You don’t have to go to the gym to train your back muscles. These back workouts with dumbbells can be done anywhere with a pair of dumbbells and – occasionally – a bench.
You understand that your back is one of the most crucial parts of your muscular body.
It’s the body part that gives strength to – and shapes – your arms, shoulders, abdomen, and hips.
Connected with all the essential muscles, your back is the area that determines the physique you would enjoy.
It’s included in your bodybuilding goals. And you don’t miss it when you try to imagine your lifestyle.
After all, it’s our back that supports your posture and helps you in long hours at your office.
How are you supposed to take care of it if the gym is not in your routine? Yes, you can carry out simple at-home exercises like stretching, pull-ups, and knee movements to maintain your back’s health.
But what about building the muscles? How can you support it? Forget heavy exercise machinery.
You can do well with a pair of dumbbells. You read it right. Here are twelve back workouts with dumbbells that you can use on your back day.
I have included the simple instructions as well as the muscles that benefit from these exercises in their descriptions.
Don’t forget to check out the back anatomy at the end of the post to define your goal and plan your workouts.
This easy-to-do exercise targets Lats and Rhomboids. You don’t have to wait for your back day to do the exercise. It’s simple and you can include it in your regular workout routine as well.
- With dumbbells in both hands, start the exercise by standing with feet shoulder-width apart.
- Keeping your arms extended, retract your shoulders and raise them upward to your ears. Meanwhile, also contract your upper traps.
- Keep the shoulders in this contracted position for a couple of seconds and then lower them in a relaxed position.
Re-do the shrug after a few more seconds.
Dumbbell Single Arm Row
You have to use a bench for this row. It will train your lats, traps, deltoids, and rhomboids.
Start by kneeling on a bench with one knee. Stretch the other leg down on the floor.
Use the non-working arm to support your upper body on the bench.
- Pick the dumbbell using the other arm. It should be at enough distance from your shoulder to let you stretch your arm fully.
- Keeping your back and neck straight, row the dumbbell towards your chest.
- You should keep the dumbbell in the upward position for a second before returning it to the floor.
Dumbbell Plank Row
If you are into more serious workouts, this plank row may suit you. Beware you have to start with lighter tools. This exercise will target many muscles not just from the back including the abdominal and arm. For back, traps and deltoids will benefit the most.
You start by getting into the plank position while keeping each hand on a dumbbell.
Also, keep the elbows close to the body, arms straight, and palms facing each other.
Exercise requires you to row one dumbbell off the floor and upwards until your triceps are parallel to the floor.
Then, lower the dumbbell to the floor and do the same with the other hand.
Dumbbell Farmer’s Walk
Another beginner-level back workout, farmer’s walk focuses the training on the core. For the back, its emphasis remains on the shoulders and lower back.
Did I say the exercise is simple?
- Start with a standing position with feet open at hip-width.
- Using a hip-hinge bend and a straight back, lower your hands to grip the dumbbell with your palms. Remember not to use your fingers to hold the dumbbells.
- Keeping your abs tight, stand upright.
- Elevate your traps and pull back. Don’t let your shoulders lapse during the exercise.
Keeping this position, walk for a distance.
Dumbbell Yates Row
If you are familiar with this at-home workout, you must have noticed that it is one of the free weight back exercises done with barbells instead of dumbbells. But the exercise can easily be recreated to do with dumbbells.
The exercise helps train almost all muscles of the back including lats, traps, deltoids, rhomboids, and erector spinae. The best part is that the exercise works on all these muscles without straining them because of its conservative pressure.
Here is how you can do it:
- Using supinated – or underhand – grip, hold the dumbbells from mid-thigh height or the floor.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart. You have to pull your shoulders back and down while tightening your core.
- Now, keeping your back straight, you have to hinge forward making a 45° angle. During this time, the dumbbells should remain above the knees.
- Now pull the wrights up into your upper abdomen.
- For a moment, pull your shoulder back. Then return the dumbbell to the thigh height.
Dumbbell Bent-over Wide Row
You can include this workout among intermediate-level exercise routines. It focuses on most of the back muscles including lats, rhomboids, traps, and erector spinae.
- With dumbbells in both hands, stand with your feet wide apart with a slight bend in your knees.
- Now you have to attain a 45° hinge.
