There are so many new exercises in the gym these days that it can be hard to keep up. Some are just more exciting than others, but sometimes the most simple exercises can be the best for building muscle. The helms row is one of those exercises. It’s a free-weight chest supported row variation that uses dumbbells instead of a barbell and adds a new dimension to the exercise.
The helms row works the latissimus dorsi muscles (the back muscles) more than other rows, and also helps with posture. It’s particularly good for the rotator cuff – 4 small muscles in the back of the shoulder that can be weakened by too much bench pressing or other movements that move your shoulders forward. It’s also a good choice for keeping the shoulders healthy and strong as you progress in your strength training.
It’s important to perform this exercise with perfect form to get the most benefit and prevent injury. To do this, select a weight that you can lift for the desired number of reps without momentum and position yourself on the bench with your chest against the pad. Grip the neutral handles in a palms-facing-one another position. Pull the handle toward each other for a brief pause, then lower it under control and repeat.
This is a great isolation lift to include on back day, or even as part of your overall push-pull routine. You can use it within a traditional rep and set scheme, or as a superset with other back exercises like incline bench presses or seated cable rows. Remember to always perform compound exercises first and isolation lifts last when working with free weights, as this helps to ensure proper movement patterns and reduce injury risk.