How hard the muscles are contacting

The classic one arm db row is a classic for a reason. Because if done properly it is a great exercise as you are able to contract the lat fully from a stretch position into a fully contracted and shortened position. Unfortunately most people doing this exercise look like they are trying to start a lawnmower rather than work their lats.

Here are three simple points to help you get more out of this exercise:

  1. Start the movement with the dumbbell in line with the shoulder or even slightly infront to stretch the lat
  2. Rather than rowing the arm up think about driving the elbow back and up into the hip crease of the working side
  3. At the end of the moment, as you drive the elbow back, slightly rotate the torso and think about wrapping the elbow around the lower back slightly. This is quite an advanced coaching cue but if done properly it really helps engage the often neglected lower portion of the lats.

Doing dumbbell rows with correct technique is humbling for the ego and most people will have to drop the weight they are using to fully get the most out of the movement. Your lats dont know how heavy the dumbbell you are lifting is, only how hard the muscles are contacting.