THE NUMBER 1 FORM MISTAKE I SEE IN THIS EXERCISE and how to fix it: This one is one of the most common mistakes I see people at the gym doing and a lot of personal trainers ignoring it when teaching this exercise, turning it to a more bicep-dominated exercise and disengaging the back muscles.
Why it happens? Because naturally when you think of this exercise as "I need to get that dumbbell close to my body" this pattern will be your first instinct - bringing it straight up, which will end up at your chest. The problem with that is that it relies mostly on your biceps brachii, brachialis and brachioradialis which are the elbow flexors and is a very inefficient form to engage your back muscles (which are the target muscles in this exercise, there are more effective ways to train biceps...).
How to fix it/cue it: rather than thinking of bending your arm at the elbow, think "elbow back + squeeze the back of your armpit". You can also imagine anything below the elbow as "just a rope that the weight is attached to", this will help you relax the elbow flexors and target your back instead. These cues usually help with the mind-muscle connection an do the trick, but if you find yourself needing a more external cue, then simply think "bringing the weight towards your pelvis". It will somewhat remind a ski movement. This works btw for any close-grip rows including bent-over row. Wide-grip is a different story and will be discussed in another post. Want more content like this? Comment with an exercise you'd like to learn more about, or comment 🙌 if you found this post helpful 😍