, including the barbell bent over row, the single arm bent over row from a bench, and the kettlebell bent over row from the ground. Each one has a slightly different technique to it, so for the purposes of this article, I am going to discuss the single arm bent over row, using the weight bench for assistance.

Main points: The single arm bent over row focuses on pulling the weight with the arm upward toward the rib cage from a bent over position. At the bottom of the position (focusing on the single arm row using the right arm), your let knee and left hand should be resting on the bench, and you should have a slight arch in the back. Your right leg should be straight with the foot firmly planted on the ground, and your body should be making almost a 90 degree angle with the ground. You should be holding the weight in your right hand and your arm should be fully extended. You should already be engaging your lat muscles in preparation to pull the weight up.

Using your lat and back muscles, pull the weight up so that the weight comes up to the height of your armpit. Your elbow should track right alongside the rib cage so that you can properly utilize your lat and rear delt. Exhale as you pull the weight up, and then inhale and you extend the arm back down to the starting position.

Muscles used: As I previously mentioned, you’re really targeting the lat, rear deltoid, rhomboids and the big muscles in the back with this movement. You should also keep your abdominals engaged as your perform this movement to make sure that your lower back doesn’t take any of the weight.

Breathing: You should exhale as you pull the weight upward toward the armpit and inhale as you release the weight back down to the starting position.

Here’s a video of the single arm bent over row on a weight bench!


That concludes my #BackToBasics series! Did you all enjoy learning more about the nuances of each movement? Check back next week for a workout utilizing all of these great fundamental movements!

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