- Target muscle: None. The back in general. See synergists
- Synergists: Latissimus Dorsi, Teres Major, Teres Minor, Infraspinatus, Middle and Lower Trapezius, Rhomboids, Sternal (Lower) Pectoralis Major, Posterior Deltoid, Brachialis, Brachioradialis
- Dynamic stabilizers: Biceps Brachii, Triceps Brachii (long head only)
- Mechanics: Compound
- Force: Pull
- Place your feet on either side of an open door.
- Wrap a towel around one of the door handles and hold the towel with one hand.
- Carefully lean backward with your hips and knees a little bent and your arm and shoulder stretching forward.
- Keeping your elbow close to your torso, exhale as you pull yourself toward the door.
- At the top of the movement, hold for a count of two and squeeze your back muscles.
- Inhale as you lower yourself to the starting position, with your arm and shoulder stretching forward.
- Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
- Repeat with your opposite arm.
Comments and tips
- The one-arm towel row is a bodyweight exercise that you can use if you can’t make it to the gym and do not have access to dumbbells or a barbell. If you do have access to dumbbells or a barbell, use the bent-over dumbbell row or the bent-over barbell row, which are both much more effective than the one-arm towel row.
- Warning! There is a significant risk of breaking the door or door handle. Ideally, you should find something else around which to safely wrap the towel, but not everyone will have this option at home.
One-arm towel row video
In this video, the one-arm towel row is the third exercise, demonstrated from 0:30 seconds.