16 Dumbbell Exercises to Build Back Strength and Muscle
When it comes to back-building exercises, bodyweight movements like the pullup and chin up, as well as powerful barbell motions like the barbell row and even the deadlift, are frequently where many individuals start. That’s wonderful; these workouts might be useful for building bulk and strengthening key back muscles. Stacking many plates onto the bar for heavyweight pulls and bringing your head to or above the bar rep after rep both look amazing. However, you’ll be better off getting a set of dumbbells for your back workouts if you’re looking for accessible exercises that just about everyone can perform.
Dumbbells are a more approachable training tool for beginners since they allow you to practice with a wide variety of loads. Due to the power and technique requirements, pull-ups and chin-ups can have a very high entry barrier for beginners, and barbell workouts can also be challenging for beginners for the same reasons. Instead of struggling to finish a single rep, compensating with your form, and putting yourself at risk of injury, it is better for you to be able to master the motions with weights you can handle.
But not only novices may benefit from dumbbell back workouts. Along with bodyweight and heavy barbell training, experienced lifters may also employ the equipment for efficient sessions. Dumbbell exercises should be a big element in any thorough back muscle training split because dumbbells offer versatility that other tools cannot.
The Benefits of Dumbbell Back Exercises
●Great for rows
●Helps to establish better posture
●Allows for weight progression
●More accessible than other tools
With a pair of dumbbells, you can train the vital muscle groups that guard your shoulder blades and improve your posture while also developing the back power you’ll ultimately need to do chin-ups and pull-ups.
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This is partly because using dumbbells allows you to perform the row, which is maybe the most important back workout there is. It’s a crucial dumbbell exercise that balances life since it works your rhomboids, midback stabilizers, and lats all at once.
While reading this, consider your posture: You’re probably leaning slightly forward, with your shoulders forward and your back relaxed. Every rep of a row, which is a “horizontal” pulling exercise, will cause your shoulders to draw back towards your back, allowing you to emphasize shoulder blade pressure. In a few weeks, you’ll be taller and more resistant to shoulder problems as a result of doing that.
All of that is accomplished by including dumbbell back exercises in your routines, which also aids in developing the strength and back muscle you need to add thickness between your shoulder blades and throughout your upper back. This is especially true if you start engaging in back workouts with heavier dumbbells, including farmer’s carries, strong dumbbell rows, and inclination rows.
Additionally, some exercisers may find it easier to use dumbbells than other gym equipment, such as barbells or exercise machines; many people are far more likely to have access to a set of dumbbells than expensive plates and machines that call for gym subscriptions.
The Best Dumbbell Back Exercises
Start with the accessible yet challenging dumbbell back exercises shown below.
One of the greatest workouts for your back, the classic dumbbell row targets both the lats and rhomboids. Additionally, if performed correctly, with an emphasis on maintaining a square posture with your shoulders and hips, it will significantly strengthen your core. Just watch out for rounding your back. One of the finest aspects of the dumbbell row is that you can ultimately add significant weight to it, making it a crucial muscle-building exercise. Start with 3 sets of 8–12 repetitions.
The incline row, one of the most rigorous row variants, comes in right behind the dumbbell row in terms of difficulty. It’s simple to let your torso rock back and forth while performing normal dumbbell rows, producing momentum rather than lifting the weights with only your muscles. While you secure your chest to the pad, the incline bench aids to eliminate that. The modest angle of pull that is changed by the incline bench will also help you focus more on your lower lats. Start with three sets of 8–12 repetitions.
ELEVATED PLANK ROW
Holding a plank posture for the duration of the exercise will add a core training element to the basic row. As with a regular dumbbell row, you’ll engage your back muscles, but you’ll also have to contend with rotating forces in order to maintain your raised posture on the bench. The end result is a practical exercise that enables you to perform two tasks at once for a more thorough workout.
DUMBBELL PAUSE ROMANIAN DEADLIFT
Given how important the activity is for your glutes and hamstrings, you might think of deadlifts as a lower-body workout. That is not incorrect; however, different deadlift variants target your complete posterior chain, which also includes your erector spinae, low back muscles, and even your larger back muscles, such as your delts and traps. When doing deadlifts, it’s crucial to maintain correct upper body form to prevent energy leakage and injury, making the back muscles a crucial component of a good rep. This variant, which includes a stop at the midway point, is a great method to improve your technique. To support the weight, you’ll need to tighten your torso intensely and lock in your shoulders and upper back.
