Dumbbell Row Weight Standards (beginner to advanced)

Dumbbell row weight standards.

To make the most out of your dumbbell rows, you need to be lifting the right amount of weight. But this varies from person to person. Below, I reveal dumbbell row standards to help you decide how much weight to lift.

A respectable dumbbell row for beginners is around 30% of body weight for 1 repetition. In contrast, intermediates should be able to row 85%- and advanced lifters 120%- of body weight. Switching to the one-arm row variation usually decreases these standards by 30%.

The weight standards in this post will help you determine what is a respectable weight to be rowing and how much weight you should be lifting based on your gender, body weight, and training experience.

Types Of Dumbbell Row

For the purpose of definition, this post covers weight standards for the two main rowing variations that you can do with dumbbells:

  • Bent-over dumbbell row.
  • One-arm dumbbell row.

The bent-over row uses two dumbbells and utilizes an overhand grip. This variation will be referred to as a “dumbbell row” from here onwards.

Bent-over dumbbell row.

The one-arm (also called single-arm) row uses one dumbbell and utilizes a hammer grip. This variation will be referred to as a “one-arm row” from here onwards.

One-arm (single-arm) dumbbell row.

How To Use These Weight Standards

How to use these dumbbell row standards.

1) Determining your training level:

  • Beginners have practiced the row for 1-12 months.
  • Intermediates have practiced the row for 12-36 months.
  • Advanced lifters have practiced the row for 4 years or more.

2) Choosing your rep range:

The weight standards are given for:

  • 1-rep max (1RM)- this is the maximum amount of weight you can lift for a single repetition. It’s often used as a strength standard.
  • 6-10 working reps- this is generally considered to be the ideal rep range for building muscle.

3) Selecting your gender and body weight:

  • Average dumbbell row weight standards are revealed for common body weights.
  • Male dumbbell row weight standards are given.
  • Females can use a 60% conversion (multiply the weight standard by 0.60).

4) Reading the charts:

  • Weight standards are given as lbs on the top and kg on the bottom.
  • If you’re dumbbell rowing at or above the weight standard for your given training level, body weight, and gender, then you are lifting a respectable amount of weight.

Beginner Dumbbell Row Weight Standards

Here’s how much weight you should be lifting on the dumbbell row as a beginner:

Bodyweight1-rep max6-rep max7-rep max8-rep max9-rep max10-rep max
120lb
54kg
24lb
11kg
20lb
9kg
20lb
9kg
19lb
9kg
19lb
8kg
18lb
8kg
150lb
68kg
42lb
19kg
35lb
16kg
34lb
16kg
34lb
15kg
33lb
15kg
31lb
14kg
200lb
91kg
74lb
34kg
62lb
28kg
61lb
28kg
59lb
27kg
58lb
26kg
54lb
24kg
250lb
113kg
106lb
48kg
89lb
40kg
87lb
39kg
85lb
38kg
83lb
37kg
77lb
35kg
300lb
136kg
134lb
61kg
113lb
51kg
110lb
50kg
107lb
49kg
105lb
47kg
98lb
44kg
Male beginner dumbbell row standards. Weights are for 2 dumbbells combined.

Generally speaking, beginners should be able to dumbbell row 20 to 45% of their body weight for a single repetition (1-rep max).

Intermediate Dumbbell Row Weight Standards

Here’s how much weight you should be lifting on the dumbbell row as an intermediate lifter:

Bodyweight1-rep max6-rep max7-rep max8-rep max9-rep max10-rep max
120lb
54kg
92lb
42kg
77lb
35kg
75lb
34kg
74lb
33kg
72lb
33kg
67lb
30kg
150lb
68kg
126lb
57kg
106lb
48kg
103lb
47kg
101lb
46kg
98lb
45kg
92lb
42kg
200lb
91kg
176lb
80kg
148lb
67kg
144lb
65kg
141lb
64kg
137lb
62kg
128lb
58kg
250lb
113kg
222lb
101kg
186lb
85kg
182lb
83kg
178lb
81kg
173lb
79kg
162lb
73kg
300lb
136kg
264lb
120kg
222lb
101kg
216lb
98kg
211lb
96kg
206lb
93kg
193lb
87kg
Male intermediate dumbbell row standards. Weights are for 2 dumbbells combined.

Generally speaking, intermediates should be able to dumbbell row 75 to 90% of their body weight for a single repetition.

