One Arm Machine Row: Muscle Worked, How To Do and Form

Do you want to build a strong, V-shaped back and improve your rowing power? The one arm machine row is a must-have exercise in your back workout routine.

This unique strength training move allows you to isolate each side of your back independently. It corrects muscle imbalances and adds size and definition.

As more fitness enthusiasts look for workouts that are both challenging and effective, the Single Arm Machine Row stands out as both a challenge and a solution.

Read on to learn how to master this technique and optimize your back workouts.

What is One Arm Machine Row

The one arm machine row is a compound exercise that targets multiple muscles in the upper body, including the back, shoulders, and biceps.

Like traditional rowing exercises, which use both hands, the one-arm version focuses on one side of the body at a time. This is known as unilateral exercise, which can help to correct muscle imbalances and allow for targeted muscle activation.

It is performed using a machine that allows you to pull a weight towards your body with one arm. You can change the grip to work different muscles.

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Single Arm Machine Row Muscle Worked

The single arm machine row is a great exercise for strengthening the muscles in your back. It primarily targets the latissimus dorsi (lats), but it also works the rhomboids, teres major, and biceps brachii.

  • Latissimus dorsi (lats): the largest muscles in your back. They are responsible for pulling your arms down and back.
  • Rhomboids: help to stabilize your shoulder blades.
  • Posterior Deltoid: It also works when you do machine row.
  • Teres major: helps to rotate your arm inwards.
  • Biceps brachii: The biceps brachii is a muscle in the front of your upper arm. It helps to bend your arm at the elbow.
  • Brachialis: Located underneath the biceps, this muscle also aids in elbow flexion.
  • Brachioradialis: This is a muscle of the forearm that assists in flexing the elbow.

In addition to these muscles, the single arm machine row can also work the trapezius, forearms, and core.

One Arm Machine Row Muscle Worked

How To Do Machine One Arm Row

Step-by-step guide on how to do one arm machine row.

  1. Sit down on the machine with your chest against the pad and your feet firmly planted on the ground.
  2. Grasp the handle with one hand and keep your elbow close to your side.
  3. Keep your back straight, chest up, and core engaged.
  4. Pull the handle towards your body.
  5. As you pull the handle, focus on squeezing your back muscles, especially at the peak of the contraction.
  6. Your elbow should go past your body slightly.
  7. Hold for a count of two and then slowly release the handle back to the starting position.
  8. Perform the desired number of repetitions and sets, then switch to the other arm.
How To Do Machine One Arm Row

Form and Tips

  • Keep your back straight and chest up. Engage the core to maintain proper posture.
  • Perform each rep with control. Avoid swinging or jerking movements.
  • Fully extend your arm at the start and pull it back completely. Focus on squeezing your back muscles at the peak.
  •  Keep your elbow tucked close to your side as you row.
  • Breathe out during contraction, breathe in during release.
  • Do extra reps on the weaker side to correct imbalances.
  • It’s best to start with a weight you can handle easily and increase it as you get stronger.
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Variations & Progressions Of Machine One Arm Row

1. Variations

  • Underhand Grip – Hits the lats more. Palms face upwards.
  • Overhand Grip – Targets the middle/lower traps more. Palms face down.
  • Neutral Grip – Palms face each other. Balances lat and trap activation.

2. Progressions

  • Increase the weight: As you get stronger, you can increase the weight you use.
  • Increase the number of reps: You can also increase the number of repetitions you do per set.
  • Do the exercise with a slower tempo: This will help you to focus on the muscle contraction.
  • Drop Sets – Perform back-to-back sets, decreasing weight to fatigue the muscles.

Benefits of One-Arm Machine Row

  • Builds upper back strength – Works latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, rear delts effectively.
  • Improves posture – Strengthens mid and upper back to counteract hunching.
  • Unilateral training – One arm at a time corrects muscle imbalances side to side.
  • Enhances mind-muscle connection – Better muscle isolation and contraction.
  • Protects lower back – Fixed machine path reduces stress on the lumbar spine.
  • Variations hit different back areas – Change grips, angles, stances to shift emphasis.
  • Allows use of heavy loads – Machine stability enables lifting heavier weights safely.
  • Prevents cheating – Restricts use of momentum for quality, focused reps.
  • Ideal for injury rehab – Safer substitute to barbell or dumbbell rows.


The one-arm machine row is a great exercise for building a strong back. It allows you to correct muscular imbalances by isolating each side of the back independently.

You can safely lift heavier weights through a full range of motion with the chest pad supporting the torso. This builds incredible upper back strength and size. The machine row hits the lats, rhomboids, rear delts, traps, and biceps while protecting the lower back.

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