How to Do Heavy Pants Exercises


Heavy pants is the name of an exercise used in Tony Horton’s 12-week at-home exercise program, P90X. The exercise is essentially the dumbbell bent-over row, but with a slightly different stance. According to the American Council on Exercise, bent-over rows primarily develop your latissimus dorsi muscle in your back, your rhomboids and erector spinae muscles around your scapula, and your biceps. However, because you must hold yourself in a lunge position while completing the upper-body movement, your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and lower back must isometrically contract. Visit your medical professional prior to starting any exercise program.

Choose an appropriately weighted pair of dumbbells. The amount of weight you should lift depends on the number of repetitions you’re completing. For example, if you’re assigned to complete 10 to 12 repetitions, the weight you’re using should cause you to be fatigued within that repetition range. Make adjustments as necessary if you’re unable to reach 10 repetitions or are able to complete more than 12.

Get into proper starting position. Take a small step forward with one foot. Keep your front heel down as you push your hips back and bend both of your knees, lowering down into a split squat. Keep your head up and back straight. Allow the dumbbells to hang down to the floor with your hands facing your thighs.

Drive your elbows up and back slowly, bringing the dumbbells up to your chest. Once the weights reach your chest, control them back down to starting position.

Maintain the split-squat position as you complete all of your assigned repetitions. Place the dumbbells down onto the floor before you stand. On subsequent sets, alternate which leg is placed in the front position.

Change the position of your hands periodically to vary how your muscles are worked. According to, widening your hands farther away from your legs or twisting your palms so they face forward increases the force production requirements of your latissimus dorsi muscle.


Do not allow a curve to develop in your lower back when completing heavy pants. Keep a proper neutral position in your back by engaging your abdominals.


Do not attempt to complete the exercise with dumbbells that are too heavy for you to maintain correct technique. The exercise places stress on your lower back, and jerking while completing the movement increases risk of injury.