Pushups Plus Lat Rows Equal One Killer Exercise

Combine two moves to build both the upper body and core

Pushup with dumbbells

Johner Images / Getty Images

A pushup is arguably the best exercise for building upper-body strength while also strengthening the core. Other benefits of this bodyweight exercise are that it can be done anywhere with no equipment, and it doesn't require much time to work to fatigue.

Lat rows, which include cable rows and dumbbell bent over rows, are other excellent exercises that often get overlooked. These pulling movements help increase strength in your upper and middle back while also boosting power in your biceps and triceps.

But what if you could combine these two simple, yet highly effective exercises into one killer move? With a set of dumbbells, you can.

Pushup rows with dumbbells provide the perfect combination exercise using both a push and a pull movement. Also sometimes referred to as a dumbbell pushup single-arm row, these moves can double your results without increasing your workout time.

This is an advanced exercise good for building strength, but even a beginner can get started by simply using the right form and incorporating light weights. 

Proper Pushup With Lat Row Form


Watch Now: The Push Up With Lat Row is a Killer Two-in-One Exercise

Done properly, this compound exercise strengthens the muscles in the chest, shoulders, arms, back, abs, and even the legs. To do pushup rows with dumbbells safely requires that you use good form.

Using proper alignment ensures that this movement works the appropriate muscles effectively while also reducing your risk of injury. Good form for this exercise is as follows:

  • Begin in a pushup position with your hands directly beneath your shoulders, each hand holding a dumbbell. (Use dumbbells with flat sides for stability.)
  • Balance on your hands and toes with your feet spread wide for better stability.
  • Keep your body in a straight line. Avoid any sagging in the middle by keeping your back straight (but not arched).
  • Contract your abs and tighten your core by pulling your belly button toward your spine. Keep a tight core throughout the entire exercise.

How to Do the Pushup With Lat Row

This pushup plus lat row exercise combines a dumbbell row with a traditional pushup movement. This increases the intensity of both exercises while also engaging your latissimus dorsi (back) muscles and activating your core.

To do a dumbbell pushup single-arm row:

  • Begin in the starting position, using proper form.
  • Inhale as you slowly bend your elbows and lower your upper body until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle.
  • Exhale as you begin pushing back up to the start position.
  • Once at the start position, do a dumbbell row by bending your elbow and pulling one dumbbell up toward your body, while stabilizing your body with the other arm. At the top of the row motion, the dumbbell should be close to your chest with your elbow pointing upward. Keep your hips stable and don't rotate the torso as you perform the row.
  • Return the dumbbell gently to the ground and repeat another pushup.
  • Next, do another dumbbell row, this time using the other arm.
  • Continue the pushup-row motion, alternating between arms.
  • Repeat for as many repetitions as your workout routine requires.

Use light weights until you are able to perfect your form. If you notice that you are compromising your alignment to lift the weights, they are too heavy. Go back to lighter weights until you develop more strength.

Increase Intensity With These Pushup Variations

Pushups are good for people of all fitness levels because they are easily modified. A novice can perform this movement on their knees, for example, and as they become stronger, there are countless ways to increase the difficulty of this movement.

Here are a few ways to modify your pushup during this combination move, increasing its intensity as your muscle strength begins to improve:

  • Stability Ball Pushups. By performing a pushup on a stability ball, you engage your core stabilizers like no one's business. This provides an upper-body and core workout that can leave you feeling the results the following day.
  • Alternating Medicine Ball Pushups. Work your pecs and core with this simple, but challenging pushup. Alternating hand positions during your pushup provides a varied exercise that works your upper body in a whole new way.
  • Decline Pushups. When standard pushups become too easy, increase the intensity of this exercise by elevating your feet. It looks easier than it is. 
Was this page helpful?