TripoD Dumbbell Row
How to Do the Single Arm Bent Over Dumbbell Lat Row w/ Bench | In-Depth Guide [VISUAL LEARNERS]
Proper Form & Common Mistakes| Home Strength Training
VIDEO TUTORIALS HEREWRITTEN TUTORIAL + IMAGES BELOW
MAIN MUSCLES WORKED IN Tripod Dumbbell Rows
The "lats" as they are affectionately called...lol just kidding - anyway, "lats" is short for Latissimus Dorsi which is the widest muscle of the upper body and the largest muscle of the back .
OTHER MUSCLES WORKED:
- Middle and Lower Traps
- Serratus anterior
- Teres major
- Rear deltoid
HOW Tripod Dumbbell Rows SHAPE OUR BODY
Building the lat muscles contributes to what they call a “V-taper” - it adds to a more hourglass-ish, slim waist appearance.
Confident and healthy upright posture.
ALL WE'RE DOING:
In a bent-over position, we're going to pull that dumbbell to our hips.
WHAT'S GREAT ABOUT THE TRIPOD POSITION FOR LAT ROWS
The Tripod Bent Over Dumbbell Row can help strengthen and tone the back muscles used in pulling movements, such as rowing or climbing. I really like both the bench row (BOTH hand and one knee on a bench to support you) and this tripod position (one hand on a bench). The reason I like them is I find I can use more weight AND really focus on the lat muscle working by having more of my body supported during the exercise. The lats are big, strong muscles but I find that using two arms at once, while also needing to have the torso bent over, can be challenging to really fatigue these muscles while also maintaining proper form.
One arm is used to help support and stabilize the upper body, both legs are on the floor. Only one arm is used at a time, so the muscles of the core (obliques and quadratus lumborum) work to stabilize against rotation and side bending.
This variation allows you to focus on one arm at a time which can be helpful when you are having difficulty isolating the latissimus dorsi muscle. It is recommended that you start with the arm that is easier for you to work - that way your brain learns what the movement is supposed to feel like and it is easier to train the correct movement pattern with the more difficult arm.
PROPER FORM: Tripod Dumbbell Rows
EQUIPMENT, SETS & REPS
Bench or a low stable surface like a coffee table
SUGGESTED STARTING WEIGHT FOR WOMEN:
SETS & REPS:
2 sets of 8-10 reps - must fatigue the muscles
Moderate up - with control and back stability, and lower down for the eccentric component
BODY POSITION FOR THE Tripod Dumbbell Rows
Stand close to the end of a flat bench, chair, or coffee table - a stable surface to support your weight.
FEET: Toes forward. Feet parallel and a comfortable distance apart. A wider (slightly wider than hip-width) can be more stable.
BODY STANCE: Knees slightly bent. Hinge forward at the hips and place the non-working hand on the bench. Spine neutral, sternum lifted, chest broad. Torso level with shoulders and hips squared.
ARMS: Non-working hand is on the bench, directly under your shoulder (hand is not in front of or behind your shoulder. Elbow is not locked. Working arm: When bent over, the arm is hanging straight down to the floor (the hand will rest in line with the shoulder joint).
BEGINNERS: Keep the shoulder blade of the working arm retracted- pulled in and down, in this starting position.
ADVANCED: It is fine if the shoulder blade of the working arm is pulled forward (protraction) in this starting position.
HAND/GRIP: Neutral - The palm of the working hand will face in towards the bench. If placing your palm on the bench is uncomfortable you can use a fist, or put something soft underneath to cushion your hand.
NECK: Neutral and relaxed throughout the movement. Long neck - space between the top of shoulder and earlobe.
HOW TO DO
HOW TO DO the Tripod Dumbbell Row
CUE: Focus on pulling the dumbbell back in an ARC like path, as well as IN close to the body, as if the elbow is headed towards your bottom.
Move your shoulder blade in and down your back.
Keeping your arm close to your side, lift your upper arm up towards the ceiling, allowing your elbow to bend. Concentrate on lifting your upper arm back, leading with the elbow, moving the upper arm back behind your back a bit. Your hand with the dumbbell should be right by your hip at the end of the movement. Pause and squeeze the lats at the end of the range.
Return to the starting position and repeat. For advanced ladies, in the starting position, your shoulder blade may protract a little which is fine, as long as you are sure to then retract your shoulder blade again before/as you start the next rep.
HOW TO SAFELY GET OUT OF THE EXERCISE
Squat down and set the weights on the floor.
