• Home
  • /
  • Blog
  • /
  • How to Build a Bigger Back with Hammer Strength Iso-lateral Rows

How to Build a Bigger Back with Hammer Strength Iso-lateral Rows

October 19, 2020

Hammer Strength Iso-lateral rows back workout

Truth: Back day is awesome! But if you want to build a bigger back you have to force your back muscles to work harder by isolating them.

And one of the best ways to target your back muscles directly is with Hammer Strength iso-lateral rows.

The problem with back training is that it can be difficult to feel your back muscles with free weight exercises. Don’t get me wrong, you need to do those exercises like barbell rows and dumbbell rows.

But you also need to incorporate other exercises that target specific angles of your back muscles. This is what gives you that full 3-dimensional bodybuilder shape.

In this post, you’re going to learn how to build a bigger back using three types of Hammer Strength iso-lateral row machines:

  1. Hammer Strength Iso-lateral Row
  2. Hammer Strength Iso-lateral Low Row
  3. Hammer Strength Iso-lateral High Row

I’ll also show you how to incorporate these machines into your back workouts as well as doing a complete back workout with just these three machines.

Benefits Hammer Strength Iso-lateral Rows

hammer strength iso-lateral row - back exercise

First, what are iso-lateral rows?

Iso-lateral in bodybuilding terms simply means the ability to train one side of your body at a time.

For rows, this means you can work one specific side (and specific parts) of your back muscles.

In that respect, Hammer Strength iso-lateral rows are similar to doing dumbbell rows. But with the Hammer Strength machines, you’re able to target your back muscles directly without having to balance or use other muscles for support during the exercise.

Here’s how doing Hammer Strength Iso-lateral rows can help you build a bigger back:

  • Targets your back muscles
  • Allows for better muscle contractions
  • You can get a better range of motion
  • You can focus more on the specific muscle your training
  • Gives you a variety of options (we’ll get to that below)
  • May be less risk of injury

3 Hammer Strength Iso-lateral Row Machines

Now, let’s get into the three main types of rows you can do with Hammer Strength machines. These are all iso-lateral row machines for training your back.

In this section, I’m also going to share different methods you can use with each machine. This will help you add more variety to your back workouts and give you more options. As you know, it’s good to change-up your workouts from time to time.

*There are more types of iso-lateral row machines but I’m covering the three most common Hammer Strength back machines that most good gyms will have. Or at least they should have them!

Hammer Strength Iso-lateral Low Rows

hammer strength iso-lateral low row

The iso-lateral low row is similar to doing dumbbell rows. Even though you’re seated, your torso is in an upright position while you’re having to reach downwards to grab the handle.

As you pull the handle towards you, you can really target your lats and the upper part of your back muscles.

How to do Hammer Strength iso-lateral low rows:

  • Set your seat to where when you pull, your arm is at a 90-degree angle (make sure you’re not pulling too high or too low)
  • Keep your torso close to the pad as you’re performing the exercise
  • You can do these with both arms or as a single-arm exercise (you may feel that single-arm is more effective)
  • Flex your lats hard once you pull the handle to its peak
hammer strength iso-lateral low row machine

Although you can pull with both arms simultaneously, I’ve found this exercise to be more effective as a single-arm movement. You can get a better muscle contraction as well as a deeper stretch this way without your body coming too far off of the pad.

Hammer Strength Iso-lateral High Rows

hammer strength iso-lateral high row

The iso-lateral high row may seem like a type of lat pulldown motion at first. The main differences are that your grip will not be as wide as a regular lat pulldown and you have the ability to pull in deeper with the Hammer Strength machine.

This version of the Hammer Strength rows targets your lower lats. You’ll also feel those muscles in the lower-middle of your back working.

It can be argued that the high pull version gives you the best range of motion than the regular or low iso-lateral low machines (though you get an excellent range of motion with those, too!).

How to do Hammer Strength iso-lateral high rows:

  • Make sure your seat height is not too low or too high so that you’re truly working your back from the best angle (start out with light-weight to see what setting works best for you)
  • You can lean back a little but make sure your stomach doesn’t come off of the pad
  • Be sure to contract your back muscles once you pull in and get a good stretch at the top
hammer strength iso-lateral high row machine

With low rows, I harped on the benefits of doing them as a single-arm exercise. But I’ve found that the high rows work best pulling with both arms, simultaneously (this is just my personal preference; it doesn’t that it’s the best for everyone!).

