This is a simple dumbell row exercise with a twist…instead of rowing them both up at the same time, you’ll be alternating the rowing of each dumbell so you not only hit your back and arms, you get great cross-tension through the entire core and lower back area.

This is a very powerful concept – in real life and athletics, you’ll rarely find an event where both arms operate in unison. This exercise works with that tendency to develop the core and the back.

You can use lighter weight and go for higher reps with this one but in this demo, I wanted to show that you can use heavier weight and really challenge your core strength while hitting your back.

In the first part of the video, I’m using 85lb dumbells. In the second part, I increased it to 105 lb dumbells – that’s GREAT core training, believe me!

One KEY thing with this exercise is to plant your feet right together – and I mean RIGHT together. They should be touching. This is much easier for performing the rowing movement because your legs won’t get in the way then.

So start by rowing up with the left arm.

Alternating Dumbell Rows 1

As you lower the left dumbell, start to row the right one.

Alternating Rows 2

Row up all the way with the right, while the left is at the bottom.

Alt Dumbell Rows 3


It’s like a see-saw kind of idea where as you row one, you lower the other. This is what puts the cross-tension on the core.

Very effective for hitting the back AND the abdominal area.



Nick Nilsson, a.k.a. the "Mad Scientist of Exercise", is the author of 9 training books, such as "The Best Exercises You've Never Heard Of" series, and "Metabolic Surge - Rapid Fat Loss", which you can find at his site: http://www.fitness-ebooks.com


Nick has been in the fitness and bodybuilding industry more than 18 years, and  has degrees in Physical Education and Psychology, covering advanced biomechanics, kinesiology, physiology, anatomy and sports psychology, and has written for magazines such as Muscle & Fitness, Mens Fitness, Mens Health, Reps, along with numerous bodybuilding websites.


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