Bent Over Barbell Row With Arm Twist For Back And Spine Health

Hello and welcome everyone to another episode of Fey Fitness!

In today’s video I will demonstrate how to perform a bent over barbell row using dumbbells. I love row exercises. There are oodles of variations you can do to achieve a ton of different outcomes, all dependent on your fitness goals.

For example, seated rows or bent over dumbbell rows are amazing for your back, and getting those sexy V-shaped muscles we see on professional bodybuilders. But it’s more than just looks, rows can help strengthen the erector spinae to help keep your spine strong and healthy- which reduces your chances of getting injured while working out or playing a sport.

Rows are also great for improving the functionality of your everyday life. Think of all the times you need to bend over and pick something up, or get a heavy box down from the top shelf in your closet. Having strong spinal muscles are important to keeping yourself safe while performing these everyday moments.

Some of the main varieties of rows are:

  • Seated
  • Bent Over
  • Yates
  • Pendlay

And some common grips are:

  • Narrow
  • Wide
  • Reverse Narrow
  • Reverse Wide

As you can imagine, changing the stance or grip will affect which muscle groups become the main focus of the exercise. So today we are going to look at a normal grip bent over dumbbell row.

Whew! That was a mouthful to say.

I love bent over dumbbell rows because it allows me to really hone in on my back muscles. The muscles you will be working out for this exercise are: the latissimus dorsi (the middle portion), the rhomboids, the lower trapezius, the biceps brachii and the erector spinae.


What Grip Should You Use For Rows?

Unfortunately, as you’ve heard before with other health and fitness questions, it depends on your goals. The grip you use, and the width of that grip, will determine which sections of muscles will be the focus of your exercise. If your goal is to have a broad, wide back that is very well defined, then I recommend narrow grip rows. However, if your focus is a healthy spine and good posture, then wide grip rows would be the way to go.

Or, you can be an all-star and do both! There’s nothing saying you can’t do narrow grip rows one day, then wide grips row on your next back training day. But remember, the amount of total weight you will be able to move could be less when you are doing wide-grip versus with a narrow grip, so don’t let that discourage you.

Next let’s talk about what I call “normal” grip versus reverse grip rows. A “normal” grip is when the exterior of your hand faces outward, and your palms are facing your body. This is the most common type of grip you will see at your local gym, or if you Google this term. Generally speaking, when we talk about the muscles used with this type of grip we are looking at the latissimus dorsi (the outer portion), the middle and upper trapezius muscles and the erector spinae. All of which are great muscles to work for a strong and defined back.

Now let’s look at the reverse grip. This grip has the palms facing outward with the exterior of the hand facing in the direction of your body. The muscles that are generally being worked here are the latissimus dorsi (note that it is the middle portion now being worked), the rhomboids, the lower trapezius, the biceps brachii and the erector spinae. See how we are working different portions of the same muscles? This is why you can do rows one way for one workout, then vary the grip and get a completely different outcome from another workout.

Normal Grip Bent Over Dumbbell Row With Arm Twist

Muscles Used: latissimus dorsi (middle portion), rhomboids, lower trapezius, biceps brachii, erector spinae

  1. Come into an athletic stance with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Pick up the dumbbells with your hands shoulder-width apart in an overhand grip (where your palms face your body).
  3. Bend forward at the hip so you have a nice straight spine and your arms are hanging straight down from your shoulders.
  4. Pull the dumbbells toward your sternum by raising the elbows up and back and rotating your hands so that the dumbbells are now parallel to one another and your palms are facing your core. Squeeze your shoulder blades together behind you as the weight is raised.
  5. When the ends of the dumbbell touch your sternum, pause for a second or two before you slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position. When you return to the starting position be sure to not lock your elbows, just keep the arms straight.
  6. Repeat this movement 10-15 times for 3 sets.

Pro Tip: Never let gravity take over as the weight descends. This is how people get injured and have negative impressions of a row exercise. Keep the muscles engaged and strong through the downward portion of the move so it remains as smooth as it was on the upward motion.


If you have Atrial Fibrillation, be sure to monitor how your heart is doing throughout this exercise. The movements shouldn’t spike your heart rate enough to cause an AFib episode, but still be aware of how you are feeling and stop if your heart starts beating erratically or skipping beats.

As always, please like and subscribe to this channel to stay up to date on new content, and head on over to Instagram (@fey_fitness) to give me a follow or to YouTube at Fey Fitness.

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Published by feyfitness

Hello everyone! Welcome to my webpage. This site is dedicated to helping people learn to lead more active lifestyles. I incorporate a mixture of Pilates, weight training, body weight movements and stretches to meet and exceed client expectations.

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