July 02, 2021 9 min read
The muscles in your back are some of the largest and most important in your entire body. And, doing exercises such as chest-supported rows is one of the best ways to fire them up.
Whether you're new to the gym or are a seasoned pro, they can be more intimidating than other row variations given that they require more of an equipment set-up.
However, we're here to tell you that, once you get the set-up and technique down, chest-supported rows are one of the best row variations out there because they're particularly good at isolating your back muscles so you gain as much mass as possible.
Here's exactly what makes chest-supported rows so good for your back and how to do them correctly:
Like all row exercises, chest-supported dumbbell rows primarily target your back muscles. And, more specifically, these key back muscles:
In addition to working these key back muscles, you also target a few other muscle groups in your upper body and arms including the:
There are many different row variations... traditional cable rows, t bar rows, barbell rows, bent-over rows, and, of course, chest-supported rows just to name a few of the most popular versions. So, what makes chest-supported rows different from the other variations aside from improving pure muscle strength? Here are the top benefits of doing chest-supported rows:
Thanks to the incline bench for support, it's typically easier to do chest-supported rows with good form than it is other types of rows. However, lifters still need to be conscious of whether or not they're getting the proper positioning down to prevent potential injuries. Here's exactly how to do chest-supported rows with perfect form:
Now that you know how to do chest-supported rows with proper form, it's equally important to know how heavy your dumbbells should be. Lifting too heavy could lead to form-related injuries while lifting too little won't help you grow the muscles that you desire.
To figure out exactly how much you should be lifting, start by asking yourself the following question: Do I want to focus on hypertrophy or muscular endurance?
If your focus is hypertrophy, then you need to do fewer reps with heavier weights. This is best for stimulating maximum muscle growth. If your focus is muscle endurance, then you need to do more reps with lighter weights.
Now, to figure out exactly how much weight to lift, follow the steps of this test:
OR, if you are going for muscle endurance, try to do between 10 and 15 reps of the exercise with the heavier weights. If you start to feel the burn at around the 5th rep but you can still keep your form, then that’s your perfect weight
The goal is to find a weight that works your muscles without causing you to break proper form. And, don’t forget that as you continue to train chest-supported rows that you need to progressively increase the weight of your dumbbells. If you don’t, your gains will plateau and you’ll stop seeing muscle growth.
Want more back exercises to help increase your maximum chest-supported row load? Look no further. Each of these exercises is great to add to your back day routine if you want to get better at rows:
Additionally, the chest-supported row can be a progression exercise itself for even more challenging upper body exercises. Here are some of the exercises that chest-supported row training will help you improve at:
If you want to strengthen your entire back with an exercise that reinforces good form and is great for lifters of all experience levels, then chest-supported rows are the way to go. They have the double benefit of isolating your back muscles for maximum growth while the support of the incline bench promotes the proper form. Grow stronger safely with chest-supported rows!
Bonus tip: The warm-up is almost as important as the actual workout for muscle growth. Here are our favorite bicep stretches that you should do before doing chest-supported rows!