WHAT TO AVOID WITH THE Tripod Dumbbell Row
Guess what? Good news! Many avoids are the same for most movements. Once you learn the basics, there's really only a few extra avoids for each individual movement.
1. Avoid Elbows flaring out
AVOID: Avoid letting the elbows flare outwards from your body as you move them upwards.
- This will cause the back of your shoulder muscle (rear deltoid) to do more of the work and the latissimus dorsi to do less of the work.
WHAT TO DO:
- Pull elbow in close to body.
2. Avoid your torso rotating up with weights
AVOID: Avoid rotating your upper body when you lift the arm up.
- This would indicate you are moving through your spine as opposed to through the shoulder joint.
- Repetitive spinal movement under load can cause soft tissue/joint irritation or damage over time. Sometimes people will rotate/turn their torso as opposed to lifting the weight with the arm.
WHAT TO DO:
- Don’t let the upper back drop or lift up with the arm.
- Keep torso still and level with ground
3. Avoid straightening or locking the knees
AVOID: Avoid straightening or locking the knees
- This tends to decrease the lumbar curve, pull on the hamstrings and decrease the muscle activity of the legs.
WHAT TO DO:
- The knees should be soft, locking the knees puts stress on the knee joint and can make it more difficult to maintain a neutral spine [n/a seated].
- If you feel pressure or discomfort in the low back or knees - try bending the knees.
4. Avoid rounding/Arching your back
AVOID: Avoid arching(extending) or rounding (flexing) your low back
- Can lead to muscle strain or low back joint injury, it will also decrease the activation of the targeted muscles. Maintain a neutral spine position.
- Pressure or discomfort in your low back.
WHAT TO DO:
- Maintain a neutral spine position to prevent low back joint injury, muscle strain, or damage over time.
- Troubleshooting suggested fixes:
- Poor core strength: activate your abdominal muscles, or do choose a position with more support.
- Poor back extensor strength: choose a position with more support.
5. Avoid hyperextending the “non-working” elbow
AVOID: Avoid hyperextending or locking the “non-working” arm that’s supporting you on the bench
- This puts a lot of stress on the elbow joint and can result in injury or damage over time.
WHAT TO DO:
- Keep a soft elbow, a slight bend. This can feel very fatiguing to do at first, to use our muscles to hold us up rather than just resting on a locked out joint, but you will find your strength and stamina increase quickly once you start making it a habit.
- OR if you tend to hyperextend the elbows, choose a position that does not involve weight bearing through the arm.
6. avoid making it a bicep curl
AVOID: Avoid using the biceps to lift the weights. This may happen if you find yourself doing mostly bending at the elbow rather than moving through the extension of the shoulder behind you.
- The goal of the exercise is to use the lats.
WHAT TO DO:
- Correct form and focus: the elbow does bend but it is a passive movement as the upper arm is lifted back. Avoid actively (using the biceps) bending the elbow.
7. Avoid rounding your upper back or shoulders
AVOID: Avoid rounding your upper back or shoulders.
- This can lead to neck, shoulder injury, or damage over time and can result in using the wrong muscles (upper trap).
WHAT TO DO:
- Please watch the video clip to see the difference between shoulder blade protraction at the starting position vs. letting the upper back drop too far.
- Check posture and form in a mirror.
WHAT & WHY
BENEFITS OF TRAINING THE lats
WHAT WE'RE DOING TODAY
Other names for this exercise: 3 Point Dumbbell Row, Dumbbell Tripod Row, Three-Point Row
WORKIN' OUR BACKSIDE
Sometimes we think of our backside as just the bottom half of us don't we! But today, we're working our OTHER backside- the top half.
The bent over row will work the latissimus dorsi muscle - which translates to “widest back”, it is most commonly called the lat muscle. The lat is shaped a little bit like a wing, and it can pull the arms in close to the body. The exercise is done in a supported position so you can focus on really feeling the lat working. In the movement we are doing today, you will be pulling the upper arm back and in close to the body.
Please note: If you saw the words "widest back" and panicked, let me clarify- you will not get a wide back from these exercises. What you WILL get is more definition in your back along with a healthier walking stride and better posture.
WHY DO WE EVEN CARE?
BIG MUSCLES ARE TYPICALLY IMPORTANT
Bigger isn't always better, but on our bodies, when something is large, it usually means it's either really important, has a lot of different actions it's involved in, is connected to lots of bones and muscles, or all three.
So being that the latissimus dorsi muscle is the largest musce of the entire upper body, it's very important, not only for healthy movement of the shoulder, but also to hold us in an upright position.