- First, extend your hands to their full length straight down from your chest.
Now, pull these weights up towards the lower end of your rib cage. Your elbows will extend out wide.
- Pull your shoulder blades together for a moment before returning the dumbbells to their original height.
Dumbbell Bent-over Narrow Row
It is one of the common dumbbell lats exercises. Other than lats, it works your erector spinae and rhomboids.
- With dumbbells in both hands – palms facing each other, you have to stand straight with feet hip-width apart. Let your knees bend a little.
- Hinge forward at 45 degrees.
- Just like in the wide row, let your arms extend to full length.
- Now, pull the weights up towards the bottom rib cage, let your elbows brush against the sides.
- Pull the shoulder blades together before returning the weights to their original heights.
Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
While most of the back exercises focus on the upper back, the lower back is not a part to miss given its impact on the posture and health of the person. Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift is most suited for lower back muscles.
Here is the complete process:
- In front of your thighs, you have to hold dumbbells in both hands with palms facing your legs.
- While keeping your back straight and allowing your knees to bend, lean forward by bending your hips backward.
- Lower the dumbbells as low as you can without bending your arms.
- Stand up pulling the weights along with you.
Dumbbell Good Morning
Why are they called Good Morning? It’s because the posture in the exercise looks like greetings. It affects your lower back as well as some hip and thigh muscles.
- You have to start by holding a single dumbbell in front of your chest. Your feet should be hip-width open and your abs tightened.
- Now, you have to hinge down with hips moved back and back straight.
- Once you have bent as far as you could, stand back up.
Dumbbell Reverse Fly
This exercise will help all the muscles that make up your posture. It takes care of your traps, deltoids, rhomboids, and erector spinae.
The simple exercise can be done with the following steps.
- Start by standing upright with feet hip-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand.
Get into a hip-hinge at 45 degrees.
- Let your arms hang down, palms facing each other. Keep the dumbbells close.
With a small bend in your elbows, open your arms wide letting your lats squeeze your mid-back together.
- After holding for a moment, return to the original position.
Dumbbell High Pull
You may want to complete your dumbbell back workout with an exercise that is powerful for both the upper and lower back. Dumbbell high pull not only strengthens your lower back muscles but also adds strength to your traps.
Here is how you can perform this out-of-gym exercise:
- Stand with dumbbells in both hands and with feet hip-width apart. Your palms should face your legs.
- Bend in a hip-hinge position keeping the weights at knee height.
- Pull yourself up with force allowing this pull to bring the weights up to the front of your chest. Your elbows should be kept above your hands.
- Now you can get into the original position before repeating the exercise.
Dumbbell Renegade Row
This exercise develops on the plank row and targets the same muscles as the former exercise. It will strengthen your lats, traps, and rhomboids.
- Just like in plank row, set your position in a pushup position with both hands on dumbbells.
- Now, you have to row the dumbbell upwards until your triceps are parallel to the floor.
- Next, you have to return the weight to the floor and follow up with a push-up.
- After the push-up, you are ready to row the dumbbell using your opposite hand.
What we know as the back is, in fact, a collection of muscles. Understandably, the back muscles are integral to the whole muscular system of the body. It not only promotes shoulder health but also affects your lower back muscles and joints. In the end, back muscles are supported by and support the posture you maintain making them an essential factor in the aesthetic appeal of your body.
The four major groups of muscles that are focused in various workouts are:
Lats – Lats make the most emphasized muscles in your upper body workout. These are the v-shaped muscles that connect with your arms as well. And their health translates into the width of your back making you look more muscular.
Traps – These muscles in the middle of your back extend from the neck to the end of the rib cage. During workouts, the goal is to build better posture with them.
Deltoids – These muscles cover the ball-and-socket joint of a shoulder that connects your arm with your torso.
Rhomboids – These deep muscles run from your spine to the scapula. These are important as they give thickness to your back.
Erector Spinae – These muscles run vertically from neck to sacrum. Although training usually doesn’t target these muscles directly, indirect workouts keep them strong adding to their health and longevity.
These were 12 exercises you could do for your back without visiting the gym. They only need a pair of dumbbells and occasionally need a bench to lie down on.
You would want to include exercises after considering their impact on different muscles so you can cover all muscles in your back.