Advanced Dumbbell Row Weight Standards

Here’s how much weight you should be lifting on the dumbbell row as an advanced lifter:

Bodyweight1-rep max6-rep max7-rep max8-rep max9-rep max10-rep max
120lb
54kg
142lb
64kg
119lb
54kg
116lb
53kg
114lb
52kg
111lb
50kg
104lb
47kg
150lb
68kg
184lb
83kg
155lb
70kg
151lb
68kg
147lb
67kg
144lb
65kg
134lb
61kg
200lb
91kg
246lb
112kg
207lb
94kg
202lb
91kg
197lb
89kg
192lb
87kg
180lb
81kg
250lb
113kg
300lb
136kg
252lb
114kg
246lb
112kg
240lb
109kg
234lb
106kg
219lb
99kg
300lb
136kg
348lb
158kg
292lb
133kg
285lb
129kg
278lb
126kg
271lb
123kg
254lb
115kg
Male advanced dumbbell row standards. Weights are for 2 dumbbells combined.

Generally speaking, an advanced lifter should be able to dumbbell row 115 to 120% of their body weight for a single repetition.

How Good Is Your Dumbbell Row Vs Others?

Here’s the average percentage of people who can dumbbell row their own body weight:

Dumbbell Row 1RM Weight (as a fraction of body weight)% Of People Who Can Do It
0.10x100%
0.20x99%
0.30x97%
0.40x94%
0.50x88%
0.60x79%
0.70x70%
0.80x59%
0.90x48%
1.00x38%
1.10x29%
1.20x22%
1.30x16%
1.40x11%
1.50x8%
1.60x5%
1.70x3%
1.80x2%
1.90x1%
2.00x0.99
Weights are for 2 dumbbells combined.

This allows you to compare your standards with others.

To calculate your dumbbell row as a fraction of your own body weight, simply divide the weight of your 1RM by your body weight.

For example: if you weigh 200lbs and your row 1RM is 100lbs, then you’re lifting 0.50x your body weight (75lbs ÷ 150lbs).

The above chart indicates:

  • 75% of people can dumbbell row 0.65x their body weight for 1 rep. This represents the lower quartile of lifters and is a respectable weight for beginners to achieve.
  • 50% of people can dumbbell row 0.90x their body weight for 1 rep. This represents the median quartile of lifters and is a respectable weight for intermediates to achieve. It’s also a realistic target for beginners to aim towards with enough training.
  • 25% of people can dumbbell row 1.15x their body weight for 1 rep. This represents the upper quartile of lifters and is a respectable weight for advanced lifters. It’s also a realistic target for intermediates to aim towards with enough training.

Beginner One-Arm Dumbbell Row Weight Standards

Here’s how much weight you should be lifting on the one-arm row as a beginner:

Bodyweight1-rep max6-rep max7-rep max8-rep max9-rep max10-rep max
120lb
54kg
19lb
9kg
16lb
7kg
16lb
7kg
15lb
7kg
15lb
7kg
14lb
6kg
150lb
68kg
30lb
14kg
25lb
11kg
25lb
11kg
24lb
11kg
23lb
11kg
22lb
10kg
200lb
91kg
48lb
22kg
40lb
18kg
39b
18kg
38lb
17kg
37lb
17kg
35lb
16kg
250lb
113kg
64lb
29kg
54lb
24kg
52lb
24kg
51lb
23kg
50lb
23kg
47lb
21kg
300lb
136kg
80lb
36kg
67lb
30kg
66lb
30kg
64lb
29kg
62lb
28kg
58lb
26kg
Male beginner one-arm dumbbell row standards. Weights are for a single dumbbell.

Generally speaking, beginners should be able to one-arm row 15 to 25% of their body weight for a single repetition (1-rep max).

Intermediate One-Arm Dumbbell Row Weight Standards

Here’s how much weight you should be lifting on the one-arm row as an intermediate lifter:

Bodyweight1-rep max6-rep max7-rep max8-rep max9-rep max10-rep max
120lb
54kg
61lb
28kg
51lb
23kg
50lb
23kg
49lb
22kg
48lb
22kg
45lb
20kg
150lb
68kg
79lb
36kg
66lb
30kg
65lb
29kg
63lb
29kg
62lb
28kg
58lb
26kg
200lb
91kg
107lb
49kg
90lb
41kg
88lb
40kg
86lb
39kg
83lb
38kg
78lb
35kg
250lb
113kg
131lb
59kg
110lb
50kg
107lb
49kg
105lb
48kg
102lb
46kg
96lb
43kg
300lb
136kg
153lb
69kg
129lb
58kg
125lb
57kg
122lb
56kg
119lb
54kg
112lb
51kg
Male intermediate one-arm dumbbell row standards. Weights are for a single dumbbell.

