STOP Doing 1 Arm Rows Like This! (SAVE A FRIEND)

The 1 arm row or single arm dumbbell row is one of those exercises that can easily be messed up and cause an injury – and it doesn’t have to be. There is a very simple dumbbell row form fix that can decrease inguinal hernia risk and give you a better back exercise option in the process.

First, it is important to understand the risk of the common dumbbell row, performed with one knee up on the bench and the other leg dropped back behind you.

This places tension stress on an already weakened inguinal canal. This is the area in the groin where the testicles once dropped through to assume their current position. While this canal closes down almost entirely, there still is an inherent weakness that persists at the near closure which makes the area susceptible to tension stress.

When performing the one arm dumbbell row with the knee up, this area gets exposed to the asymmetrical stress and increases the vulnerability of the area.

Combine that with the heavy weights that are commonly used on the exercise and you will see that, with a little added uncontrolled swinging, that the groin is under a high amount of stress. This can lead to a higher degree of inguinal hernias on this exercise than on even something performed with heavier overall weights – like a deadlift.

The fix is easy though.

Just perform the one armed row with both feet on the ground in a variation called the tripod row. Keep both feet firmly planted on the ground and put one hand on the back of an incline bench or even the dumbbell rack to support your upper body. The ground reaction forces will instantly be distributed much more evenly across the muscles of the pelvis which will decrease the asymmetrical overload that occurs on one side of the groin during the knee based version of the exercise.

You can transition to a version without holding onto anything with the upper body. This is called the gorilla row. You should have good low back strength to perform this version however since it will require it to perform it explosively and safely. The key is, regardless which version you perform, both are better and consistently aligned with helping you to grow bigger, wider lats without compromising your gains with a lower body strain or hernia.

Obviously, make sure to perform all of your sets with your feet squared up to your anchor point. This means, you want to point them straight ahead and keep the angle of your back steady throughout. Keep the lower back slightly arched to prevent rounding and handle weights that are heavy but still able to be managed at all points of the range of motion. This means that you should be able to hold a strong contraction at the top or even stop the dumbbells at any point in the range of motion when you perform them.

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