dumbbell back exercises

Dumbbell Back Exercises 

Eight out of ten people experience back pain at least once throughout their lifetime, and a large portion of that 80% deal with chronic back pain regularly. (1)

You can lower the amount of pain you feel in your back, and improve your posture in the process, by integrating exercises that target back muscles into your routine. 

The primary back muscles include your Latissimus Dorsi, Rhomboids, Trapezius, and Erector Spinae; all of which work in tandem to support your spine and assist you in daily living activities. 

Keep reading to learn about five dumbbell back exercises you can integrate into your workout, and stay tuned until the end of the article for an example routine you can utilize today.

5 Dumbbell Back Exercises 

1. Dumbbell Bent Row

One arm dumbbell rows from the floor, rather than a bench? : Fitness

Target Muscle Groups: Back Muscles (Latissimus Dorsi, Rhomboids), Shoulders (Deltoids), Core (Abdominals), Arms (Biceps)

What Do You Need: Set of 2 Dumbbells, Exercise Mat

How To Do It:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight.
  2. Grip a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing in towards each other. If you have a friend or third party working out with you, you can also have them pass you your dumbbells after you’ve assumed the starting position.
  3. Slightly bent your knees so that your bottom is behind your calves and lean your torso forward by bending at the waist. Your chest should be between 45 degrees and parallel to the floor.
  4. Extend your arms fully so that your dumbbells are directly below your shoulders and in line with, or just below, knee level.  This is where you will start. 
  5. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and bend at the elbow to lift your dumbbells until they are in line with your sides. Remember to keep your back straight with your elbows pointed up and tucked in as close to your torso as possible.
  6. Pause at the top of your row before slowly lowering your weights back into the starting position to complete the repetition.

Reps x Sets: Start with 6 reps at a time for 4 sets. Once you’re more familiar with the exercise, increase your workout to 8-10 reps for 5-6 sets to avoid stagnation in muscle growth.

YouTube: Click here to check out a quick video demonstration of dumbbell bent rows. Or you can click here for a longer, more instructional video to guide you as you workout.

2. Dumbbell DeadLifts

Dumbbell Deadlift - Exercises - Fitmeup

Target Muscle Groups: Lower Back Muscles (Erector Spinae, Trapezius), Arms (Forearm Flexors), Legs (Quadriceps, All Glutes, Hamstrings, Gastrocnemius)

What Do You Need: Set of 2 Dumbbells, Exercise Mat

How To Do It:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Grip one dumbbell in each hand so that your palms face in towards (and are in line with) your thighs.
  2. Remember to keep your back straight by squeezing your shoulder blades together.  This is where you will start. 
  3. Hinge forward at your hips and slightly bent your knees to lower your dumbbells. Lower your dumbbells until they are in line with, or just below, your knees.
  4. Pause at the bottom of your press before lifting your dumbbells in a smooth, controlled motion back into the starting position to complete the repetition

Reps x Sets: Aim for 3 sets of 10 reps for your first couple sessions and work your way up to 4-5 sets of 12-15 reps to continually challenge yourself with your workouts.

YouTube: You can click here to see an overview of the dumbbell deadlift in less than 60-seconds, or you can click here for a long format, explanatory video to help you out in achieving perfect form.

3. Reverse Fly

Build Broader Shoulders With The Dumbbell Reverse Flye | Coach

Target Muscle Groups: Upper Body: Back (Trapezius, Rhomboids), Shoulders (Deltoids)

What Do You Need: Set of 2 Dumbbells, Exercise Mat

How To Do It:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and grab a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Slightly bent your knees and hinge forward at your hips so that you’re between 45-degrees and parallel to the ground. Remember to keep your back straight throughout your exercise.
  3. Allow your arms to hang down straight from your shoulders, so your dumbbells are in level with, or just below, your knees. Your palms should be facing in towards your thighs.  This is where you will start. 
  4. Keep a slight bend in your elbows and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you lift both arms out to either side.
  5. Once your arms art parallel with the ground, pause before lowering your dumbbells and resuming the starting position to complete the rep.

Reps x Sets: Go for 3 sets of 12 repetitions to begin and increase your reps up to 15 and your sets up to 5 as your skills improve.

YouTube: Want to see what your reverse flys should look like in action? Click here to see a quick video example to follow along with, or you can click here for a longer video with more details to aid you in your workouts.

4. Good Morning with Dumbbells

Why You Should Do Good Mornings to Strengthen Your Glutes ...