Generally speaking, intermediates should be able to one-arm row 50% of their body weight for a single repetition.

Advanced One-Arm Dumbbell Row Weight Standards

Here’s how much weight you should be lifting on the one-arm row as an advanced lifter :

Bodyweight1-rep max6-rep max7-rep max8-rep max9-rep max10-rep max
120lb
54kg
91lb
41kg
76lb
35kg
75lb
34kg
73lb
33kg
71lb
32kg
66lb
30kg
150lb
68kg
114lb
52kg
96lb
43kg
93lb
42kg
91lb
41kg
89lb
40kg
83lb
38kg
200lb
91kg
146lb
66kg
123lb
56kg
120lb
54kg
117lb
53kg
114lb
52kg
107lb
48kg
250lb
113kg
175lb
79kg
147lb
67kg
144lb
65kg
140lb
63kg
137lb
62kg
128lb
58kg
300lb
136kg
200lb
91kg
168lb
76kg
164lb
74kg
160lb
73kg
156lb
71kg
146lb
66kg
Male advanced one-arm dumbbell row standards. Weights are for a single dumbbell.

Generally speaking, an advanced lifter should be able to one-arm row 65 to 75% of their body weight for a single repetition.

How Good Is Your One-Arm Row Vs Others?

Here’s the average percentage of people who can one-arm row their own body weight:

One-Arm Dumbbell Row 1RM Weight (as a fraction of body weight)% Of People Who Can Do It
0.05x100%
0.10x100%
0.15x100%
0.20x99%
0.25x97%
0.30x91%
0.35x81%
0.40x69%
0.45x54%
0.50x40%
0.55x27%
0.60x17%
0.65x10%
0.70x6%
0.75x3%
0.80x2%
0.85x0.8%
0.90x0.4%
0.95x0.2%
1.00x0.1%
Weights are for a single dumbbell.

The above chart indicates:

  • 75% of people can one-arm row 0.40x their body weight for 1 rep. This represents the lower quartile of lifters and is a respectable weight for beginners to achieve.
  • 50% of people can one-arm row 0.45x their body weight for 1 rep. This represents the median quartile of lifters and is a respectable weight for intermediates to achieve. It’s also a realistic target for beginners to aim towards with enough training.
  • 25% of people can one-arm row 0.55x their body weight for 1 rep. This represents the upper quartile of lifters and is a respectable weight for advanced lifters. It’s also a realistic target for intermediates to aim towards with enough training.

Factors Affecting How Much Weight You Can Dumbbell Row

4 factors affect how much weight you can lift on a dumbbell row:

  1. Training Level. The longer you’ve been practicing the row the more weight you can lift.
  2. Gender. Men have more muscle mass and can generally row more than women.
  3. Body weight. The heavier you are the more weight you can row. That’s because body weight has a positive correlation with muscle mass and strength.
  4. Rep range. The fewer reps you do the more weight you can row.

5 Reasons Why Your Dumbbell Row Weight Is Below Average

Here are 5 common reasons why you may find the dumbbell row difficult to perform and why your weight standards are below average.

I’ve also shared solutions for each problem.

These solutions can help to improve your dumbbell row.

1) Incorrect lifting form

Example of correct and incorrect dumbbell row form.
Correct vs incorrect dumbbell rowing form.

The dumbbell row is a relatively technical movement that requires you to use good form to gain the greatest leverage to lift the dumbbells.

If your form is off, you risk injuring your lower back (sometimes without even realizing it) and reducing the amount of force you can apply to the dumbbells.

As a result, your row strength progression can suffer and this can lead to below-average weights lifted.

Solution:

Keep a neutral straight lower back at all times (regardless of rowing variation). Additionally, brace your core before each row movement by; sucking in a deep breath of air, holding it in, and pushing your diaphragm outwards.

This keeps your body rigid and provides a strong foundation to lift from.

Also- remember the row is primarily a back exercise. Focus on pulling with your back rather than your arms. Do this by actively contracting your shoulder blades as you row.

