Most of you reading this have done the single-arm dumbbell row, and you know how effective it is for building a big, wide back.
So how did you position your body to perform this exercise? Did you use a flat bench and focus on keeping your torso parallel with the floor to hit your lower lats? Or did you lean against something a little higher to target more of the upper lats and back?
Both ways work; I'm not advocating one approach over the other. Instead, I'd like to show you how to get the best of both worlds.
The answer is an adjustable bench.
Yep, that's it. Simple, right? Having an adjustable bench when you do the single-arm row gives you a chance to do both a superset and dropset in one. The result will be a complete upper-back blast.
How to Do It
Start by positioning the adjustable bench at an incline of 30-45 degrees, depending on your preferences. Starting with your weaker arm, row by pulling the dumbbell straight up. Focus not just on your lats but also on the rest of the upper back, including the rhomboids, rear delts, and traps. Perform 8-10 reps in this fashion.
Here's where the drop comes in: Lower the bench angle so it's flat. This is the second part of your single-arm row superset. Get back into position and resume doing rows, this time by pulling the weight up at an angle toward your hip. This shifts the focus toward the middle back and lower lat. Perform the same number of reps here that you did on the incline.
Now you're going to do the same thing for the opposite side. Raise the angle of the bench back up and switch arms. Perform the same number of reps as you did the first side. When you finish here, you can finally take your rest break.
On the next set, start with the bench flat and adjust it to the incline second. This means the lower lats get the attention at the beginning of the set. Still start with your weaker side.
One More Twist
There's one more way to do this move and see tremendous benefits in your back. You can perform reps with both sides on the incline, lower the angle, and then execute the reps on both sides with the flat bench. You might find that you can do a few more reps per side, since they have that brief period to rest while the other side is working. Next time, start with the bench flat, perform reps on both sides, and then adjust the angle before continuing!