The helms row is an excellent exercise for back muscles and posture. It can be programmed as a primary back exercise for back day or as an accessory exercise to follow deadlifts. It works the lats, teres major and the posterior deltoids. While it may not be the best exercise for latissimus dorsi hypertrophy, it is still a great pure isolation rep to blast out at the end of a back day or as part of a pull-focused workout.
This variation of the barbell row moves your body in a different direction and uses a slightly different grip. You place your chest on the end of an incline bench, with your torso parallel to the floor and hold dumbbells in your hands. The chest-supported aspect of this variation helps to enforce strict movement, eliminating the tendency to heave during the movement and decreasing the amount of stress placed on your lower back.
It also allows you to use a greater range of motion than the barbell version while keeping your chest out of the way, avoiding excessive shoulder and upper back stress. This is an important exercise for building a broad muscular back, keeping your posture healthy and improving circulation in the lower back area.
While you can use any grip on the helms row, using an underhand grip is recommended for beginners. This is because it requires less shoulder rotation and a more natural position for your elbows. Using an overhand grip, on the other hand, can increase the workload on your shoulders.