One arm dumbbell row standards

One-Arm Dumbbell Row Standards For Males At Different Training Levels And Body Weights

Average one-arm dumbbell row standards not only allow you to benchmark your performance against yourself but also against others.

For the average male, a good one-arm dumbbell row weight is above 107 pounds. This is for a single dumbbell and a single repetition. However, a person’s dumbbell row weight will also be affected by their training level and body weight.

These benchmarks were important for me when I first started dumbbell rowing, and they may also benefit you as well.

After all, you want to know if you’re doing a good job with your training right?

My research will give you the numbers YOU should be hitting for it to be deemed “respectable”.

You’ll also find out how to improve your dumbbell row if your numbers are sub-par.

Looking to Improve Your One-Arm Dumbbell Row At Home?

If you’re interested, here’s the setup I use and recommend!

Factors Affecting One-Arm Dumbbell Row Weight

3 factors affect how much weight you can lift on the one-arm dumbbell row:

  1. Training Level. The longer you’ve been practicing the one-arm row, the more weight you can lift. As a general rule, beginners have been practicing for at least 1 month, intermediates at least 2 years, and advanced at least 5 years.
  1. Body weight. The heavier you are, the more weight you can one-arm row. That’s because body weight has a positive correlation with muscle mass.
  1. Rep number. The less reps you do, the more weight you can on the one-arm row. This post focuses on a 1-10 rep range which is generally accepted to be the best for building back strength and size.

Next, you’ll find out how these factors affect one-arm dumbbell row standards.

Beginner One-Arm Dumbbell Row Standards

A beginner has been practicing the one-arm dumbbell row for at least 1 month.

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.

Note: x-rep max is the maximum amount of weight you can lift for x-number of reps. Generally speaking, rep ranges closer to 1 are ideal for strength gains, whilst rep ranges closer to 10 are ideal for size gains (hypertrophy).

Here’s how much weight beginners should be lifting on the one-arm dumbbell row as a percentage of body weight:

  • 120lb body weight – 12 to 16%.
  • 150lb body weight- 15 to 20%.
  • 200lb body weight- 18 to 24%.
  • 250lb body weight- 19 to 26%.
  • 300lb body weight- 19 to 27%.

If you’ve been practicing the one-arm dumbbell row for 1 month or more, and you’re above these averages, then you’re doing a good job!

Intermediate One-Arm Dumbbell Row Standards

An intermediate has been practicing the one-arm dumbbell row for at least 2 years.

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

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.

Here’s how much weight intermediates should be lifting on the one-arm row as a percentage of body weight:

  • 120lb body weight – 37 to 51%.
  • 150lb body weight- 38 to 53%.
  • 200lb body weight- 39 to 54%.
  • 250lb body weight- 38 to 52%.
  • 300lb body weight- 37 to 51%.

If you’ve been practicing the one-arm dumbbell row for 2 years or more, and you’re above these averages, then you’re doing a great job.

These are very respectable standards for beginners to aim for.

Advanced One-Arm Dumbbell Row Standards

An advanced lifter has been practicing the one-arm dumbbell row for at least 5 years.

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.

Here’s how much weight advanced lifters should be doing on the one-arm row as a percentage of body weight:

  • 120lb body weight – 55 to 76%.
  • 150lb body weight- 55 to 76%.
  • 200lb body weight- 53 to 73%.
  • 250lb body weight- 51 to 70%.
  • 300lb body weight- 49 to 67%.

If you’ve been practicing the one-arm dumbbell row for 5 years or more, and you’re above these averages, then you’re doing a fantastic job.

These are also very respectable standards for intermediates to aim for.

Average Male One-Arm Dumbbell Row Weight

The average US male weighs 197.9-lbs.

