back exercises with dumbbells
Fitness

15 Easy Back Exercises With Dumbbells You Can Do At Home

Want to get a great back but only got dumbbells to work with? No problem. There are plenty of extremely effective back exercises with dumbbells to cover every part of your back.

Complete back development involves working not just your lats but also your trapezius, rhomboids, teres major, and spinal erectors.

In this article, I’m going to reveal 15 of the best dumbbell back exercises to hit all of your back muscle fibers. So, let’s get started.

1. Single Arm Dumbbell Row

via Gfycat

Muscles Worked

Lats, rhomboids

Training Tip

Forcefully contract the lats in the top position. Keep your core tight throughout.

How To Do It

  1. Place a dumbbell alongside a flat bench and lean on the bench with the inside knee upon it. Rest the same hand on the bench.
  2. Reach down to grab the dumbbell with your outside hand and hold it at full extension.
  3. Maintaining a neutral back, pull the dumbbell up to your rib cage.
  4. Lower and repeat.

2. Two Arm Dumbbell Row

Muscles Worked

Lats, rhomboids

Training Tip

Do not move your upper body throughout the movement; the only movement should be through the arms.

How To Do It

  1. Stand with a pair of dumbbells in your hands and your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Bend at the knee and angle your torso to a 45 degree angle. Hang your arms down to full extension.
  3. Pull the dumbbells up to your ribs to fully contract the lats. 
  4. Lower and repeat.

3. Renegade Row

Muscles Worked

Lats, front deltoids, core

Training Tip

Do not arch your body; focus on rowing from the lats. Keep your core tight.

How To Do It

  1. Lie on the floor with a pair of dumbbells in your hands and your shoulders directly under your shoulders. 
  2. Rise up to the top of a push up position, resting on your toes.
  3. Row one dumbbell up to your rib cage.
  4. Lower and repeat with the other arm.

4. Incline Dumbbell Row

Muscles Worked

Lats, rhomboids

Training Tip

Ensure that your feet are firmly planted on the floor throughout this exercise. Focus on stretching and contracting the lats and engaging your posterior chain through a wide range of motion.

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How To Do It

  1. Lie facedown on a 30 degree incline bench, with a pair of dumbbells in your hands and hanging down below your head.
  2. Row your arms up to full contraction to bring each dumbbell to chest level, hold for a second and then return to starting position.

5. Dumbbell Shrug

Muscles Worked

Trapezius

Training Tip

Think about touching your shoulders to your ears (you won’t be able to, but that should be your goal). Focus on activating the upper traps. 

How To Do It

  1. Stand with a pair of dumbbells in your hands, hanging at your sides.
  2. Without bending your elbows shrug your shoulders directly up as high as you can.
  3. Lower and repeat.

 6. Farmer’s Walk

via Gfycat

Muscles Worked

Trapezius, forearms, abdominals

Training Tip

Pull your shoulders back and keep a slight arch in your back throughout this exercise. Keep your core tight. 

How To Do It

  1. Stand with a pair of heavy dumbbells in your hands at full arm extension.
  2. Maintaining an upright body, walk up and down the gym, aiming for 30 -45 seconds of walking. 
  3. Lower the weights and rest for 60 seconds before doing your next set.

7.  Weighted Pull Up

Muscles Worked

Lats, biceps

Training Tip

Do not ‘kip’ your way up to the bar. Focus on strict form, with maximum lat activation. Maintain a tight core.

How To Do It

  1. Place a weight belt on your waist and attach a dumbbell to it.
  2. Stand under a pull up bar and reach up to grab the bar with a slightly wider than shoulder width grip.
  3. In the starting position, hang from the bar at full extension. Now, draw your shoulder blades down and together and pull through the lats to bring your body up to the bar.
  4. Lower to full extension and repeat.

8. Dumbbell Dead Row

Muscles Worked

Spinal erectors, lats, rhomboids

Training Tip

Maintain a neutral back throughout the entire movement.

How To Do It

  1. Stand with a pair of dumbbells in your hands and feet shoulder width apart. Tilt your torso down to a 45 degree angle and bend your knees slightly.
  2. From this starting position, row your arms up to the level of your rib cage.
  3. Lower your arms back to full extension and then drive forward with your hips to stand up straight.
  4. Return to starting position and repeat.

9. Dumbbell Pullover

Muscles Worked

Lats, rhomboids

Training Tip

Focus on getting a great stretch through your lats when you perform this exercise. Keep your arms locked throughout and your feet flat on the ground. 

