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Have you thought that you can train the whole back with just dumbbells?
Here, in this article, I will talk about the top dumbbell back exercises that will give you an amazing v-shape to your back and make it look like a Christmas tree! It will also increase your strength and you will be able to lift more weights after performing these exercises.
In the end, you will find a back workout program that you can do even at home and you will just need dumbbells for it. So first let’s look at the exercises.
Back Exercises with Dumbbells
1. One Arm Dumbbell Row
Targeted muscle- Lats, rhomboids and traps
How to do
Hold a dumbbell on your hands and the other hand on the bench. Place one foot on your bench and the other at the side.
Lift your hips up and chest up. This will make your back neutral and in the proper position to start the exercise.
Start lifting the dumbbell up by rolling shoulders back. Take dumbbells to the side of the stomach. Make sure to maintain 90° angle at the elbow. Otherwise you will involve more biceps.
Come down and fully stretch your back at the bottom. This will increase the range of motion and will be more effective for growth.
You can use heavy weights on this but make sure that you don’t round your back. You should not compromise your form to lift heavyweights Always breathe out when you lift the weights up and breathe in on the way down.
2. Standing Dumbbell Rows
Targeted muscles- Latissimus dorsi , rhomboids, teres major, traps ( lower and mid)
How to do
Hold two dumbbells and stand with both feet at hip width apart. Bend down by taking your hips back and spine upright. Don’t round your lower back and keep your chest up.
Roll your shoulders back and pull the dumbbells up. Your elbows should be tucked in while going up. Don’t bend your neck or back during the movement.
Pause when dumbbells are at the side of your stomach. Then return to the starting position steadily.
This back exercise can also be done at home. you just need a pair of dumbbells in your home.
3. Incline Dumbbell Rows
Targeted muscles- latissimus dorsi, traps, rhomboids, teres major, erector spinae.
How to do
Grab two pair of dumbbells on both hands. Lay down on an incline bench with feet supported.
From this position, roll your shoulders back and start lifting the dumbbells up towards your mid stomach.
Your elbows should be in and maintain the 90° angle. Go down slow and stretch your back at the bottom.
Make sure to keep your chest up and shoulders back while lifting the dumbbells up otherwise you will not get the best contraction from your back.
Targeted muscles- latissimus dorsi, traps, rhomboids, erector spine, lower back, hamstrings, and glutes
How to do
Stand with both feet at hip-width apart. Hold dumbbells and go down by taking your hips back. Pretend that there is a chair behind your back and you have to sit down.
Bend down and take the dumbbells down without rounding your back. If you are new to this exercise, you don’t have to go too down.
Make sure that when you go down, your lower back should not round and your hips should be squeezed. Dumbbells should be close to your legs all the time during the exercise.
From the downward position, lift the dumbbells up without rounding your lower back. Your chest should be up and shoulders should be rolled back.
Your elbows should be straight and the neck should be neutral. Always maintain the upright position. This is one of the top class back exercises with dumbbells you must do.
5. Dumbbell Shrugs
Targeted muscles- trapezius muscles ( upper)
How to do
Pick two dumbbells and stand with two feet together. Make sure that you use your legs to pick the dumbbells up without leaning and rounding your back to pick the weights.
Hold each dumbbell to your side. With your elbows straight and shoulders pinged back, take your shoulders up and down. Breath out on the way up and breathe in on the way down.
Your elbows should be straight during the movement. Your shoulders should always pinch back and should not come forward. Maintain the neutral spine and neck should be straight and not bend too much.
6. Dumbbell Y Raises
targeted muscles- mid and lower traps, rotator cuffs
How to do
Lay down on an incline bench by holding two light dumbbells. You can also perform this exercise on a flat bench.
Raise both dumbbells up like a Y without lifting your chest up. Make sure that your thumb is pointed up towards the ceiling while going up.
Stop when your arms are in line with your ears. Slowly return to the starting position. Make sure that you are raising your hands by making a Y.
That means your hands should not be coming close to each other rather it should go away from each other.
Try to use a neutral grip rather than an overhand grip to involve more rotator cuffs.
- Y raises will help you to reduce muscular imbalances and make your shoulders more stable.
- Many people don’t train their lower traps due to which they get shoulder or neck pain. This exercise will help in reducing the pain and keep their shoulders healthy.
