When you’re trying to build a back with the right balance of hypertrophy and muscle longevity, it’s important not to overdo it on the isolation exercises. That’s why the helms row, along with its counterparts the dumbbell single-arm row and seated cable rows, should be an important part of any back routine.
A variation of the traditional barbell bent over row, the helms row targets the Latissimus Dorsi (lats). It also hits the posterior deltoids and middle traps. It’s a good exercise for developing the overall back muscles, improving posture and preventing shoulder injuries.
It’s a great choice for building back width and hypertrophy, especially when performed at high reps. It’s also an excellent choice for adding to a strength training routine. It works well when paired with a push-then-pull movement pattern, such as the traditional deadlift-deadlift-shoulderstand or dumbbell clean and press combination.
Compared to other back exercises like the chest-supported row, pendlay row and seated cable rows, the helms row requires less upper body tension, so it’s easier on your shoulders and spine. However, it’s still a demanding exercise that requires proper form to reap the full benefits. It’s best suited for adding to a moderate-to-heavy back day or to be used as an accessory exercise in conjunction with other pressing movements such as the incline bench press and face pulls.