In this article, I’ll show you how
to upgrade your Chest Supported Dumbbell Row with 3 intensity techniques to
help you grow a thicker back. These methods will permit you to go further than
conventional failure to work the back muscles even harder, thus delivering a
stimulus to get you bigger and stronger.
If you train at home with
dumbbells, you may have come across the Chest Supported Row. If you haven’t
implemented this movement into your back workout, you are most certainly
missing out on extra back thickness that can be gained from this brilliant
Lifters who have a weak lower back
or tight hips, often use the Chest Supported db row as a replacement exercise
for the Bent-Over-Row because it places less stress on the spine.
If you want a stronger pulling
force production without having to worry about stabilizing your muscles and
core in the hip hinge position, the Chest Support Row enables you to push into
the pad which can help to generate additional force.
This exercise also allows you to
train to failure without your form breaking down as it would during a set of
heavy bent-over rows.
Psymon H, the 52 Year old Warhorse with 40 Years lifting experience.
I’m Psymon H., architect of the
Mission Jacked movement, creator of the BIG-UP Home Training System, and the
man making his name from improving physiques and growing natural muscle with
The training techniques I’m about
to share should not be tried by the inexperienced novice lifter. These are
training methods for lifters who have been training for several years and have
surpassed novice and early intermediate level training.
Before I share these techniques,
I’m going to give you a quick overview of the exercise with cues, so you can be
off and rowing in good form before upping the intensity.
Items Needed: Incline Bench, a pad
(optional), and one pair of dumbbells.
How To Do The Chest Supported
Dumbbell Row Correctly:
Fix your bench at a 75-degree angle
and turn it around so you are coming from behind the bench. Place a pad on the
top for comfort.
Cue 1: Grab
a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip and rest your torso on the pad.
With the dumbbells hanging below you, protract your shoulders by hunching over.
(This protracted position is how you will finish each repetition to engage more
upper back muscles.)
Cue 2: To
start the repetitions, retract your shoulder blades by pulling them
down. By doing this, you will activate the Lat muscles While getting
a better mind/muscle connection in the process. Tighten your core and squeeze
Cue 3: Row
the dumbbells smoothly into your hips. Hold and squeeze briefly before lowering
the dumbbells to the start position.
Cue 4: At
the bottom of the movement, protract your shoulders. Repeat all of the cues as
you go through each repetition.
Grip Tip: If
you wish to target more upper back and rear deltoid muscles, use an overhand
grip and keep the elbow wide as you bring the dumbbell up in line with your
An underhand grip that drives the
dumbbells into your hips and forces the elbows into your body will typically
target the lower Lats, mid and lower trapezius muscles.
If you suffer from any elbow
issues, use a neutral grip as it takes the stress away from the elbow
When doing this exercise, you have
two options on how to set up your bench. The first option is to use a 75-degree
angle and turn the bench around so that you are performing the exercise by
coming over the back with your head looking down the bench.
The second option would be to set
your bench up at a 30-45-degree angle and face into the bench by laying your
torso on the back pad.
While both positions have their
merits, when it comes to involving more of the upper back muscles, option one
allows you to better protract your shoulder blades at the end of the movement.
Try both options and see which one
works best for you.
Is The Bent-Over Row the Same as
Chest Supported Row?
There are some distinct differences
between the two movements. With the db Chest Supported Row, there's less
tension on the spine because you are being supported by the bench. With the
Bent-over Row, you are in a hinge position which means you have to stabilize
With Chest Supported
Row, you are not using your hamstring and glute muscles the same way
you would use them in the Bent-over Row position.
Now we’ve got the exercise down,
let’s go ahead and add three intensity techniques, you can use on your next
First, we’ll define what I mean by
"intensity techniques" and who should and shouldn't use them. As
stated above, intensity techniques are training methods for lifters who have
been training for several years and have surpassed novice and early
intermediate level training.
1: Drop Sets
When you complete a set to failure,
reduce the weight to around 10% and immediately complete another set to
You can do this as double-drop
(reduce the weight once), triple-drop (reduce the weight twice), or go
down-the-rack (use all sequential sets of dumbbells down a rack) sets.
Or You Could Do Down the Rack Drop
Instead of doing the above drop
sets, you could do a Down-The-Rack Drop Set. Begin with a weight you can
perform six reps. Immediately on completion, pick up the next
lightest set of dumbbells and hit another set. Replicate this procedure until
you get to the lightest dumbbells you wish to use.
Here, it’s not essential to keep to
a set number of repetitions for every drop-set. As the weights get
progressively lighter, the more repetitions you may be able to complete.