Humble row is an effective upper back exercise that targets the latissimus dorsi and rhomboids, among other smaller back muscles. It also helps promote proper posture by strengthening the muscles responsible for keeping the shoulder blades in a neutral position. Regularly incorporating humble rows into your routine will help you look and feel stronger in the upper body while helping prevent back pain or injury.
This exercise is relatively simple to perform and can be performed with a wide variety of tools including dumbbells, barbells and resistance bands making it ideal for a range of workout environments. It is also a good alternative to more traditional exercises like the chest supported dumbbell row or the bent over row.
When compared to other back building movements, humble rows are more targeted to the rear deltoids, traps and rhomboids than the biceps. This is due to the positioning of the elbows during the movement which takes away the focus on the lats and allows for a greater emphasis on the squeezing of the shoulder blades known as scapular retraction and protraction.
The biceps are still engaged during humble rows but only as an assistance muscle, supporting wrist rotation and elbow flexion. This means that the humble row can be a powerful addition to any upper body training routine without detracting from more targeted and essential back building movements such as the incline dumbbell or the face pull.
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when performing humble rows is rounding their back or lifting too heavy. The key is to prioritize precision over power and use a light to moderate weight that you can control during each rep. This will minimize fatigue but ensure that the targeted smaller upper back muscles are fully activated.