How to perform the single arm row – our exercise of the week

by melissa kirkpatrick in Training

single arm row | training | leicester

The single arm row is perfect for those of us wanting to tone up our back, increase muscle strength and size – whilst also improving core strength. The single arm row is an exercise adapted from the bent over row. It targets the Latissimus Dorsi, Trapezius and the erector spinae. Whilst also relying on the biceps, deltoids and your abs. So as you can see it’s a great all round upper body exercise to incorporate into your next upper body workout!

The single arm row is typically completed with a dumbbell and using a thigh high flat bench. To complete this movement you should place the size dumbbell of your choice at the side of the bench, then putting one knee towards the end of the bench ensuring that your hip stays in line with your knee. You should then place the same sided hand on the bench again making sure that your shoulder is directly above your hand. Your upper body should now be parallel with the floor. You can then reach down and pick up the dumbbell with your palm facing towards you, whilst keeping your arm extended. You should then bring the dumbbell in towards your chest all the while keeping your back straight, at the top of the contraction you should squeeze your shoulder blades together and keeping your chest still throughout. You can then gradually lower the dumbbell towards the floor until your arm is fully extended again.

If you are aiming to build strength and muscle size you should aim for 6-8 reps per side for 3-5 sets. If you are looking to improve muscular endurance then you should be aiming to complete 10-12 reps on each side for 2-3 sets.

Variations –

  • Incline dumbbell row
  • Row with a high pulley
  • Row with a low pulley



  • The Single Arm Row is great for improving core strength as you are keeping your back and chest braced throughout – not allowing for any rotation.
  • It is great for improving strength in the posterior and therefore improving posture in everyday life, eliminating those little aches and pains.
  • This is great for burning bad cholesterol in the body as it is high intensity training and therefore promoting the development of good cholesterol
  • Great for STRESS RELIEF
  • Weight training enhances flexibility, bone density and also decreases the likelihood of developing arthritis in the body.
  • Has been shown to prevent cognitive deterioration with age!
  • Improves our self-esteem giving us a sense of achievement and therefore improving our moods!
  • Last but not least – increased muscle mass, particularly in the back and core!


Give it a try and feel the burn!