This traditional bodybuilding move targets your lats while also working your chest, shoulders, and core. The trick here is to perform the repetitions while maintaining excellent overhead form on the bench and preventing your ribcage from bulging. Maintain a healthy range of motion for your without stretching your shoulders past that range.
ELEVATED PLANK ROW HOLD
The raised plank row hold, a workout created by fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., takes the elevated plank row to the next level while still strengthening your core. You’ll row a dumbbell up and hold it after getting into a stable raised plank posture. But don’t just let it be a hold; keep pulling upward all the way through the hold.
INCLINE PAUSE ROW
Take up the incline row position, then add an isometric hold to make the workout even more challenging. If you follow the procedure exactly as seen in the video above, you’ll also burn your core when working alone. But the back should be the main focus, and after all the isometric training, you should be able to really emphasize the tightness in your back during the last round of rows.
HALF-ISO INCLINW ROW COUNTUP SERIES
Would you want to make the sloping row even more level? Use the half-iso incline row count up sequence to demonstrate how your back muscles can still provide force after pulling your arms as far back as they can. The secret to developing back strength is to understand this concept, which will give your lats and rhomboids some backburn.
The traditional renegade row is an effective exercise for toning your complete upper body. During the pushup portion of the exercise, you slam your chest and triceps. Then, as you raise your body and pull the dumbbell towards your hip, you virtually end with a plank row, crushing your cores and working your lats and rhomboids. Three sets of 8–10 repetitions on each side would be a good place to start.
TOWER-GRIP DUMBBELL ROW
Use Samuel’s towel dumbbell row to increase the forearm and stability challenge of the conventional dumbbell row. Mechanically, this seems quite similar to a typical dumbbell row, but the towel introduces two new difficulties. To grip the dumbbell, you must first tightly squeeze the towel. Second, you get to practice maintaining the dumbbell level and balance. To do this, you’ll need to pull each rep more slowly and deliberately, which will help you improve your mind-muscle coordination.
TWO-POSITION BENT-OVER ROW
Another effective exercise that lets you work your back muscles is the bent-over row. You may work from a variety of postures with this combination of two variants. Pull up first, then pause and flare your elbows to do the eccentric component of the exercise, which overloads the rear delts. Start holding the weights with your hands in a neutral posture.
Many knowledgeable fitness professionals would advise you to completely avoid upright rows, and if they’re referring to versions that employ straight bars, we concur. However, there is a strong argument in favor of performing the exercise with dumbbells in order to completely destroy your back delts and prevent much of the harmful shoulder internal rotation that trainers are worried about. Make sure your elbows never go over your shoulders to keep your shoulders protected.
V-TAPPER DUMBBELL ROW SERIES
The V-Taper Row Series will aid in developing your outer lats as well as your rear delts’ size and depth. In this row, you’re combining the conventional elbow-close-to-torso row with the elbow flare row. By attacking your back delts with that flared-out row, you’ll add much-needed heft behind your shoulders. On the close rows, the tempo utilized here will also blast your lats as you hold for a split second.
The farmer’s carry is another traditional workout that people have been performing since the dawn of time. You pick up heavy weights and walk with them, usually for a certain amount of time or a set amount of distance. In any case, you develop a larger, stronger back (and a more durable physique overall) when you concentrate on contracting your abs and shoulder blades.
THREE-WAY ELEVATED PLANK ROW
In the three-way raised plank row, back muscular delicacy is key. The majority of your body is totally concentrated on keeping a stable raised plank posture, so you won’t get to cheat much here. This allows the “working” arm to do many, intense back squeezes. You may target various areas of your back by changing the position of your wrists (while also forcing your core to work in novel ways): The reverse-grip pull will target your lower lats, while the elbow-flared posture will target your rear delts. The regular elbow-close-to-torso row will target your lats and rhomboids.
TRX PLANK PAUSE ROW
Consider the TRX plank pause row as a brutal challenge; the TRX requires an additional piece of equipment for it. Once you get that, you can start a TRX single-arm plank hold that is really difficult and will chisel your abs and obliques. Your lats and rhomboids will almost fully isolate themselves while rowing a dumbbell up from that position, in part because the rest of your body is nearly entirely concentrated on holding that terrifying TRX plank.