15 Best Dumbbell Back Exercises And Workouts

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

Body positivity and staying healthy are important. Both, following your bodybuilding passion or wanting to look good, are the right choices. 

It depends solely on the person, what he wants to look like, and for what reason. But not everybody has enough time to hit the gym for hours and some may not even have enough equipment at home. 

This makes “what are the best exercises at home with simple equipment? ” even more important. Another important aspect is the area a person targets or wants to improve. 

Like the gym has days divided as leg or chest day for a particular workout so are the needs of a person. 

One of the highly focused areas is the “back”. Since The V-cut looks so flattering to some that they instantly wanna have one. 

So, if you are the one looking for a list of back exercises with dumbbells, this article is just the perfect choice for you.

15 Best Dumbbell Back Exercises And Workouts

Since dumbbells are the most common equipment that a person can own, this article focuses on this very basic thing. So if you are looking for a home-friendly workout, this will work well for you too. 

  1. Overhand Rows

    Running straight into the basics before rushing into some crazy and tiring workout is a great choice. It makes the body active and works out less time-consuming.

    So for performing these overhand rows all you need is dumbbells. Choose a suitable weight accordingly.

    Then make sure your core is strong. Inhale. Bend over making an angle of 45 degrees and hold the dumbbells.

    Make sure the grip is nice and strong. You can also go down in a squatting position to get a hold of the dumbbells.

    Do not stop. Now hold the dumbbells in an oblique position (slightly inwards). This is the natural position of hands so it will be less effort consuming.

    Pull the dumbbells up, keeping the hands shoulder-width apart. Then lower them down and exhale.

    Inhale again and repeat the same process repeating at least 5 reps at once. This is the perfect start for upper back activation and it will also improve the pulling strength.

    More about Overhand rows here.

  1. Underhand Rows

    It is similar to the overhand ones. The difference is the way you hold the dumbbells. So to begin with, just hip hinge.

    This means bending such that the back can stay neutral and your hips and legs balance the body weight.

    This is the correct posture to not strain your muscles but to activate and train them. Pick up the dumbbells by picking them from under the dumbbells and not over them. Your palms will face upwards.

    Rounded shoulders or loose position is a big no. Make sure to inhale with the core staying strong. Pull up and squeeze.

    Bring them down and exhale. Repeat the entire process for at least 12 reps and 4 sets.

  1. Dumbbell Deadlifts

    The name may have given you an idea about what has to be done.  Hold the dumbbells in front of you.

    Open your legs hip-width apart. Palms should be facing in. Bend your knees slightly. It should be as little as possible.

    Bend at your waist and not your knees, keeping your back straight, you will feel your hamstrings a little tighter. This is because they are getting active.

    Try to get your back parallel to the ground. Do not strain it. Just do as much as possible. It will increase with time.

    Your arms should remain straight throughout as is in a deadlift. Don’t fold them. As in the previous two exercises, the motion was fast, try to keep your motion as slow and steady as possible.

    (If you are a beginner, try to use smaller weights initially).This governmental website talks more about dumbbell deadlifts here.

  1. Dumbbells Pullover

    Start by lying on a bench. Some people prefer resting on just the shoulder area supported by the bench, but if you have just started, lie on the flat bench, supporting your head, back, and hips.

    Open your legs apart and place the feet nicely on the ground. This helps in increasing muscle movement and avoids strains or injuries.

    Now take a light-weighted dumbbell ( single dumbbell) that you might easily hold, do not go for heavyweights.

    Stretch your arms straight and hold the weight above your head. Start lowering the weight slowly down. Keep the elbows bent slightly and flare the elbows more.

    If the elbows are closer, this exercise works more on the chest. Make sure, the dumbbell is aligned with your head behind when lowered down.

    Do not go for half movement or stretch too much. Bring it back up slowly above the chest. Exhale when coming back up. Repeat the same. More about this here.

  1. Prone Bench Row

    Lie on an inclined bench with your chest supported by the bench, facing down. You can keep your feet on the ground or the bench as well as per preference.

    Now use your hands as a hook. Well that means don’t make your biceps the main muscle you are working on, just use them to work mainly on the lat.

    Hold the dumbbells and pull them up contracting your shoulder blades. Lower them down slowly. The inclined bench gives much more motion.

  1. Single-Arm Dumbbell Rows

    Take a bench, and place your left hand and left knee on the bench. Move the other leg to the side a little behind the glutes.

    Hold the dumbbell with your right hand. Again, do not squeeze it tight, use it as a hook only with a good grip but not tight.

