Dumbbell rows are a great exercise to work the middle back, core, biceps, chest, lats and triceps. This movement also involves scapula retraction and depression, along with spinal extension and compression through the thoracolumbar region. In the plank position, this also acts as a core stabilization exercise through anti-rotation and anti-flexion.
I also love this exercise because it is very anti-rotational. In quoting Nick Tumminello, he made a great point that you do not want to rotate when pulling the dumbbells because you will be taking away from the efficiency of the movement. He also mentions you want to find the proper position to keep from rotating.
If you do the progressions the correct way, you will fill it in the core musculature as well as the other muscles mentioned above. If you are not strong enough, you do not want to use a heavy weight. However, if you are strong enough, you want a wider base than normal and you will get more stability and benefit from the pull when the hand is placed fervently in the ground. From the video, you will see I repositioned myself several times and that is what you want to do when finding the right place to achieve the movement correctly.
Now here we performed multiple dumbbell rows in sequence with multiple sled pulls. Therefore, we have a great pulling combination. The hardest thing to get everyone to understand is how you can successfully perform a variations of pulling movements (that are scientifically backed) without using the bar and/or cable machines.
How to perform is below:
1) Start in a plank position with your legs wider than hip-width distance; the wider stance makes you more stable. Hold onto your dumbbells, keeping your wrist locked to protect the joint.
2) With your core tight and your glutes engaged, exhale, stabilizing your torso as you lift your right elbow to row; feel your right scapula sliding toward your spine as you bend your elbow up toward the ceiling. (This might change depending on the weight you use)
3) Keeping your neck long and energized, return the weight to the ground and repeat the movement on your left side.
4) After you perform the DB Plank Row several times, be ready to pull the sled in succession to your body.
5) My head is dipping when I pull, which is a no no. However, I was playing around with them and I will clean that up.
This is great on all levels for those who love performing the DB plank to row and for those who love performing single arm sled pulls, etc. Fenwick et al (2009). Comparison of Different Rowing Exercises: Trunk Muscle Activation and Lumbar Spine Motion, Load & Stiffness. J Str Cond Res 23(5): 1408-1417.
Furthermore, core stability and injury, several studies have found an association between a decreased stability and a higher risk of sustaining a low back or knee injury. Subjects with such injuries have been shown to demonstrate impaired postural control, delayed muscle reflex responses following sudden trunk unloading and abnormal trunk muscle recruitment patterns. In addition, various relationships have been demonstrated between core stability, balance performance and activation characteristics of the trunk muscles. Most importantly, a significant correlation was found between poor balance performance in a sitting balance task and delayed firing of the trunk muscles during sudden perturbation. It was suggested that both phenomena are caused by proprioceptive deficits. The importance of sensory-motor control has implications for the development of measurement and training protocols. It has been shown that challenging propriocepsis during training activities, for example, by making use of unstable surfaces, leads to increased demands on trunk muscles, thereby improving core stability and balance. “The importance of sensory-motor control in providing core stability: implications for measurement and training. Sports Med. 2008; 38(11):893-916. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200838110-00002.”