The chest-supported row is an upper-body train that trains all of the muscle tissue in your again.

It’s distinctive amongst again workout routines as a result of it entails pulling a weight towards your torso whereas mendacity susceptible on a bench. This prevents you from utilizing momentum to assist carry the burden and ensures your again muscle tissue do a lot of the work. 

On this article, you’ll be taught what the chest-supported row is, why it’s useful, find out how to carry out it with correct kind, the most effective chest-supported row alternate options, and extra.

What Is the Chest-Supported Row?

The chest-supported row is a back exercise that involves pulling a weight toward your torso.

It differs from similar exercises, including the one-arm dumbbell row and barbell bent-over row, because you perform it while lying prone on an incline bench.

The two most common variations of the chest-supported row are the chest-supported dumbbell row (or “chest-supported DB row”) and the chest-supported barbell row. While both variations are effective, most people find the dumbbell chest-supported row easier to set up and perform, so that’s the variation we’ll focus on in this article.  

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Chest-Supported Row: Benefits

Research shows that horizontal pulling workout routines, just like the chest-supported row, practice your whole again, together with your lats, rhomboids, traps, rear delts, infraspinatus, and teres main and minor. 

Workout routines that practice a number of muscle teams concurrently are known as compound workout routines. They’re helpful as a result of they can help you carry heavy weights safely, which is usually higher for muscle and energy acquire. They’re additionally time-efficient because you don’t should do a number of workout routines to coach every muscle group individually.

Strengthening your again muscle tissue utilizing workout routines just like the dumbbell chest-supported row additionally helps you carry heavy weights—you’ll be able to consider it because the scaffolding that helps the remainder of your physique.  

It retains your higher physique tight and prevents you from tipping ahead within the squat, stops your backbone from rounding within the deadlift, and creates a secure base through the bench press.

In different phrases, together with workout routines like chest-supported rows in your coaching boosts your efficiency on different key workout routines. 

One other advantage of chest-supported rows is that resting your chest on a bench prevents you from producing momentum along with your hips and higher physique to “cheat” the burden up. This forces your again muscle tissue to do the vast majority of the work, which ensures they’re sufficiently stimulated by the train.

Moreover, resting on a bench means you don’t help the burden along with your backbone, making the chest-supported row ideally suited for folks coaching round a lower-back harm.

Chest-Supported Row: Muscle tissue Labored

The chest-supported row works the . . .

  • Latissimis dorsi
  • Trapezius 
  • Rhomboids
  • Teres main and minor
  • Learn deltoids
  • Infraspinatus

It additionally trains your biceps to a lesser degree, too.

Here’s how those muscles look on your body:

dumbbell chest supported row

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Chest-Supported Row: Form

The best way to learn how to do the chest-supported dumbbell row is to split the exercise into three parts: set up, row, and descend.

1. Set Up

Adjust a bench to a 30 degree angle and place a dumbbell on either side of the bench toward the top end. Straddle the bench, place your chest against the pad, and plant your feet on the floor behind you, then reach down and grab one dumbbell in each hand.

2. Row

Keeping your elbows tucked 4-to-6 inches from your sides and your chest pinned to the pad, pull the weights toward your torso. Continue pulling until the weight touches your torso. As you lift the weight, pull your shoulders back, and at the top of each rep, squeeze your shoulder blades together. 

(Tip: A helpful cue is to imagine touching the ceiling with your elbows.)

3. Descend

Reverse the movement and return to the starting position. This mirrors what you did during the row.

Don’t let the weight yank your arms back to the starting position or try to extend your arms slowly. The entire “extension” should be controlled but only take about a second.

Here’s how it should look when you put it all together:

chest supported dumbbell row

The Best Chest-Supported Row Alternatives

1. Chest-Supported T-Bar Row

The main benefit of the chest-supported T-bar row is that you can change your grip width and orientation to find a position that’s most comfortable for you. 

However, its slightly shorter range of motion compared to a dumbbell chest-supported row might make it marginally less effective for muscle and strength gain.

2. Chest-Supported Machine Row

The chest-supported machine row (or “seated chest-supported row”) is a variation of the chest-supported row that involves a chest-supported row machine. The chest-supported machine row is a great alternative to the regular chest-supported row for beginners because it requires less coordination and balance, is more straightforward to learn, and requires less setup. 

3. Chest-Supported Rear Delt Row

In the chest-supported rear delt row, you flare your elbows as you row the weights so that your upper arms are almost perpendicular to your torso. This emphasizes your upper back muscles, especially your rear delts (the triangle-shaped muscles located behind your shoulder joints on your upper back), making the chest-supported rear delt row a good variation for those who want to prioritize shoulder development. 

4. Incline Chest-Supported Row

In the incline chest-supported row, you increase the bench angle to 45-to-60 degrees. Performing the exercise on a higher incline shifts the emphasis from your mid back to your upper back, which makes the incline chest-supported row a useful chest-supported dumbbell row alternative for those wanting to develop their rear delts, rhomboids, and traps more than their lats. 

5. Chest-Supported Barbell Row

The chest-supported barbell row allows you to lift heavier weights than when you use a pair of dumbbells, which is generally advantageous for muscle and strength gain. However, the downside of using a barbell is that it limits the range of motion, negating some of the exercise’s muscle- and strength-building potential.