According to a ranking based on experiments by Bret Contreras and posted on T-Mag.com, the 1-arm Dumbbell Chest Supported Row is one of the best back and biceps movement for building lean muscle mass.
Bret tested 45 exercises using an EMG test to figure out which movement activated the most muscle.
Why is this important?
Well, if you’re something who wants to build lean muscle mass, but as little time to exercise, then you want to focus on the BEST movements to get the job done. You don’t have time to spend 2 hours per day curling in the gym.
(Surprisingly, biceps isolation didn’t score too well on the EMG tests!).
Problems with the Regular Row
There’s nothing wrong with rows. In fact, rows are important in a muscle building movement. However, people have a tendency to do them wrong. In fact, most people do them wrong then right.
Here are some common problems with the row:
- Keeping your body too vertical – You start with the row, but after each rep, your body becomes more and more vertical, turning that row into a upright row. Make up your mind: are you doing a row, or an upright row?
- Jerking the Back/Bouncing - You drop the chest, then reverse position, powering up to get the bar to your chest. This usually happens when you perform too many repetitions at once, or the weight is too heavy.
- Moving your Legs – I like to have a slight bend in my legs. Some people state that you should keep your legs straight, but unlocked. We all agree that you should not move your legs once you’ve settled on a stance.
Fixing the Problem
The solution is the Chest-supported Row. To perform this movement, lay down on a bench, with the dumbbells on the floor. Keep your abs tight as you grab the dumbbells. Keep your back straight.
Now bring the dumbbells off the floor and row them towards your chest. Squeeze you’re scapula, and bring the dumbbells back to starting position.
See how this movement solves the problems with regular rowing:
- Your body is forced to stay in one position, so there is no bouncing involved.
- The movement forces you to lower weights because if you can not lift the weights, there is absolutely no way you can bounce the weights to your back (but I’m sure someone out there will find a way to cheat on this movement).
1-arm vs. 2-arm
The 1-arm version is preferred over the 2-arm version. This is because the single arm version alllows you to focus on one side at a time, meaning that your body can recruit more muscle fibers by concentrating all your force to one side.
1-limb training also uses more stabilizer muscles. This way, you can hit all your major muscle groups, and tiny muscle groups, all in one go.
This is just one of the many great muscle building exercises used in Craig Ballantyne’s brand new Muscle Massacre workout. Click here to learn more.
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