CONNECTS WITH A BUNCH OF BONES & MUSCLES
The lat attaches to the spine, the shoulder blade, the pelvis and the arm - it even has a connection to your gluteus maximus - or buttock muscle. That's 5 places!!
Just knowing this tells us something about how important it is to work this muscle.
TEACHES US HOW TO USE THE LAT TO KEEP OUR TORSO DURING ARM MOVEMENTS
Learning how to use the lat to keep the torso still and move the shoulder blade back while you pull your arm back can help prevent future upper back, neck and shoulder pain.
UNLESS YOU'RE A WORKOUT PRO YOU PROBABLY HAVEN'T EXERCISED THIS MUSCLE MUCH
The history that many of us ladies have with exercise, including myself (I only started doing these lat movements about a year ago), is such that we likely haven't done exercises that specifically work this muscle. We've probably done lots of squats. We've probably done some on our knees pushups even though we absolutely hated it. We've probably done some lightweight bicep curls even. But not much back stuff. Not lat stuff.
So, now that we know it's a big important muscle, we can finally give it the attention it deserves and catch it up to speed with the other body parts we HAVE been working on an off for the last twenty years.
EVERYDAY LIFE &
HOW WE USE OUR latissimus dorsi IN EVERYDAY LIFE
1. PULLING THE ARM DOWN (EXTENSION FROM FLEXION)
- Swimming - it’s called the swimming muscle because it does all 3 motions of the crawl stroke
- Cross country skiing
- Chopping wood
- Golf swing
- Pulling heavy items towards you
- Pulling a door closed
- Pulling weeds
- Hugging someone really hard
2. PUSHING YOUR BODY UP WHILE KEEPING THE ARMS STABLE
- Using crutches
- Pushing down to get out of a chair
- Pushing yourself out of a pool (hands on edge of pool)
3. MOVES AND STABILIZES THE SHOULDER BLADE
- Pulls the shoulder blade down (scapular depression)
- Holds the shoulder blade down to provide a stable base for your arm to work off of
4. HOLDS THE TORSO IN A HEALTHY UPRIGHT POSTURE
5. STABILIZES THE LOW BACK
- When lifting, carrying, heavy arm and leg use
How to Feel What Muscle is Working
Option 1: While standing, take one hand across, and touch near the bra line, just under the armpit. Actively press your shoulders down and elongate the torso/spine up, feel that muscle moving/contracting. That is part of your lat muscle.
If you don’t feel anything you can try it this way:
Option 2: While seated, take one arm across - but just below their breasts, and feel the lat just under the armpit. Take your arm on the side you are activating and push the hand down into the seat of the chair. Like a seated press-up. If your shoulder blade is elevated or in slight protraction you will not be able to get a good lat contraction, so be sure to pull your shoulder blade back and down, THEN push down and in with your upper arm. You will feel a strong lat activation just below your armpit along the side of your body.
SPIFFILICIOUS FACTS ABOUT MUSCLES & MOVES
The latissimus dorsi is sometimes listed as an accessory breathing muscle. This means that in times of stress, or heavy breathing, it can help to expand the rib cage during breathing in (inspiration).
The broad latissimus dorsi has attachments to the lower 6 thoracic vertebrae, all of the lumbar vertebrae, and the sacrum (triagular bone at the base of the spine) through the thoracolumbar fascia. It also has attachments to the lower 3 or four ribs, the inferior angle of the scapular and the humerus.
Weak lats can cause upper, mid and lower back pain, shoulder pain, even pain down your arm. Tight lats can limit movement of your shoulder blade and your arm, and cause low back and shoulder pain.
ALLLL MUSCLES & WHEN
ALL MUSCLES WORKING & WHEN DURING THE Tripod Dumbbell Row
The core stabilizers are active throughout the exercise to hold the torso level and still. The rotator cuff muscles work as the arm moves to stabilize the shoulder joint. The middle and lower traps, rhomboids, and serratus anterior hold the shoulder blades still in a position where they are in towards the spine and down the back. This provides a stable base for the arm muscles to work off of.
The triceps, teres major (another smaller muscle in your upper back), and lat muscles contract (work concentrically) to pull the upper arm upwards (up from starting position - towards the ceiling. The muscles of the core work to stabilize against rotation and side bending.
Towards the end of the motion, the long head of the triceps and the lat work to bring the arm slightly behind the torso and in towards the spine. The rear deltoid may assist at this point.
As the weight is lowered back to the starting position the lat, triceps, teres major, and muscles of the shoulder blade, work eccentrically to control the movement against the pull of gravity.