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How To Do It

  1. Lie side on to a bench with your shoulder blades on the bench and your feet on the ground. Hold a single dumbbell above your body by the end plate with both hands.
  2. Drop your hips down. From this starting position, extend your arms back and down over your head. Reach back to full extension.
  3. Return to the start position and then repeat.

10. W Raise

Muscles Worked

Trapezius, rear delts

Training Tip

Keep your arms locked in a slightly bent position throughout this exercise.

How To Do It

  1. Stand with  a pair of light dumbbells in your hands and your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Tilt your torso down to a 45 degree angle and hold the dumbbells in front of your body with elbows bents and the dumbbells touching. 
  3. From this starting position,  bring your arms up and out to form a ‘W’ shape with the weights coming up to shoulder height.
  4. Lower and repeat

11.  Dumbbell Wide Row

Muscles Worked

Lats, rhomboids, hamstrings

Training Tip

Do not move your torso throughout this exercise. The only movement should be through the elbows. Maintain tight core muscles.

How To Do It

  1.  Stand with a pair of dumbbells in your hands and your feet hip with apart. Tilt your body to a 45 degree angle to the floor. 
  2. Hold the dumbbells out wide from your body, with your elbows at a 90 degree bend. In the start position your elbows should be on line with your shoulders. 
  3. Pull the dumbbells back and up to full extension.
  4. Lower and repeat.

12. Dumbbell Upright Row

Muscles Worked

Trapezius, front delts

Training Tip

Maintain a neutral spine throughout. Do not swing your hips or otherwise use momentum.

How To Do It

  1. Stand with a pair of dumbbells in your hands in a palms down grip and your feet shoulder width apart. 
  2. Starting with the dumbbells at arm length in front of your body, pull them directly up your body to the level of your chin.
  3. Lower and repeat.

13.  Stiff Legged Dumbbell Deadlift

Muscles Worked

Spinal erectors, hamstrings, lats

Training Tip

Maintain a neutral back throughout the exercise. Be sure to get a full range of motion. 

How To Do It

  1. Stand with your feet hip width apart and a pair of dumbbells in your hands. Tilt down to a 45 degree torso angle, keeping your legs straight.
  2. Lower the dumbbells down to full extension.
  3. Drive the hips forward to return to an upright position.
  4. Lower and repeat.

14. Dumbbell Deadlift

Muscles Worked

Spinal erectors, hamstrings, lats

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Training Tip

Do not round your lower back. Keep your abdominal muscles tight.

How To Do It

  1. Stand with your feet hip width apart and a pair of dumbbells in your hands at your sides.
  2. Bend the knees to lower the dumbbells down to the floor.
  3. Push through the heels and pull through the lats to drive back to the start position.
  4. Lower and repeat.

15.  Reverse Flye

Muscles Worked

Upper traps, rear delts

Training Tip

Maintain a natural curve in the spine; do not move the torso.

How To Do It

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and a pair of dumbbells in your hands. Tilt your body so the your torso is nearly parallel to the floor.
  2. Hold the dumbbells with your hands hanging down and your arms slightly bent.
  3. Pivot from the shoulder to bring your arms up and out to the sides.
  4. Lower and repeat.

Conclusion

A wide, flaring back is the epitome of manhood. It’s also the foundation of the classic V shape that so many guys strive for. The 15 back exercises with dumbbells that we’ve covered in this article have provided you with an awesome arsenal of moves to make the best use of your dumbbells.

Choose three or four exercises and perform a total of 16 sets for back, with reps ranging from 30 all the way down to 6. Do this every 5 days, and within 3 months, you’ll be walking around with a wider, thicker, more bad-ass back.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you strengthen your lower back with dumbbells?

The best moves to strengthen your lower back with dumbbells are the stiff-legged dumbbell deadlift, the dumbbell dead row. Do 3 or 4 sets of each exercise every 5 days, with reps ranging between 10 and 30.

How can I target my lats with dumbbells?

Yes, you can target the lats with dumbbells. The best exercise to do is the weighted pull up where you hang a dumbbell from a weight belt. Other effective lat building exercises with dumbbells are one-arm rows, incline dumbbell rows, and renegade rows.

How do I get rid of fat on my lower back?

You cannot spot reduce body fat. So the only way to get rid of fat from your boy is to maintain a daily caloric deficit where you are using up more calories than you take in in the form of food. The fat energy that your body will then be forced to rely on will come from all over your body, not just your lower back. 

Steve Theunissen

Steve Theunissen is a former gym owner and personal trainer based in Tauranga, New Zealand. He is the author of six hardcopy books and more than a hundred ebooks on the topics of bodybuilding, fitness, and fat loss.

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