Helms row isn’t the most popular dumbbell row variation on the market, but it has a lot to offer. It packs on crazy back muscle mass and is the best row exercise for the rhomboids, middle traps and rear delts. Plus, it works well when programmed in a push-pull framework, and can be used as an accessory exercise after deadlifts in competition programming.
The helms row is a great back exercise to add to your workouts because it merges two types of exercises – rows and lifts – into one movement that will help you build a strong, wide upper back. This will also keep your shoulders and posture healthy by strengthening muscles that are prone to injury in the area.
It also provides a good amount of work for the rear delts and middle traps, which are often neglected when building the back. This is due to the fact that a helms row moves the arms back inward and in front of the body, which is different from a standard barbell row that pulls out to the sides.
I like to use the helms row in combination with dumbbell pullovers and incline bench presses to get the most out of this exercise. Chest supported row machines are great because they align the resistance to target muscles and prevent cheating, but if you don’t have one of those you can do the same motion by holding a barbell across your chest with a neutral grip or underhand.