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30-Minute Back Row Workout (MetCon, Day 7)

Build strength and definition in the arms and back with this back row workout. This upper body workout supersets two upper body exercises with a set of dumbbell back rows, targeting the chest, shoulders, triceps, biceps, back and core. The ultimate challenge: complete 100 back rows by the end of this strength workout.

This is DAY SEVEN of our MetCon 100 Program.

Woman performing a lunge hold and rotate with a dumbbell in a cardio and core workout


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Build strong, defined arm and back muscles with this upper body strength workout.

Day seven of our 2-Week MetCon 100 Program challenges you to complete 100 back rows.

The back row is a classic strength training exercise that engages the back, biceps and core.

You’ll complete ten sets of ten back rows throughout the workout for a total of 100 rows. There are several back row variations included in today’s workout, including a narrow row, reverse grip row, and wide row.

two women performing dumbbell back rows

Back Row Workout FAQs

What Is A Back Row?

The back row (also known as the barbell bent-over row, barbell row or dumbbell back row), is a compound exercise that works multiple muscle groups at once. The back row specifically targets the upper body pull muscles: the back and the biceps.

What Do Back Rows Work?

The back row works multiple muscles in the upper body and lower body, including the latissimus dorsi (lats), traps, rhomboids, posterior deltoids, lower back, biceps, forearms, hamstrings, glutes, and core.

two women performing a narrow chest press as part of back row workout

30-Minute Back Row Workout (MetCon, Day 7)

Build muscle at home using just a set of dumbbells in this back row workout.

This metabolic conditioning workout challenges you to complete 100 back rows. A complete arm day workout with an extra emphasis on the largest muscle group in the upper body: the back.

I suggest doing this back row workout once a week as part of a well-rounded workout routine.

Workout Equipment:

A medium-to-heavy set of dumbbells. Optional bench/box.

I suggest anywhere from 8-25 lbs. We’re using 10-20 lb dumbbells in this workout.

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woman performing hammer bicep curl as part of back row workout

Workout Instructions:

Follow along with the guided Back Row Workout on YouTube, led by certified personal trainer and fitness instructor, Lindsey Bomgren. 

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • 3 Circuits (2 upper body exercises per circuit)
  • Timed Intervals (30 seconds work, 15 seconds rest. Complete as many reps as you can in the timed interval.)
  • Repeat Each Circuit x3 Sets
  • Perform 10 Rows After Each Set For a Total of 100 Rows

Workout Outline


  1. Around the World Shoulder Raise
  2. Hammer Curl and Neutral Press


  1. Narrow Press and Skull Crusher
  2. Push Up


  1. Bird Dog Row
  2. Woman Maker
two women performing alternating bicep curls as part of back row workout

Prefer to Watch On YouTube?

youtube icon Back Row Workout

7 Arms and Back Exercises

Back Row

Targets: Latissimus dorsi (or lats; the largest back muscle known for its large, flat “V” shape).

two women performing dumbbell back rows

How To Do Dumbbell Back Rows

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Grip a set of dumbbells, palms facing in towards each other.
  2. Hinge forward at the hips until your body is in a straight line, neck in line with your spine, flat back, and belly button pulled back towards your spine. 
  3. As you pull the weights back towards your hips in a rowing movement, squeeze your shoulder blades together. Stop when your elbows are in line with your hips.
  4. With control, slowly lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position. Think up on a one-count, down slow and controlled on a two-count.

Around the World Shoulder Raise

Targets: Shoulders (deltoids), rotator cuff muscles and core.

two women performing around the world shoulder raises

How To Do Around the World Shoulder Raises

  1. Start with feet under hips, core engaged. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing outward (underhand grip or supine curl).
  2. Keeping your arms as straight as possible, lift both dumbbells in wide arcs out to the side, slowly raising your arms until the dumbbells are straight overhead. Imagine you are drawing a large circle with your dumbbells.
  3. Slowly and with control, reverse the motion, lowering your dumbbells to return to the starting position.