For a better idea of what this looks like, you can check out my tutorial post for a list of dumbbell exercises for beginners (including form pointers).

2) Low grip strength

Grip strength can affect your dumbbell row standards.
A strong grip is essential for lifting heavy on the dumbbell row.

It’s crucial to have a strong grip if you are to lift heavy on any free-weight exercise (you need to be able to hold the dumbbell in order to row it right?).

But the muscles in your wrist and forearm that contribute to grip strength are relatively small and weak compared to your back and upper arms. Furthermore, beginners may not yet have developed the grip strength of seasoned lifters.

This can be a severely limiting factor in how much weight you can dumbbell row.

Solution:

Grip strength naturally develops with increased training experience. So be patient and keep practicing the dumbbell row.

Make sure you apply progressive overload by lifting increasingly heavier dumbbells over time.

Wrist straps can also help you to row heavier dumbbells. But this is not a long-term solution for beginners to build grip strength (you’re simply masking the problem with straps).

As a skinny beginner, I would focus on ACTUALLY building your grip strength by lifting heavy weights.

3) Weak primary drivers

Building your primary target muscles can improve your dumbbell row weight standards.
The row is primarily a back exercise.

The main target muscles for the row are the lats, rhomboids, trapezius, lower back, and posterior deltoids. These collectively form the back muscles.

Weak points in any of these muscles can lead to a below-average dumbbell row.

Solution:

The best way to get stronger on the row is to simply practice the movement more! Make sure you apply progressive overload regularly.

Additionally, do not forget to work the other muscles in your body.

Increasing full-body strength will increase the weight you can lift on most of the compound movements, including the row.

You can check out my other post for a complete full-body dumbbell workout plan for skinny guys (can be done at the gym or at home).

4) Weak secondary drivers and stabilizers

Strengthening your secondary stabiliser muscles can improve your row.
The arms, shoulders, core, and legs all contribute to the row by serving as secondary drivers and stabilizers.

The row is a full-body movement that utilizes secondary muscles in addition to the primary drivers. The biceps serve as secondary drivers in the row, helping you to pull the dumbbell towards your torso.

Furthermore, numerous other muscles in the shoulders, legs, and core also engage to provide a stable foundation for you to row from.

Weakness in any of these muscle groups can lead to a below-average dumbbell row.

Solution:

As always, keep practicing the dumbbell row and focus on progressive overloading.

You can also perform back-isolation exercises like the reverse fly to build stronger rhomboids and posterior delts, or dumbbell curls to build stronger biceps.

These accessory movements can help to improve your dumbbell row.

5) Poor nutrition

Bulking diet is essential to get bigger and stronger.
Good nutrition is key to getting bigger and stronger.

You can be doing dumbbell rows with perfect form and applying the correct training volume. But if your diet is no good, then your strength gains will plateau very quickly.

Going on a bulking diet alongside your training is essential for building muscle and strength.

Solution:

Eat a 5-15% daily calorie surplus to fuel muscle growth. Consume at least 1g of protein per lb of body weight.

You can check out my 6 month transformation for more diet tips to gain muscle.

Other Weight Standards For Dumbbell Row Muscles

Rows are a horizontal compound pulling movement that primarily works the back muscles, but also the biceps too. Here are weight standards for other exercises that hit similar muscle groups:

  • Pull-ups– vertical compound pulling exercise with emphasis on the lats and biceps.
  • Reverse flyes– isolation-type exercise with emphasis on the rhomboids and posterior deltoids.
  • Bicep curls– isolation-type exercises that target the biceps.
  • Dumbbell deadlift– full-body compound pulling movement that works all of the back muscles.

Conclusion

I’ve given you dumbbell row weight standards based on my personal 5-years of experience in weight training.

If you’re lifting at- or exceeding- these standards, then you’re doing a good and respectable job.

I’ve also shared common problems and solutions regarding a below-average dumbbell row.

You may also be interested in the downloadable Kalibre Blueprint PDF which details exactly how I gained 40lbs of lean muscle (it’s 100% free!). It details the exact exercises and nutrition (with printables) I used to go from skinny to ripped!

Kal

I'm Kal (B.S, M.S)- a health & fitness writer and owner of Kalibre Fitness. I love to nerd out on weight training and nutrition. My primary interests are in muscle hypertrophy mechanisms and strength development. You can connect with me in the "Contact Us" section below!

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