Incline Row (Chest Supported Row)
What Is An Incline Row (Chest Supported Row)
The incline dumbbell row, or chest supported row, is a variation of the dumbbell bent over row where the perform leans the chest on an incline bench for support. Using the bench for support allows the torso to be at a 45-degree angle without relying on a hip hinge, which reduces the demand on the hamstrings and glutes and allows the back muscles to be challenged without being limited by lower body fatigue.
The incline dumbbell row targets the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezius, and rear deltoids. A neutral grip (palms facing each other) is commonly used, which may feel more comfortable on the shoulder joint. However, you can choose to vary the grip to create more focus on different muscles. A supinated (underhand) grip places more challenge on the biceps, while a pronated (overhand) grip engages the lats further.
The incline dumbbell row is a good option for those new to the bent over row as the bench provides stability and the correct position to perform the movement while reducing the stress placed on the lower back. It can also help to improve muscular imbalances between the two sides as each side works independently.
Commonly Asked Questions On Incline Row
The number of sets and reps you choose to do incline dumbbell rows will depend on your goals. For hypertrophy, 3-4 sets of 6-12 reps is usually recommended, for strength, 3-5 sets of 2-6 reps is recommended, and for endurance, 2-3 sets of 12-20 reps is recommended.
For all goals, it’s best to train within 2-3 reps of failure, so if your goal is hypertrophy and you’re aiming for 12 reps, it should be difficult to get all 12 and impossible to get 15.
The incline dumbbell row, or chest supported row, is a good compound exercise to build strength and muscle in the back. The support from the bench removes involvement from the lower body which can help performers to challenge the back muscles sufficiently, especially if they struggle to maintain a hip hinge position in the bent over row.
The incline dumbbell row and flat dumbbell row are both great upper body exercises that can build strength and aid muscular hypertrophy. While neither option is better or worse than the other, they do challenge the body in different ways. The flat dumbbell row places more focus solely on the upper back, while the incline dumbbell row also recruits the erector spinae. The flat version may be more appropriate for those prone to lower back issues.
Incline Row Tips
The chest supported row can be a good alternative to the bent over row if you struggle maintaining a hip hinge position, however maintaining correct form is still important to ensure the right muscles are targeted and reduce risk of injury. Make sure that the balls of your feet remain firmly on the floor and chest in contact with the bench throughout the entire movement to keep the emphasis on the back muscles.
Choose a weight that allows full range of motion to be performed in a smooth, controlled manner. If you struggle to row the dumbbells to your hips without throwing the weight up, lighten the load and work through the full range of motion.
How To Do An Incline Row (Chest Supported Row)
Set up a bench to 45-degrees, then stand over it and position your chest flat against the bench so that your head is higher than the bench, and the balls of your feet are in contact with the floor.
Begin the reps by pulling your elbows back in an arc to row the dumbbells towards your hips.
Return the dumbbells to the starting position by slowly allowing your arms to extend in front of you.
If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.