10 Dumbbell One Arm Row Alternatives (2022)


Dumbbell One Arm Row Alternatives

Dumbbell One Arm Rows are one of the best exercises for building a bigger and stronger back. Being able to use a single dumbbell and brace the upper body allows the lifter to really focus on rowing heavy while maintaining good posture.

However, there may be situations where you need an alternative for One Arm Rows.

For example, I didn’t have dumbbells for almost the first year of my garage gym while I was holding out to find a good deal.

Whatever the reason, if you need some DB 1 Arm Row alternatives, you’re in the right place. I’m going to share with you my 10 favorite substitutions and hopefully, at least one is a good fit for you no matter your equipment or circumstance.

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Alternatives for Dumbbell One Arm Row

Barbell Bent Over Row

Barbell Bent Over Rows

The first alternative I would turn to if I wasn’t able to do DB One Arm Rows is Barbell Bent Over Rows. The barbell version of bent rows allows a good amount of weight to be used which is key for packing on mass.

The drawback to Barbell Bent Rows is that you’re unable to brace yourself which means the low back has to work hard to maintain posture. This can be utilized as a positive, you just have to make sure to manage how much posterior chain work is included in your program.

Inverted Rows

Inverted Rows are one of the best, and most overlooked, horizontal rows you can do in the weight room. They place zero stress on the low back and can be modified to be good for both beginners and challenging for advanced lifters.

I believe they get overlooked because they’re a bodyweight exercise that is sometimes thought of as a lesser version of Pull-ups.

However, there are plenty of ways to make Inverted Rows challenging for any level of lifter. Elevating the feet, controlling the tempo and adding weight to the chest are just a few of the ways that you can make Inverted Rows as difficult as you want.

TRX Rows

TRX Rows

TRX Rows, or Ring Rows if you have a set of gym rings, are very similar to Inverted Rows. It’s primarily a bodyweight exercise where you can increase or decrease the difficulty of the exercise by changing the angle in which you work.

If you take a TRX strap with you on road trips, this should be your go-to alternate for Barbell Bent Rows. (If you don’t already have a TRX Strap, you can pick one up from Amazon here.)

Hex Bar Rows

If you have a Hex Bar (or Trap Bar as they are also called) and you’re not already doing Hex Bar Rows then you are missing out. Simply stand inside your hex bar, grab the handles and row exactly the same as you would for Barbell Bent Rows.

The same thing that makes a hex bar great for Trap Bar Deadlifts also makes them great for rows. Because the weight on the bar sits back closer to your midline it will take a little of the stress off the low back.

Plus, just a simple change of equipment can add some much needed variety to a workout program.

Pro Tip: Hex Bars can vary quite a bit in weight. Take that into consideration when planning on how much to load onto the bar for rows.

Landmine Row

Landmine Rows

Landmine Rows are another great One Arm Row alternative.

First, don’t blow past this option because you don’t have a landmine attachment. You can make a landmine attachment yourself pretty easy with nothing more than a tennis ball.

You have a ton of different options for Landmine Rows. You can use both hands on the bar, one arm at a time, stand slightly off to the side for Pendley Rows or use a Lat Pulldown attachment. Find which you like best, there are no wrong answers here.

Hammer Machine Rows

Ah, the Seated Hammer Row machine. I have zero machines in my garage gym, but the one machine I would buy if I ever find one at a decent price is a Hammer Iso Row Machine. It is hands down my favorite.

You can sit or stand, have your chest supported and row ridiculously heavy weight. What’s not to love? If you have access to one of these machines (or a regular T-Row machine works well too) they can serve as an excellent sub for Dumbbell One Arm Rows.

Chest Supported Rows

Set up a bench at a 30-degree angle. Grab two dumbbells and lay on bench on your stomach with your head over the edge of the bench. You can use a bar for Chest Supported Rows as well, but the setup is a bit more awkward and works best if you have a partner.

Keep a good posture (don’t let your shoulders hang forward off the bench) and row.

Keeping the chest supported takes almost all of the strain off the low back and allows the lifter to focus solely on the row.

Band Rows

Band Rows aren’t going to replace Dumbbell Rows for developing strength, but they can work great in a pinch if you’re traveling. Even if you don’t have something sturdy you can attach the resistance band to, you can always wrap them around your feet if need be.

The other place Band Rows can work well is as at the end of a workout to get a good burnout set in to end the day.

Close Grip Lat Pulldowns

If you have access to a Lat Pulldown machine, Close Grip Lat Pulldowns can work as a solid horizontal row option. For this exercise you’ll need one of the close grip attachments. If you don’t have a close grip attachment, use a tight underhand grip on the straight bar.

Lean back slightly more than you normally would for a Lat Pulldown and row. Focus on controlling the weight back to the top of the rep so you don’t end up rocking all over the place.

Chin-Ups

The last exercise on the list isn’t a horizontal row like One Arm Rows, but it’s too good of an exercise to leave off. When in doubt, subbing Chin-Ups for pretty much any back exercise is never a bad idea.

I like Chin-Ups here slightly over Pull-Ups just because the underhand grip gets the biceps more involved.

Final Thoughts

I love Dumbbell One Arm Rows as a back building exercise, but sometimes One Arm Rows just isn’t an option.

Whether you’re lacking proper equipment or are just looking for a different movement to add some variety to your program, I hope at least one of these alternatives I’ve listed here is a good fit for you.

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Ryan Horton

Horton Barbell was created by Ryan Horton who has served as a Sports Performance Coach for almost 20 years. My mission is to create a training resource to help as many coaches and athletes as possible maximize athletic potential.

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