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Humble Row [Exercise Guide]

Humble row

What Is A Humble Row

The humble row is a form of a chest supported dumbbell row in its most basic form. The wrist and elbow posture in the humble row causes more stimulation of the rear deltoid, rhomboid, and traps than in a standard chest-supported dumbbell row. It is a specialized row form, but some people would interpret this movement as a dumbbell chest press.

What Muscles Does Humble Row Work

Humble row works the following muscles:

  • rear delts – the greater the lateral displacement of the elbows during a pulling motion, the greater the activation of the rear deltoids;
  • traps – relax these muscles at the beginning of the exercise and retract them throughout the rep to get the most out of the workout;
  • rhomboids – you will be drawing your shoulder blades back and away from your spine with each rep;
  • lats – are activated if the elbows are brought inward toward the upper torso.

How to Perform Humble Row

Step 1. Setup

Install an incline bench with a 30° – 45° angle. Choose the weights you wish to use; opt for lesser weights since this exercise requires three to four sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.

Step 2. Get on the bench

Place yourself on the bench, chest supported, facing the incline bench. Extend your arms in front of you so that they hang straight as you grip the weights.

Step 3. Row up

Bend your elbows and row the weights up to the side of your chest while keeping your core strong and without shifting your hips. Extend your elbows at least 45 degrees out from your sides. At the start, make sure your shoulder blades rotate away from your spine.

Step 4. Pause

At the peak of the action, pause for a second with your elbows behind your torso until you feel the most stiffness in your back.

Step 5. Return to the starting position

Relax your delts, lats, and traps and drop the weights back.

Advantages of Humble Row

Isolated workout

This is the workout for you if you want stronger delts and traps. The movement’s proper form puts you in a position where you can’t use momentum. So you rely only on targeted muscles and load them to the maximum.

Improves posture

Many have a forward-rounded posture. As a result, the rotator cuff muscles are overworked, which may cause impingement syndrome. Humble row increases shoulder stability and improves posture.

5 Humble Row Alternatives

1. Chest Supported Row

The chest-supported row is a back workout done on an incline bench with weights. The exercise strengthens the middle to upper back muscles and the rear deltoids.

How to do chest supported row:

  • Lean your upper body against the bench while holding dumbbells. Lay down on your stomach with your head erect.
  • Place your hands on both sides of the bench and keep your legs together.
  • Bend your elbows and row upwards. Your lats and middle back should be contracted as you raise your arms.
  • Slowly and carefully place your hands in the beginning position.

2. Kettlebell Row

The latissimus dorsi, biceps, and rhomboids are all targeted and trained with the kettlebell row. Regardless of skill level or experience, everyone may benefit from this movement.

How to do kettlebell row:

  • Keep your kettlebell in between your thighs. Spread your knees wide and squat down. The ideal position for your back is nearly perpendicular to the floor.
  • Start with bringing your hands behind your back and bending your elbows. 
  • Bring your arms in toward your body. Do not cross the wrist over the elbow.
  • Wait a few seconds, then straighten your arms to return to starting position.

3. Helms Row 

The Helms row is a variation of the traditional rowing motion that uses chest support. It primarily works lats and traps. When doing the Helms row, the dumbbells may be held with an overhand or underhand grip, according to the individual’s choice.

How to do Helms row:

  • Grab the dumbbells and lean forward until your chest touches the tip of the bench. Your torso should be parallel to the ground.
  • Raise the dumbbells. Keep your knees slightly bent, but not too much. If you want to get the most out of this exercise and tighten your lats, you need also remember to keep your elbows back as you begin. 
  • Find a comfortable medium ground between excessively tucked-in or flared elbows. 
  • The tension should be felt in the lats and the scapulae as you practice the move.
  • Keeping your back in a neutral position, lower the dumbbells.

4. Yates Row 

Due to its high degree of effectiveness in back training and low risk of injury, the Yates row deserves regular practice. The exercise targets lats, rhomboids, posterior delts, biceps, and erector spinae.

How to do Yates row:

  • With your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent, grab the barbell with a supinated (underhand) grip. 
  • The most important thing is to lean forward without hunching your lower back.
  • Using a rowed motion, bring the barbell to your upper chest. Flex your elbows and pull your shoulder blades back.
  • After pausing briefly at the bottom of the exercise, steadily return to the beginning.

5. Pendlay Row 

The Pendlay row is an effective bodybuilding move for strengthening your lower back and hamstrings in addition to your back muscles. The exercise was created by the legendary U.S. Olympic weightlifting instructor Glenn Pendlay.

How to do Pendlay Row:

  • Straighten your back and place your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  • Forward-bend the torso by hinging the hips until the upper body is almost parallel to the ground.
  • Grab the barbell with both hands using a little wider than shoulder-width overhand grip.
  • Bring the barbell to your chest while bracing your core and pressing your shoulder blades together.
  • At the peak, pause briefly and then carefully lower the weight to the floor.


What is a humble row?

The humble row is a specialized row form, aiming to load rear deltoid, rhomboid, and traps better than a conventional chest-supported row.

What muscles do humbles row work?

The movement targets delts, traps, rhomboids, and lats.

Is humble row worth it?

The exercise strengthens upper body muscles and improves posture and balance. Both things are beneficial for everyday life and sportive performance.


Try humble row has the power to strengthen your shoulders and enhance your posture. It’s a terrific way to target your upper back specifically and pump delts, traps, rhomboids, and lats. Do you want to try something alternative? A few more options might provide you with comparable advantages. We talk about kettlebell row, Helms row, Pendlay row, etc. Just pick the one you like and try!

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