Health Advocate Blog

Workout of the Week: One-Arm Dumbbell Rows

This week’s workout is One-Arm Dumbbell Rows. This is a great exercise for strengthening your middle back, biceps, lats and shoulders. The pulling motion helps to isolate these major muscle groups to work together to build muscle and burn fat. This workout calls to be done with a dumbbell but any weighted object will work. Note: In the photos below, the person demonstrating the exercise is using a medicine ball for support, but beginners should consider using a flat bench and working their way up to a medicine ball.

Here’s how to do the exercise:

  • Choose a flat bench and place a dumbbell on either side.
  • Place your right leg and right hand on top of the bench, resting your weight on your knee and hand. Bend at the torso until your body is parallel with the floor; then pick up the dumbbell with your left hand and hold the weight while keeping your lower back straight.
  • One Arm Row 1

  • Next, pull the weight straight up to the side of your chest, keeping your upper arm close to your side and keeping your torso stationary. Breathe out as your perform this motion.
  • Lower the resistance straight down to the starting position. Breathe in as you perform this motion.
  • One Arm Row 2

  • Try doing 10-12 repetitions like this (2-3 sets of 10-12).
  • Switch sides and repeat again with the opposite arm.


  • Concentrate on squeezing your back muscles once you reach the full contracted position.
  • Make sure that the force is coming from your back muscles and not your arms.
  • Your upper torso should remain stationary, and only the arms should move.
  • Your forearms should not do anything but support your wrist in holding the dumbbell. If you are pulling up with your forearms, try using a lighter weight.

We hope you’ll try One-Arm Dumbbell Rows over the weekend and then build this exercise into your daily routine Monday through Friday of the coming week.

Want more fitness ideas? If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the Wellness Coaching program, reach out to your Wellness Coach for more healthy ideas to get—and stay—fit. And remember, talk to your doctor before beginning any new fitness regimen.