Here’s how much weight an average 200lb male should one-arm dumbbell row at different training levels:

Training Level1-rep max6-rep max7-rep max8-rep max9-rep max10-rep max
Beginner48lb
22kg
40lb
18kg
39b
18kg
38lb
17kg
37lb
17kg
35lb
16kg
Intermediate107lb
49kg
90lb
41kg
88lb
40kg
86lb
39kg
83lb
38kg
78lb
35kg
Advanced146lb
66kg
123lb
56kg
120lb
54kg
117lb
53kg
114lb
52kg
107lb
48kg
One-arm dumbbell row standards for a 200lb male at different training levels. Weights are for a single dumbbell.

Therefore the average man should be able to one-arm row 18-73% of their body weight.

The exact weight will depend on training experience and rep number (as seen in the aforementioned standards).

How Good Is Your One-Arm Dumbbell Row Vs Others?

Determining your current one-arm row weight as a fraction of your body weight is a reliable way to compare your performance with others.

To do this, simply divide the weight of the dumbbell by your body weight.

Here are the percentages of males who can one-arm dumbbell row their own body weight:

One-Arm Dumbbell Row 1RM Weight (As A Fraction Of Bodyweight)% 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%
Percent of males aged 24-39 at 200lbs bodyweight who can one-arm dumbbell row their body weight. Weights are for a single dumbbell.
  • 75% of men can one-arm row 0.40x their bodyweight. This represents the lower percentile of males and is a respectable weight for absolute beginners to achieve. But you should aim for higher numbers with more training.
  • 50% of men can one-arm row 0.50x their bodyweight. This represents the median percentile of males and is a respectable weight for intermediates to achieve. It’s also a good target for beginners to aim for.
  • 25% of men can one-arm row 0.55x their bodyweight. This represents the upper percentile of males and is a respectable weight for advanced lifters. It’s also a good target for intermediates to aim for.

If you’re a skinny beginner struggling to gain muscle mass, it may be because you’re not doing a few training and nutrition essentials. You can check out my other article for a 17-step guide to building your first 10-lbs of lean muscle.

Why the one arm dumbbell row can be difficult.

Reasons Your One-Arm Row May Be Below Average

Here are 5 common reasons why you’re one-arm dumbbell row may be sub-par:

1) You’re doing the one-arm row with improper form.

Here are examples of one-arm dumbbell row bad form:

  • Hyperextended back. In other words, your upper back is curved upwards.
  • Hyperflexed back. In other words, your upper back is curved downwards.
  • Elbows flared out too much. They shouldn’t be tucked right against your torso, but they shouldn’t be flared out past the shoulders either. The dumbbells should be in line with the shoulders.
  • Bouncing your body as you row. Using momentum can help you to lift heavier dumbbells but it won’t do much for muscle growth.
  • Rotating the torso to help you row the dumbbell. See above point.

Succumbing to these mistakes not only reduces how much weight you can row but will also negatively impact muscle growth.

Some bodybuilders use momentum to help them row heavy dumbbells.

But this requires you to know what you’re doing.

If you’re looking for new dumbbells to do the dumbbell row with, you might be interested in my other article which reveals how much dumbbells should cost.

2) You have weak back muscles and biceps.

All rows are a compound exercise that engages multiple muscles simultaneously.

Here are the muscles worked by the one-arm dumbbell row:

  • Trapezius (primary driver).
  • Rhomboids (primary driver).
  • Latissimus dorsi (primary driver).
  • Posterior deltoids (primary driver).
  • Biceps (primary driver).
  • Anterior and lateral deltoids (stabilizer).
  • Triceps (stabilizer).
  • Pectorals (stabilizer).
  • Core (stabilizer)
  • Erector spinae (stabilizer).

If any of these muscles are underdeveloped, your one-arm dumbbell row weight will be reduced.

Rows aren’t the only back exercise you can do with dumbbells. Check out my other article for 36 of the best total body dumbbell moves for skinny beginners.

3) You’re not doing the row frequently or heavy enough.

Training frequency is an important driver for muscle growth.

If you’re only performing 1 back day per week, your back muscles will progress slowly.