    So your arm should be fully extended and the dumbbell position should be in a straight line with the shoulder.

    The back should stay neutral. Do not move your legs. Just use the arm and shoulders.

    Slowly pull up with your elbow making a 90° angle contracting the shoulder blades. Repeat 10-15 reps for each arm with at least 3 sets. Follow the same for the other arm.

  1. Reverse Flies

    They are exactly what they sound like. Go into the hip hinge position i.e. bend at the waist with hips tight and back neutral which is nearly parallel to the ground or a little less inclined.

    Bend your knees and elbows a little. Hold the dumbbells and bring your hands up to the side.

    Make sure to contract your shoulder blades when you pull up to the sides with eyes slightly bent.

    Release it back down. Make sure to not hump up with the weight. Keep your back stable.

  1. Dumbbell Shrugs

    Hold your dumbbells in both hands, stand straight, core strong, shoulders back, and straight hands. Lift using your shoulders.

    Squeeze your hands and core while doing so. Release back. Do not move your arm or any other body part.

    Just raise your shoulders to lift them and them down. Repeat at least 15. More about this here.

  1. Lawnmowers

    Start with a staggered stance position where your right leg is ahead bent at the knee and your right hand resting on it for support.

    Stretch the left leg behind fully. Take the dumbbell in your left hand with the dumbbell in a straight line with the shoulder.

    Don’t take a loose position. Chest big, shoulders straight, pull the elbow back towards the hip.

    Make sure to work on the back. Don’t take your hand too far while pulling up. Release.

  1. Good morning

    What’s better than starting with “good morning”. Take a dumbbell, and wrap it up with your hands just like a baby, palms facing towards you.

    Bring it to the shoulder level. Slightly bend the knees. Keep the back straight and bend down. Knees bend forward, spine neutral which works on the hamstrings.

    Come back up to the initial position while squeezing your glutes.

  1. Reverse Grip Bent Over Row

    Bend your knees a little, legs shoulder-width apart, back straight inclined at an angle of 45°, and body tight.

    Hold the dumbbells with palms facing forward (away from your body). Pull all the way up at your elbows allowing motion. Lower them down and repeat.

  1. Renegade Rows

    To perform them with dumbbells, go into a high plank position. Hold the dumbbells in both hands and they should be resting on the ground underneath the shoulders.

    Hips and shoulders should remain square, and should not move out of line from side to side.

    Maintaining this position, pull up one of the dumbbells to the armpit while the other hand remains on the grounded dumbbell.

    Lower down the hand and get back to the plank position. Repeat the same with the other one.

  1. Upright Rows

    The perfect combination for shoulders and back is right here. For the correct posture, keep your chest puffed up, core tight, and legs shoulder-width apart.

    Hold the dumbbells in your hands with arms fully extended in front of your body. Keep the dumbbells close to you.

    Now, pull up a little under the chin but make sure to not hurt yourself. Release it back and repeat the same. More info about upright rows is here.

  1. Pulls Ups With Dumbbells

    Pull-ups are great anyway for building arm strength but they can be effective for the back as well.

    While doing pull-ups, adding some weight will give an additional advantage to the back taking a healthy amount of load and engaging the muscles.

    There can be several ways to use the dumbbell. The first one is to take a leash and tie it around the dumbbell.

    Wrap the remaining part of the leash above your hips and you are ready to go. Just perform your regular pull-ups now with the attached weight.

    Another way is to keep the dumbbell on the floor and hold it between your feet. Lift it along when doing pull-ups to do some weight-assisted workout for the back.

  1. Dumbbell bent over face pulls

    For performing them in a bent-over position, do a hip hinge. Back neutral and inclined with knees bent. Extend the arms straight down holding both dumbbells. 

    Pull them up such that the forearms are in the same line as the shoulders. Release them back down and repeat the process. 

    This is a better workout with dumbbells for the upper back. Some other variations are standing face pull-ups and the ones using a bench.

    For performing them in a bent-over position, do a hip hinge. Back neutral and inclined with knees bent. Extend the arms straight down holding both dumbbells. 

    Pull them up such that the forearms are in the same line as the shoulders. Release them back down and repeat the process. 

    This is great for the upper back. Some other variations are standing face pull-ups and the ones using a bench.


Till now, you must be aware of the best dumbbell exercises and workouts that could enhance your physique and lifestyle.

Considering them as per the suggestion of your gym trainer could help you exercise your muscle and may also maintain your improved experience.

Further, it could also enhance your endurance and allow you to lift heavy day by day while hitting the gym.