The Bird Dog Row: Can You Conquer This Badass Exercise?

Brandon Hall STACK

Think your core strength is on point?

Time to test yourself with the Bird Dog Row.

By performing a Single-Arm Row from a Bird Dog position, the Bird Dog Row, popularized by Dr. Joel Seedman, presents your body with a unique challenge.

“This is one of our favorite exercises we can use to incorporate some midline stability, some anti-rotational movement, pulling strength—just a lot of benefits in one simple exercise,” says Ryan Summers, DPT and co-owner of Pure Physio (Strongsville, Ohio).

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You can either start with the kettlebell in one hand and three points of contact on the bench (the opposite hand and both knees) before assuming the Bird Dog position, or you can assume the Bird Dog position on top of the bench before reaching down to grab the kettlebell.

Whatever side the kettlebell’s on, drive the opposite foot toward the wall behind you. Keeping your core tight and your belly button pointed directly towards the ground, row the kettlebell up. Focus on keeping your shoulder down and pulling by bringing your elbow back. Once the kettlebell handle reaches your side, slowly lower it downward.

This move can be really challenging at first, so it might be best to practice with no weight before graduating to a light load and working your way up from there.

“It’s a nice bang-for-your-buck exercise to work through something like maybe some back pain, (work) on midline stability, core, pulling strength—a lot of great benefits in just one simple movements,” says Summers. “The way we would program this in for an athlete is we would do three sets of eight reps on each side. If we’ve identified that maybe there’s a unilateral imbalance, we’d just do an extra set on that side.”