How To Do Humble Row

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What is the definition of a humble row?

The modest row is a dumbbell row with your chest supported. If you're wondering what separates the humble row from a standard chest-supported dumbbell row, it's the wrist and elbow position, which leads to more posterior deltoid, rhomboid, and trap activation. However, because this is a unique row variation, many people will mistake it for a regular chest-supported dumbbell row.

How To Do Humble Row

What is the definition of a lowly row?

The modest row is a dumbbell row that is done with the chest supported. The wrist and elbow positions, which contribute to higher rear deltoid, rhomboid, and trap activation, are what distinguishes the modest row from a standard chest supported dumbbell row. This is, however, a unique row variation, and many people will mistake it for a conventional dumbbell row with a chest support.

  • Set up your bench at a 30–45 degree angle and lie down on it chest first.
  • With your hands facing your feet, grab your dumbbells with a pronated (overhand) grip.
  • At the start of the exercise, make sure our shoulder blades are moving laterally, away from our spine. We'll be able to contract our traps later on as a result of this.
  • Pull your elbows back while squeezing your traps to retract your scapula to begin the movement (shoulder blades).
  • Your elbows should be at least 45 degrees out to the side of your torso. The more our elbows are from our bodies, the more our delts and traps will be recruited, while our lats will be used less.
  • With your elbows behind your chest, continue this action until you feel maximum tension in your back.
  • Return to the beginning position by releasing the tension in your delts, lats, and traps.

Rowing workout in a humble manner

In general, we advise staying away from strength training moves like this. This is owing to the potential of harm that comes with overdoing a single motion. Because the shoulder is the most mobile joint in your body, building up massive 1 rep maxes on your rear delt is a surefire way to injure yourself.

Aim for 12 reps per set for 3–4 sets, with a 1–2 minute rest period in between.

Benefits of Humble Row

Excellent for toning the upper back.

It's no surprise that this row is ideal for growing your upper back because it's designed to target the traps and rear delts.

  • While the lat muscle is activated, it plays a little part in this action.
  • The chest support helps target muscle activation by limiting momentum.

With so many standing motions, it's common to see people relying on momentum to finish a rep rather than concentrating on the muscle we're attempting to activate.

This exercise's chest support prevents us from using momentum as we would with a standing barbell row.

Drawbacks of the humble row

Due to the solitary character of the movement, it is difficult to overload.

As previously stated, this is not an exercise where progressive overload or a one-rep max should be sought. Leave it for your big compound lists, when you can use your core to keep your joints safe.

Rowing with your chest supported vs. rowing with your chest supported

The important thing to remember is that most people employ the humble row to increase posterior delt and trap activation by abducting the arm to a certain degree (moving away from the midline, to the side). Because the job of the lats is to bring the humerus back towards the body when the arms are squarely in front, this results in reduced lat activity.

When doing a chest supported dumbbell row, most people keep their elbows in line with the edge of their torso, predominantly activating the lat muscle. Because they target different muscles, the best workout for you will depend on which muscle you want to strengthen.

Rowing muscles were put to the test.

Deltoid muscle in the back (posterior)

In a pulling movement, the further our elbow moves out to the side, the more the rear delt is engaged. Because we're pushing our arms back and directly to the side, the face-pull is an excellent rear delt exercise.


Concerned about shoulder blade stability, we're working our traps hard when we relax our scapula at the start of the movement then retract them during a rep. You're missing a trick if you're not using scapular movement on top arm movement (lat and rear delts emphasized).

Rhomboids are a type of rhombus (Rhomboideus major and minor)

The rhomboids retract the scapula and rotate the shoulder socket (Glenoid cavity), which is important in the movement since we pull our scapula away from our spine and then retract it in every rep.

latissimus dorsi (latissimus dorsi)

While the lats play a minor role in this variant of the row, if your elbows aren't entirely out to the side, you'll likely discover some lat activation.

Alternatives to the humble row

Rowing with a wide grip cable

Try this alternative if you'd rather utilize a cable. Although we're targeting the same muscles, you might find this more pleasant or convenient than using dumbbells.

Wide machine rows were supported by the chest.

As our elbows flare out to the sides, this exercise roughly resembles the traditional row.

One thing to keep in mind is that a machine will require less stabilization muscles, making it slightly less functional. The machine, on the other hand, allows you to greatly increase the weight, which can aid in the development of strength and growth. With this maneuver, make sure you're also doing free weight exercises.

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