Likewise, you can do all the back workouts you want, but if you aren’t rowing heavy enough (>70% 1RM) then your back muscles will not develop either.

Therefore it’s important to plan your weekly back workouts effectively to maximize back strength.

4) You’re not rowing with a full range of motion.

The one-arm dumbbell row benefits greatly from lifting with a full range of motion.

How do you do this?

Well, your arms should travel all the way down and then all the way back up.

You’ll know you’re doing this correctly from the movement of your scapula (shoulder blade):

At the bottom of the dumbbell row, your scapular should be protracted (moved towards the shoulder). And at the top of the row, your scapular should be fully retracted (moved towards the spine).

Lifting with a full range of motion is important for generating maximum muscle activation and strength development.

Therefore doing dumbbell rows with a partial range of motion can cause you to lose out on a lot of strength gains.

5) You aren’t training the eccentric phase of the row.

The eccentric phase is the posh name for the downward portion of the dumbbell row.

It’s important because this phase contributes 50% of the muscle activation and growth stimulus obtained from the row.

Therefore you should always lower the dumbbell in a slow and controlled manner.

If you simply let gravity do the work, then you’ll miss out on a lot of strength gains.

This is a common reason why beginners can train a lot but still not see any real progress.

Ways to improve your one arm dumbbell row strength.

How To Improve Your One-Arm Row

Here are 5 tips you can apply to your dumbbell row to increase your numbers:

1) Practice perfect rowing form.

The one-arm row may look simple.

But there are a few essential technique nuances you should apply.

Here’s how to do the perfect one-arm dumbbell row:

How To: Dumbbell Bent-Over Row (Single-Arm)

2) Eat a back-building diet.

With regards to any strength/muscle-building endeavor, nutrition is key.

You’ll want to eat at least 1g of protein per pound of body weight and a 5-15% caloric surplus every day.

Now, this is a lot of food.

If you don’t have the time or appetite to do so, then I highly recommend protein powders to help you reach your targets.

“You don’t need protein supplements to gain muscle, but, considering how much protein you need every day to maximize growth, getting all your protein from whole foods can be impractical.”

Mike Matthews, Legion Athletics.

Top tip: the MyProtein range of protein powders are affordable, tastes delicious, and is made with clean ingredients.

I use and recommend the MyProtein Impact Whey (link to check cheapest price).

Each serving contains 21g of pure protein and 100 calories.

Vegans can use this Pea Protein instead.

It’s ideal for supplementing protein intake between meals and making lean muscle gains with minimal fat storage.

If you’re uber skinny (<12% body fat), then you can instead try the Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass.

It’s a bit more expensive, but each serving contains 50g of protein and 1250 calories.

This makes it ideal for guys with non-existent appetites to bulk on (I used it to quickly gain my first 15lbs).

I also add a scoop of MyProtein Creatine Monohydrate into my shakes to help me train harder.

Creatine is a naturally occurring molecule found in your body.

It helps with energy utilization and will help you row harder and heavier weights.

Don’t Miss Out!

Use codes:

TAKE40 (40% off MyProtein USA)

or…

1KFWV-OQ2T-XHBM (29% off MyProtein UK)

Valid at time of writing

3) Increase training frequency and progressive overload regularly. (DB)

Ideally, you should be training each muscle group with 10-20 sets per week, spread over 2 or 3 training days.

The increased training frequency provides a greater muscle growth stimulus compared to 1 heavy workout per week.

Additionally, regular progressive overload is essential to increasing your rowing strength.

This requires you to add weight to your dumbbells to keep challenging your muscles.

But make sure you only overload when you can do the row with a good form.

Top tip: if you’re trying to build muscle and strength with dumbbells at home, then heavy dumbbells are essential.

I use and recommend the Powerblock Elite series (link to check cheapest price).

They can be upgraded to 90lbs (with the stage 2 and 3 addon kits), making them one of the heaviest dumbbells on the market. Additionally, they come with small 2.5-5lb weight increments.