- This exercise is also helpful to increase the strength of pull-ups or any other pulling exercises as most pulling movements involve lower traps and rotator cuffs to provide stability.
- It’s a great dumbbell back exercise which you must include in your workout program.
7. Wide Dumbbell Rows
Muscles targeted- Lats, rhomboids, and traps ( upper back)
How to do
Grab two dumbbells from both hands and stand with both feet at shoulder’s width apart. Don’t use too heavy dumbbells on this exercise.
Go down by getting your hips back as much as you can. Your back should be parallel to the floor.
From that position, roll your shoulders back and lift both dumbbells up such that your wrist is under the elbows.
Your elbows should point out and not in. Make sure to not arch your lower back during the movement.
You should not swing too much during the exercise. So choose your weights wisely. Don’t pick heavy dumbbells if you are not familiar with this form and exercise. Your core should be tight and don’t round your back.
8. Dumbbell Upright Rows
Targeted muscles- upper traps and supraspinatus
How to do
Stand straight by holding two dumbbells. Raise both the dumbbells up with elbows pointing out. Take it up towards your chin. You don’t have to go further up.
The gap between both dumbbells should be less to engage more traps such that the dumbbells are together. Return to the starting position and repeat the movement.
Your core should be tight. Also, you can lean forward slightly for a little better trap activation.
9. Bench Reverse Flyes
Targeted muscles- upper back including lats rhomboids and traps, rear delts
Pick two dumbbells and lay down your chest on an incline bench. Raise the dumbbells up with a slight bend in your elbows and stop when your arms are parallel to the ground.
Make sure to breathe out on the way up and breathe in on the way down. Keep in note that your elbows are not bent too much such that it becomes a rowing exercise. Back exercises with dumbbells like these, you must try!
10. Dumbbell W Raises
Targeted muscles- rotator cuffs, mid scapular muscle, rhomboids, and lats
Set up and incline bench at a 70° angle. pick two dumbbells and lay down on a bench with your chest down. Choose light dumbbells for this exercise.
Take your hands forward with elbows under the shoulders and at a 90° angle. From this position move the dumbbells up with thumbs facing up and form a W.
Breath out on the way up and squeeze the back muscles. Come down to the starting position while breathing in.
This is another corrective exercise after Y raises which is healthy for your shoulders and scapula.
11. Dumbbell Dead Rows
Targeted muscles- lats, lower back, erector spinae, glutes, hamstrings and abdominals
Pick two dumbbells and stand with both feet at hip-width. Go down by taking your hips back and bending your knees. Don’t roll your lower back.
Go down by touching both dumbbells to the ground and lift the dumbbells up with your elbows in and bent.
Then go back again to touch the ground and then get back up like performing a deadlift.
Make sure to engage your glutes ( hip muscles) to avoid injury on the lower back. You should row when your back is parallel to the ground for better contraction.
This is a combination of a deadlift and row. It’s a great exercise to increase the power and strength of a back. It is also good for your lower back if done correctly.
12. Dumbbell Push Ups with Row
Targeted muscles- Pecs, latissimus dorsi, traps, abs
Get down on a pushup position by holding both dumbbells placed down. Your chest should be up and shoulders back. Keep your knees straight and back stable.
Go down and squeeze the chest. touch the chin and go back up. Then perform the row by taking dumbbells up.
Your elbows should be in while you are rowing. Do it with the other hand also completing one rep.
Back Workout with Dumbbells
This back workout with dumbbells will make your back wide and strong, so try it out, guys !
one arm row does 3 sets of 12 reps. Use light weights on this as it is a warm-up to get more blood flow into the muscle.
1. Incline dumbbell rows- do 3 sets of 12 reps. If you are at home, then replace this exercise with standing dumbbell rows.
2. Deadlift- Do 3 sets of 8 reps.
3. One arm dumbbell rows- Do 3 sets of 12 reps
4. Dumbbell shrugs + Dumbbell Y raises (superset)- Do 3 sets of 15 reps. pick lightweight dumbbells for Y raises.
Beginners- Don’t do supersets. Do only Y raises. Don’t go for more than 2 sets in each exercise.
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Roshan Pillai is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer with more than 6 years of experience in lifting weights and guiding people to get fit. He has worked as a personal trainer in gyms and is the owner and editor of fitnessproworkout.com. He is passionate about fitness and helping people to get in shape.