Simple fixes for 2 common exercises

The DB press and the DB row are staples of many a training plan, but you might be making a couple of simple errors in their execution that limit their effectiveness and increase the potential for injury.

Fixing these 2 common errors is actually pretty straightforward and can massively improve your performance and benefits from these movements.

The DB press.

I really like the dumbbell press as a shoulder friendly variation of the bench press. Since your hands, and therefore your shoulders and elbows, can rotate freely, there is less stress put on both. This benefit can be wiped out, however, if you don’t have the DB tracking over your elbows throughout.

A common error, especially in new trainees, is to let the DB fall towards either the shoulder or chest, or both. Then trying to press out of that position becomes a weird tricep extension and press in one.

Not only do you lose efficiency in the press, but you run the risk of stressing your elbow/ shoulder and/or the DB crashing down onto your chest or face. Not ideal…

Instead, have the DB track straight above your elbow throughout, making it easier to drive the weight straight back up on the push segment of the lift. Sometimes this takes just a little more thought and awareness of your positioning, and sometimes it requires a spotter guiding your position until you get a better feel and understanding of the position you’re trying to achieve.

The DB row

The Db row, along with the barbell row and other variations have a similar misalignment issue of their own. The tendency is to row towards the mid-chest, resulting in an over-reliance on the biceps instead of the lats. This may be due to the feel of a greater range of movement, but it actually limits the lat as the prime mover.

The fix is to have the DB hand directly below the elbow throughout, and concentrate on moving the elbow through the required ROM. This ensures that the biceps are no longer the limiter of what you pull, and while they certainly still play a role, the lat is the big player.

Initially, this will feel like too small a ROM to be effective, but trust me, you’ll get a much bigger bang for your buck!

This issue is basically the same in both instances. The load is falling/ being pulled into the wrong position, limiting your ability to get the desired result from the movement. These simple fixes should get you back on the right path in no time at all!


Stay strong,


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