Chest Supported Rows 101

How To Chest Supported Row And Why It Should Be In Your Back Workout

Many of the most popular exercises being performed today focus on sculpting arms, legs, and the abdominal muscles. The ones that are intended to burn fat in a hurry have also become wildly popular.

There’s obviously nothing wrong with incorporating those exercises into your routine as they can be beneficial in so many ways. Still, you cannot afford to just focus on those exercises, especially when doing so can neglect other important muscle groups.

Working out your back muscles in particular is essential if you want to remain in better shape long-term and avoid injuries. Back exercises will help you develop better stability and unlock more of your natural strength. Plus, you can reduce the amount of back pain you experience by performing back exercises and that’s a pretty good incentive too.

So, which back exercise should you start including in your routine? Chest supported rows certainly warrant plenty of consideration.

What Are Chest Supported Rows?

The chest supported row is among the most accessible forms of exercise. Unlike with many back exercises that require you to use specialized pieces of equipment, chest supported rows can be performed in just about any gym and you will probably even be able to do them at home.

All you really need to have on hand for chest supported rows are two dumbbells and a bench. If you have a piece of furniture that can be set on an angle and still support you properly, that can work in the place of the bench.

Typically, chest supported rows are performed by lifting dumbbells simultaneously, but you can also isolate sides if you are more comfortable with that.

Related: Best 5 Back Exercises With Only Dumbbells

What Are the Benefits of Chest Supported Dumbbell Rows?

If you already have other back exercises that you perform as part of your exercise routine, you may be wondering if you still need to perform chest supported rows.

For those still on the fence about chest supported rows, here are some of the most important benefits that they can provide.

Incline DB Rows Allow You to Better Target Your Back Muscles

Back muscles are not always easy to target because you will often have to use other parts of your body to get to them. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with getting more muscles involved in the exercise routine, but the downside is that your back muscles aren’t receiving as much attention as they should.

Chest supported rows are different because they don’t really require you to activate that many muscles. Aside from the muscles in your back, the only other ones that become fully activated are the muscles in your arms.

If your goal is to strengthen your back as much as possible, chest supported rows will be able to help you out immensely.

They Don’t Expose Your Back to High Injury Risk

two arm chest supported db rows
two arm chest supported rows

Injuries are always unpleasant, but back injuries in particular can be devastating. If you pull something in your back, even the simple act of walking can turn into a real challenge.

Chest supported rows help you avoid injury risk because they require you to lean on a bench. The bench provides you with ample support and keeps your back in a position where it is not susceptible to injury.

As long as you exercise the proper amount of caution while performing chest supported rows, you should be fine.

Pronated Chest Supported Rows Are Very Accessible

As noted previously, chest supported rows can be performed just about anywhere as long as you have the required weights and a bench or something similar to it to provide support. That’s not the only reason why chest supported rows are accessible though.

For those who cannot afford to spend that much time at the gym, chest supported rows are worth taking up. Since you won’t have to wait around for a machine to open up, you can just pick up a pair of dumbbells, walk over to an open bench and get to work.

It’s easy to integrate pronated chest supported rows into an exercise routine because of how accessible they are.

How Do You Perform Incline Supported Rows?

Now that you know more about what chest supported rows are and how they can be helpful to you, let’s talk about how to perform them properly. The video above serves as an easy-to-follow guide for performing chest supported rows.

I’ll also detail the steps in writing in case you can’t watch video right now.

Assume the Proper Position

To get things started, you will have to get into the proper position for the chest supported rows.

Start by grabbing the dumbbells and holding one in each hand. Continue by straddling the bench and then laying your chest on top of the inclined portion.

Go high up on the incline if you can. It’s okay if only portions of your feet are making contact with the ground.

Lower your hands but position your palms in such a way that they are still facing each other. You should have a dumbbell in each hand.

Lift the Dumbbells

From that position, start to lift the dumbbells. Move your hands as if you’re going to put them inside your pockets. Lift slowly if you need to, but don’t forget to engage the shoulder blades properly.

Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you raise the dumbbells.

Lower the dumbbells slowly. Stretch your lats as you’re doing so to activate the muscles better.

Raise and lower the dumbbells in the same ways again until you get enough reps in.

Isolate Each Side Individually

chest supported incline rows
rows for back muscles

If lifting both dumbbells up at the same time is proving a bit difficult, you can still perform chest supported rows by isolating your sides.

Place your chest and legs in the same position, but this time, the hand that isn’t carrying a dumbbell should be resting along the top edge of the bench. After that, just raise and lower the dumbbell in your other hand in the matter detailed previously.

Once you’re done with one side, perform the same number of reps with the dumbbell in your other hand.

What Precautions Should Be Followed When Performing Chest Supported Rows?

Chest supported rows don’t require you to use the heaviest weights. Doing so may even just open you up to a freak injury.

Stick with the dumbbells that you can work with problem-free during the workout.

Take your time while performing the chest supported rows as well. Rushing is not going to make this exercise any more effective.

Lastly, refrain from lifting your chest too high off the bench while raising the dumbbells. Lifting the chest up a bit so that you can get a better squeeze is fine, but if your abdomen is no longer making contact with the bench, you’ve gone too far.

performing the db rows with bad form

Keep those precautionary measures in mind while you’re performing chest supported rows and you should be able to easily avoid injuries.


Back exercises that are effective, accessible, and safe should be elements of anyone’s workout routine. All of those adjectives can be used to describe chest supported rows.

If you want a more balanced workout, don’t hesitate to include the chest supported rows into your regular routine.

Given how easy they are to perform, you should be able to complete them with no problem and they should benefit you for a long period of time.

Let me know if this article was helpful to you, and please share if you enjoyed it.

Talk soon,
CC Matthews
Transformation Coach/ Pizza Lover

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