Hammer Strength Iso-lateral Rows

hammer strength iso-lateral row

The iso-lateral row is going to feel like you’re doing seated cable rows at first. The difference is the ability to position your body to work your back muscles more effectively with the Hammer Strength row machine.

You’ll want to take advantage of the deeper muscle contractions and better range of motion this machine gives you.

How to do Hammer Strength iso-lateral rows:

  • As with the high and low rows, make sure that you adjust your seat to a position that will best target your back muscles as you pull
  • Keep your torso close to the pad
  • Get that good squeeze at the peak of the movement, flexing your back muscles
  • Don’t stop too short as it’s easy to do on this version of rows; get that nice, full stretch
hammer strength iso-lateral row machine

This particular iso-lateral row also has multiple grips, as you can see in the image below the title of this section. This gives you many more options, which can be beneficial for bringing out more detail in specific parts of your back muscles.

Back Workouts Using Hammer Strength Iso-lateral Rows

hammer strength iso-lateral low row - back exercise

Are you ready for some awesome muscle-building back workouts? I’m going to give you three you can do below using Hammer Strength iso-lateral rows.

Each workout has a specific purpose. And the final workout will be using just these Hammer Strength iso-lateral row machines (you’ll see a video for that one as well).

Back Workout 1: Building Mass

This first back workout is a bodybuilding workout that focuses on building muscle mass. You’ll start with compound exercises and end with isolation exercises, which is when you’ll be doing the Hammer Strength rows.

ExerciseSets x Reps
Barbell Rows4 x 6-8
Dumbbell Rows4 x 8
Lat Pulldowns3 x 10
Hammer Strength Low Rows (single-arm)3 x 12
Hammer Strength High Rows (two-arm)3 x 12

Back Workout 2: Getting Ripped

Next is a back workout design for muscle definition and getting cut. This is where you’ll dig deeper into forcing your muscles to work harder. And to do that, you’ll start by pre-exhausting your muscles with a Hammer Strength row exercise (and this one’s going to be especially tough!).

ExerciseSets x Reps
Hammer Strength Rows (uni-lateral)4 x 6-8
T-bar Rows4 x 10
Seated Rows3 x 12
Hammer Strength High Rows (two-arm)3 x 12
Cable Pullovers3 x 15

**Pre-exhausting your muscles are a great way to force your muscles to work harder throughout the rest of your workout. And doing unilateral rows is going to make your pre-exhaust even more intense.

It’s a great way to bring out more detail in your back muscles. You can read more about pre-exhaust methods in this post: How to Pre-Exhaust Your Muscles (Routines for Each Muscle)

Back Workout 3: All Hammer Strength Rows

The final workout is using just Hammer Strength rows. You’ll be doing all three iso-lateral exercises that we went over earlier. And you’ll also be doing different variations of each.

You’ll be doing these in the below sequance:

  • Iso-lateral low rows
  • Iso-lateral high rows
  • Iso-lateral rows

And you’ll notice that you’re using multiple methods for each version of low. You can adjust the number of sets and reps to your liking. This is also the same workout in the video below.

ExerciseSets x Reps
Hammer Strength Low Rows (single-arm)2 x 10
Hammer Strength Low Rows (two-arm)2 x 10
Hammer Strength High Rows (single-arm)2 x 10
Hammer Strength High Rows (two-arm)2 x 10
Hammer Strength Rows (single-arm)2 x 10
Hammer Strength Rows (two-arm)2 x 10
Hammer Strength Rows (unilateral)1 x 10

Back Workout Video

If you want to make your workouts more intense so that you can build more muscle, be sure to check out my post:
Alpha Lion Superhuman Pre-workout

This stuff is absolutely awesome for pumps and mental focus!

You back can be a difficult muscle to build. It’s not visible like the rest of our upper body muscles, making it harder to get that mind-muscle connection.

But as you’ve seen in this post, Hammer Strength makes some amazing machines for training your back more effectively. With a better range of motion and the ability to get those deeper muscle contractions, you can build a huge and defined back.

I hope you have these machines in your gym. If so, be sure to try one, or all of the back workouts I gave you!

Train with Passion,


About the author

Jason Stallworth

Hi, I'm Jason Stallworth and I created The Muscle Program in 2010 for the purpose of helping you build muscle. I know first-hand how weight training and being in the gym has shaped my life in more way than one. And here is where I share that experience with you so that you can continue pushing yourself and becoming the best version of yourself each day!