There’s probably no need to tell you that dumbbell rows are near the top of the list when it comes to helping build a massive back, as well as blow up your biceps and improve your grip strength. But did you know that a combination of different unilateral dumbbell row variations each serve a different purpose to building a better and stronger physique? The barbell version is the greatest tool for adding strength and size to your back, but dumbbells are equally fab for strengthening muscle imbalances and improving muscular development.
Using a combination of barbells and dumbbells in your back training is a must, but the dumbbells take the spotlight here. Because of the dumbbell’s freedom of movement compared to the barbell, you’re to train your upper back and core from various positions and angles, which is challenging to do with the barbell.
Here we’ll dive into the benefits of unilateral dumbbell rows and three unilateral dumbbell row variations to take your back and core strength to the next level. And as always, remember you have to row to grow baby. Let’s get started.
Unilateral Dumbbell Row Benefits
The beauty of the dumbbell is its freedom of movement as it doesn’t lock you into a specific range of motion as using a barbell does. Plus, training unilaterally will improve muscle development, improve your bilateral lifts, and reduce your injury risk.
Here are four more vital benefits of unilateral dumbbell rows.
- Reduce Muscle Imbalances: Bilateral exercises are where most of your strength and muscle gains come from because of the increased stability and weight used. But sometimes, this hides the fact that the dominant side will take over the non-dominant side, leading to strength imbalances and faulty technique. Unilateral rows will reduce this.
- Improved Core Strength: Dumbbell unilateral rows will throw you off balance, encouraging your anterior and posterior core muscles to engage to keep you from embarrassing yourself. A stronger core is good; a workout fail YouTube video is terrible.
- Better Strength Numbers: Reducing muscle imbalances between sides helps improve your bilateral lifts and overall strength numbers. When you’re stronger lifting with one arm, this will lead to being stronger when lifting with two.
- Stable Base For The Bench, Squat, And Deadlift: Dumbbell rows do train the lats, but their money is made adding thickness to the upper back. The upper back plays a vital role during the barbell squat, as it provides a place for the bar to sit, and a solid and engaged upper back prevents you from turning the squat into a good morning exercise.
The upper back provides a stable base to press during the bench press because it helps control the bar path during the eccentric. An engaged upper back keeps the barbell close to you during your deadlift, which is essential for good technique and not blowing out your back.
Top 3 Unilateral Dumbbell Row Variations
These are not your garden variety dumbbell rows but ones to challenge your strength, core, and balance to help take your strength to the next level. Let’s get to rowing.