Chest Supported Dumbbell Row (How To, Muscles Worked)

Chest Supported Dumbbell Row is a great rowing exercise to develop a strong back without putting any added stress on the low back.

In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to do Chest Supported Dumbbell Rows including important coaching tips, muscles worked and a few alternative exercises.

How To Do Chest Supported Dumbbell Rows

Equipment Needed

  • Adjustable Bench
  • Dumbbells

Muscles Worked

  • Back (Lats, Rhomboids, Traps, Infraspinatus)
  • Biceps (Biceps Brachii, Brachialis, Brachioradialis)
  • Shoulders (Posterior Delt)

How To

  • Set up an adjustable bench at a 45-degree angle.
  • Lay on your stomach with your head hanging just above the edge of the bench.
  • Grab a dumbbell in each hand and set up with a good posture – core and lats engaged and shoulders neutral.
  • Row the dumbbells toward the top of the stomach and squeeze the back at the top of the rep.
  • Finally, lower the dumbbells back to the starting position and repeat until all reps are completed.

Coaching Points

Make sure to maintain good posture through the movement. Oftentimes I see athletes who allow their shoulders to slouch forward and drape over the edges of the bench.


There are several benefits to doing Chest Supported Rows, including:

  1. Building strength and hypertrophy in the upper back, including the lats, rhomboids, and rear deltoids.
  2. Improving posture by strengthening the muscles that support the spine.
  3. Reducing the risk of back injuries by strengthening the muscles that help to stabilize the spine.
  4. Providing an alternative to other rowing exercises like Barbell Bent-Over Rows, which can put strain on the lower back.

How Many Reps?

Chest Supported Rows are a supplemental strength movement and I generally program these movements as 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps.

Chest Supported Dumbbell Row Alternatives

Don’t have an adjustable bench, or maybe even dumbbells? Here are a few alternatives you may be able to try out instead.

Need more options? Here are 10 of my favorite alternatives for Chest Supported Dumbbell Rows to build a strong back.

Inverted Rows

If you have a rack and barbell or a TRX strap, Inverted Rows are a great alternative to Chest Supported Rows. They’re also a great horizontal rowing exercise that doesn’t place extra strain on the low back as some rowing exercises can do.

Barbell Bent Over Rows

Barbell Bent Over Rows

If all you have to work with is a barbell, then Barbell Bent Over Rows are an excellent exercise for developing back strength.

Bent Over Rows will force you to brace the core and rely on your low back to maintain proper technique, but done correctly this can provide a ton of additional benefits.

More Links and Info

If you’d like to see more upper body exercises, check out the Upper Body Lifts section of our Exercise Library. There you’ll find dozens of chest, back and shoulder movements all with step-by-step instructions.

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