This allows you to overload with small but regular weight increases, making them perfect to improve your rowing strength.

But the best thing about them?

A single pair replaces up to 28 pairs of dumbbells, saving you a lot of space and money.

They also come with a 5-year warranty and the famous Powerblock customer support.

If you don’t have ~$300 to spend, then the Yes4All spinlock dumbbells are a great budget alternative.

Just like the Powerblocks, they also offer heavy poundages.

But the weight increments are quite large, making it more difficult to progressive overload.

4) Use a standard point of judgment for a full range of motion.

It can be difficult to know if you’re rowing with a full range of motion since you don’t have a full view of the dumbbell.

One tip which has helped me a lot is to use a standard point of judgment.

This requires you to set two endpoints for the row – one for the top and another for the bottom.

My top endpoint is when the dumbbell touches my pecs.

My bottom endpoint is when I can feel good (but not uncomfortable) stretch in my lats.

By setting these two endpoints, I know exactly when I’ve reached the required range of motion.

“You should feel a nice “stretch” in the bottom position. This has a profound influence on the efficacy of the one-arm dumbbell row”

Tony Gentilcore.

5) Practice time under tension rows to break strength plateaus.

Practicing time under tension (TUT) training has helped me a lot to break plateaus.

This requires you to lift really slow.

I like to count 4 seconds for the upward phase and another 4 seconds for the downward.

Doing TUT means your row weight will be reduced by around 10-20%.

But it allows you to really feel your back and biceps contract.

And after a week or two of dedicated TUT training, you should be ready to break your plateau.

“It’s tempting to just let the dumbbell drop, but you’re just ripping yourself off becuase the muscle isn’t working under tension with the stretch”

Dr Mike Israetel, Rensaissance Periodization.
Time under tension rows with resistance bands can improve back strength.

Top tip: slow resistance band rows are perfect for breaking plateaus.

This is because the resistance increases as the band stretch.

And this unique resistance profile, combined with TUT, gives your back muscles an entirely different kind of stimulus compared to dumbbell rows.

As a result, you force the muscles to become stronger.

I use and recommend the Undersun Fitness bands (link for cheapest price).

They provide all the resistance you would ever need, and can also be used to train the entire body with exercises like band squats, flyes, and presses.

These bands are more expensive than their budget competitors.

But having tested multiple sets, I can honestly say the extra price is worth it for the durability (they come with a lifetime warranty and don’t snap like the cheap models).

If you decide to buy these bands, I would also recommend getting a good pair of gloves like the Ihuan ventilated neoprene gym gloves.

They’re essential to prevent the bands from shredding your hands.

How These Standards Were Calculated

The numbers for my research were sourced from Strength Level’s database of 58,000 user-generated one-arm dumbbell rows.

One arm dumbbell row strength standards.

Average one-arm dumbbell row standards.

One-arm row 1RMs were taken from the Strength Level database.

These were then multiplied by the following fractions to get the 6-10RM weights:

  • x0.84 for 6RM.
  • x0.82 for 7RM.
  • x0.80 for 8RM.
  • x0.78 for 9RM.
  • x0.73 for 10RM.
One arm dumbbell row body weight standards.

% of people who can one-arm dumbbell row their body weight

The Strength Level database also allows for different one-arm row weights to be sampled against a total population.

I sampled a variety of one-arm row weights for a 200-lb male beginner aged 24-39.

Recommended Products Recap

Conclusion

I’ve shared with you one-arm dumbbell row standards for different training levels and body weights.

If you’re above these averages, then you’re lifting a very respectable weight and you should be proud of yourself.

But if you’re below average, then you can try some of the tips I shared to improve your one-arm row.

How much weight do you currently row with dumbbells?

Let me know in the comments!

Or check out my other posts to find out:

Thanks for reading guys!

Peace Out,

Kal

(Biochemistry BSc, Biomedical Sciences MSc, Ex-Skinny Guy)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.