Bench Lat Bent Over Row - Dumbbell
How to Do the Single Arm Lat Bent Over Bench Row - Dumbbell | In-Depth Guide [VISUAL LEARNERS]
Proper Form & Common Mistakes| Home Strength Training
VIDEO TUTORIALS HEREWRITTEN TUTORIAL + IMAGES BELOW
MAIN MUSCLES WORKED IN BENch Lat Bent Over 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
WHAT & WHY
BENEFITS OF TRAINING THE lats
WHAT WE'RE DOING TODAY
ALL WE'RE DOING:
In a bent-over position, we're going to pull that dumbbell to our hips.
The lat bent-over row is a strength training exercise that primarily targets the latissimus dorsi muscle using a low stable surface (like bench or coffee table) and weights. A strong back helps to improve posture and also improve overall upper body strength.
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 Bench Lat Bent Over 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.
This variation of the bent-over lat row uses a bench to help support the bent-over position.
One arm and one knee are placed on the bench to stabilize the torso as the weight is lifted with the arm. Using one arm at a time will work the muscles of the core differently.
The muscles on the sides and back (quadratus lumborum and obliques) will be more active to resist the rotation and side bending the torso.
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.
PROPER FORM: Bench Lat Bent Over 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 Bench Lat Bent Over Row - dumbbell
Stand towards the end of a flat bench or coffee table - stable surface to support weight.
BODY STANCE: One knee (the non-working side) bent with the lower leg supported on the bench. The other leg can be straight down below you as long as it's not in the way of the path of the dumbbell, OR yu can angle the standing leg back so that the hip is flexed (bent) to around 60 degrees, to help create that clearance for the dumbbell to be pulled to your hip. The standing leg should not have a locked knee. Spine neutral, sternum lifted, chest broad.
ARM: Lean forward and place the hand of the nonworking arm on the bench. The working arm is hanging down with the hand directly under the shoulder.
HAND/GRIP: Neutral, palm will face in, this should be a comfortable grip.
NECK: Neutral and relaxed throughout the movement. Long neck - space between top of shoulder and earlobe.
HOW TO DO
HOW TO DO the Bench Lat Bent Over Row - dumbbell
CUE: 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.
Pull your shoulder blade in and down your back. Keeping your arm close to your side, lift your upper arm up towards the ceiling, while also thinking of bringing your elbows back towards your back pocket.
The elbow will bend as the arm moves back (up towards ceiling). Focus on moving the upper arm back behind your back a bit. The dumbbell should be about hip level at the end of the movement. Pause and squeeze the lats at the end of the range.
Return to the starting position and repeat.
HOW TO SAFELY GET OUT OF THE EXERCISE
From the starting position, bring the weight up and set it on the bench, use the non working arm to push up to standing. Squat down and set the weights on the floor.
WHAT TO AVOID WITH THE One-arm Bench Lat Bent Over 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 hips rotating back
AVOID: Avoid standing with your hips or shoulders rotated. You might find yourself doing this if you have movement in the shoulders, hips or back as the weight is lifted
Poor set up: check foot position, hand position, height of bench (if applicable), height of anchor (if applicable).
WHAT TO DO:
- The hips and shoulders should be squared to the front of you throughout the exercise. This will strengthen the muscles in the healthiest way and it will limit stresses on the joints and muscles of the spine, shoulders and hips.
3. 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.
4. Avoid straightening or locking the knees of standing legs
AVOID: Avoid straightening or locking the knees of standing legs
- 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.
5. 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.
6. 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
7. 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.
8. 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.
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 Bench Lat Bent Over Row
The muscles of the back and the nonworking arms are active to hold the spine in a neutral position and keep it stable. The middle and lower traps, rhomboids, and serratus anterior stabilize the shoulder blades in towards the spine (retraction) and down the back (depression). The triceps, teres major, and lat muscles work concentrically to pull the upper arm upwards (up from starting position - towards the ceiling. Towards the end of the motion the long head of the triceps and the lat work to extend (bring slightly behind the arm body) and adduct (move the upper arm inwards 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.