QUESTION: I’ve added your power exercises like the jump squat and Smith machine bench-press throw with great results. Are there any power moves that I can do for my back?
—Shawn B., Clear lake, TX

ANSWER: Considering its size relative to other body parts and the role it plays in your overall strength, the back is definitely an area in which you want to build power. Although there may not be as many power-building moves designed specifically for the back as there are for, say, the legs, I do have a favorite that’s sure to deliver the kind of strength—not to mention muscularity—you’re looking for. I call it the dumbbell power row.

How to: Dumbbell Power Row

  • First, place a dumbbell on the floor between your feet.
  • Take a slightly staggered stance, with your right leg in front of your left and your knees slightly bent.
  • Lean forward at the hips so your torso is at a 45-degree angle—or less—to the floor.
  • Brace your right hand on your right thigh to support your upper body, then squat and grab the dumbbell with your left hand, using a neutral grip.
  • Maintaining a flat upper back, extend explosively at the legs to move the dumbbell off the floor, then use your lats to pull it up toward your left hip.
  • Do this quickly, lifting it as high as you can.
  • Keep the dumbbell close to your side, then slowly lower it back to the floor.
  • Repeat for the prescribed number of reps, then adjust your foot position to perform the move with your right hand.

Back workout on next page.

The Powerful Back Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Power Row 2 5-6
One-arm Dumbbell Row 3 6-8
Lat Pulldown 3 8-10
Seated Cable Row 3 10-12
Straight-arm Pulldown 3 10-12


Quick Back Workout Tip:

When adding the dumbbell power row to your back workouts, perform it first, when your lats are at their strongest.