Hammer Curl and Neutral Press

Targets: Both the short head and long head of the biceps (upper arms), the brachialis (mid-arm), brachioradialis (forearm) and shoulders.

two women performing hammer curls and neutral shoulder presses as part of back row workout

How To Do Hammer Curls and Neutral Shoulder Presses

  1. Start with feet under hips, core engaged. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides, palms facing in (neutral grip).
  2. Keeping your elbows locked by your sides, squeeze your bicep muscle to curl the weights up to shoulder-height, performing a hammer curl.
  3. Then, press both the weights straight overhead, locking out the elbows near your ears. Option to bend the knees an inch or two to help you press the dumbbell overhead.
  4. Slowly and with control, reverse the movement, lowering the dumbbells first to your shoulders then uncurling them to your sides, returning to the starting position.

Narrow Press and Skull Crusher

Targets: Chest muscles (both the larger pectoralis major and the smaller pectoralis minor) and triceps.

two women performing narrow presses and skull crushers as part of back row workout

How To Do Narrow Presses and Skull Crushers

  1. Lie flat on the ground or on a bench or stability ball; legs bent at 90 degrees.
  2. Hold one dumbbell in each hand and extend your arms so the dumbbells are directly overhead (palms facing one another).
  3. Slowly lower the dumbbells towards your chest, elbows grazing your rib cage.
  4. Exhale, pressing the dumbbells straight up, wrists stacked over shoulders. This is a narrow chest press.
  5. Then, bend at the elbows to slowly lower the dumbbells towards your head, dumbbells lowering towards your temples.
  6. Squeeze through the back of your arm to straighten your elbows, wrists stacked over shoulders, completing the skull crusher.

Push Up

Targets: Chest, shoulders, triceps, back, abs and core muscles.

two women performing push ups as part of dumbbell back row workout

How To Do Push Ups

  1. Start in a standard high plank position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, weight evenly distributed amongst all 10 fingers. Pull your kneecaps up towards your belly, feet hip-width apart. Option to place your hands on weights if you have wrist pain.
  2. Hold this plank position, maintaining a straight line with your body, gaze slightly in front of you.
  3. Slowly lower your chest down towards the ground as your elbows fall back towards your hips (not out to the sides, keep elbows tight to the body).
  4. Once at the bottom of your push up, exhale as you push back up into high plank position (top of your push up position).

Modification: Substitute incline push-ups by placing your hands on a chair or bench; or drop to your knees for modified push ups.

Bird Dog and Back Row

Targets: Upper, mid, and lower back, lats, glutes, hamstrings, abs and core.

Bonus: unilateral exercises (single-sided exercises) like this single arm dumbbell row also work the abs and core.

two women performing bird dog back rows

How To Do Bird Dog Back Rows

  1. Find a quadruped position with your knees hip-width apart and hands firmly on the ground, about shoulder-width apart. Engage your core. Have one dumbbell on the ground in front of your left hand. Option to perform a bird dog row from a box or bench to increase core engagement and get greater range of motion.
  2. Find a bird dog position by sending your opposite (right) leg back, floating it off the ground.
  3. Perform a single arm row with your left arm, pulling the dumbbell back toward your left hip.

Woman Maker (Push Up, Renegade Row, Squat, Curl and Press)

Targets: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, back, chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders and core.

two women performing burpee renegade back rows with dumbbells

How To Do Woman Makers

  1. Start in a high plank position, both hands on your dumbbells, shoulders stacked over wrists, core engaged.
  2. Perform a push up by lowering your chest to the ground, letting your elbows fall back towards your hips, then exhale, pushing back up to starting position.
  3. Then, perform a single arm plank row (or renegade row) on each side, pulling first your right elbow to right hip, then planting it on the ground and pulling left elbow to left hip before returning it to the ground.
  4. Then, step or jump your feet up to meet your hands, landing in a low squat position.
  5. Press through your heels to stand tall, pulling the dumbbells up your body as your hips drive forward.
  6. As you stand, curl the dumbbells up to shoulder height, then press overhead, stacking dumbbells over shoulders and keeping your core tight.
  7. Reverse the movement, bringing the dumbbells back to shoulder height, lowering the dumbbells to your hips, and bending your knees to lower into a squat.
  8. Plant the dumbbells on the mat between your feet at the bottom of your squat, and step or hop your feet back, landing in high plank position.

Modification: Perform a dumbbell squat hold, press out and overhead press.

woman flexing with text overlay describing MetCon program

MetCon 100: FREE Metabolic Conditioning Program

A 2-week metabolic conditioning program designed to show you that you’re stronger than you think. 

If you liked this upper body workout at home, download the FREE, 2-Week Workout Plan.

Pin This Workout: Back Rows Workout (MetCon, Day 7)

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