Target Muscle Groups: Lower Back (Erector Spinae), Core (Abdominals), Legs (Hamstrings)

What Do You Need: Set of 2 Dumbbells, Exercise Mat

How To Do It:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight.
  2. Grip a pair of dumbbells, or have a friend or third party hand them to you once you’ve assumed the starting position, and rack them on the base of your neck
  3. Your elbows should point out to either side of you, and your dumbbells should be resting on your shoulder blades with your hands wrapped firmly around the base of the ‘top’ weight on the dumbbell. This is your starting position.
  4. Remember to keep your knees slightly bent and engage your glutes as you hinge at your hips. Your back should remain straight as you lower your torso.
  5. Once your chest is parallel to the ground, pause before driving through your feet, and reverse your movements to reassume the starting position and complete the repetition.

Reps x Sets: If you’re just starting, try to do 3 sets of 5 reps to begin. As you become more comfortable performing your good morning with dumbbells exercise, increase to 4-5 sets of 6-8 reps.

YouTube: You can click here to see what your workout should look like in a quick video, or you can click here for an example of how to perform this exercise using only one dumbbell.

5. Delt Flys

Tip: Hammer Your Rear Delts | T Nation

Target Muscle Groups: Back (Trapezius, Rhomboids), Shoulders (Deltoids). Arms (Triceps)

What Do You Need: Set of 2 Dumbbells, Exercise Mat

How To Do It:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand so that your palms face in towards your upper body.
  2. Hinge at the hips and bend your knees slightly, allowing your arms to hang straight down from your shoulders. Your torso should be between 45-degrees and parallel with the ground. This is where you will start. 
  3. Keep your back straight and flat as you raise your arms out to either side. Remember to keep your head and neck as still as possible as you squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  4. Once your arms are fully extended out to either side, pause, and lower both of your dumbbells in a slow, controlled motion to resume the starting position and complete the rep.

Reps x Sets: Try to do 8 reps for 2 sets and increase your workout to 9-12 reps for 3-4 sets to keep your muscles working towards growth.

YouTube: Check out how to perform your delt flys in a quick 25-second video by clicking here. Or, you can click here to see a longer-form video that provides a more thorough introduction and explanation to follow along with

Dumbbell Recommendations

back workouts with dumbbells

Now that you have the know-how, you just need the right equipment to get started on your path towards better fitness. 

Continue reading to check out some of our favorite dumbbells that we use to work out.

Powerblock

If you’re looking to save space in your gym, then Powerblock’s adjustable dumbbells may be the right solution for your fitness needs. 

Their Sport series of adjustable dumbbells is well suited for athletes of all levels, and their pro series is our favorite recommendation for the pros.

You can find out more from our in-depth Powerblock review in this link. 

Bowflex

Chances are, you’ve heard of Bowflex in the fitness equipment arena, but have you seen their line of adjustable dumbbells yet? 

Bowflex’s SelectTech series is slightly pricier than Powerblock’s adjustable dumbbells, but Bowflex’s quality, durability, and style make it more than well worth it.

Click here to learn more about Bowflex’s SelectTech series of adjustable dumbbells.

Ironmaster

Ironmaster’s adjustable dumbbells have been in my top 3 recommended products since I first began reviewing dumbbells, and with good reason. 

Ironmaster’s unique square dumbbells last even through the most intensive of workouts, and they come with a lifetime guarantee to boot.

Are you interested in finding out more about what Ironmaster has to offer?

Click here to read our full, extensive review on Ironmaster’s adjustable dumbbells.

Hex Dumbbells

The last and cheapest option you may want to consider for your in-home gym is a set of rubber hex dumbbells. 

These dumbbells usually come in sets of 3 different static weights and are best suited to those who don’t use dumbbells as a regular part of their workout routine.

You can find out more about rubber hex dumbbells, and get our top five recommendations on which set you should consider buying, by clicking here.

Bottomline

back exercises with dumbbells

The simple truth is the more you engage and work on your upper and lower back muscles, the better off your body will be. 

You use your back all day, every day, in a multitude of activities that require virtually every mechanism of movement.

All it takes to help lessen the daily wear and tear on your back is a set of dumbbells and maybe an hour of dedicated time to get started. 

You can even check out the example routine we’ve included below to help get you started today:

Example Dumbbell Back Exercises Routine For Beginners:

  • Dumbbell Bent Row: 6 Reps x 4 Sets
  • Dumbbell Deadlifts: 10 Reps x 3 Sets
  • Reverse Fly: 12 Reps x 3 Sets
  • Good Morning with Dumbbells: 5 Reps x 3 Sets
  • Delt Flys: 8 Reps x 2 Sets

If you like this article on back exercises, please check out our other product reviews, informative blogs, and more at Dumbbellsreview.com.

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