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15 Dumbbell Back Exercises And Workouts


Building a solid back is highly essential for an individual. People with a strong back would be able to maintain their body posture and perform different tasks with better flexibility.

Moreover, you may prevent or get rid of persistent back pain. Hence, you should consider including back exercises in your daily workout routine.

For multiple back exercises, you may consider dumbbells as the sole equipment. You would be able to perform various exercises with a pair of dumbbells.

Hence, this article will list the 15 best dumbbell back exercises to increase your back’s strength.

Best Dumbbell Back Exercises And Workouts

  1. Dumbbell Bent-Over Row

    The bent-over row is one of the best exercises to train your back. Generally, the bent-over row is done using a barbell.

    But, the equipment may restrict complete body movement; hence, you may perform the exercise using a pair of dumbbells.

    Dumbbells allow an extensive range of motion that could benefit better back training.

    Moreover, the dumbbells may help activate muscles essential for strengthening the target area.

    The dumbbell bent-over row allows equal movement of arms resulting in reduced injuries and failures.

  2. Dumbbell Pullover

    A dumbbell pullover is a technique-based exercise that may help strengthen your back and front part of the body.

    A dumbbell pullover is a highly preferred exercise that primarily targets the back region. But, it may help build a muscular chest, shoulders, and core.

    Alongside dumbbells, you may[1] require a flat bench to perform the exercise. Lie on the bench in an overhead position while keeping the ribs tight.

    Now, pick a pair of dumbbells and start performing the exercise by extending your shoulders.

    But, restrict yourself from over-extending the shoulders to avoid unwanted injuries.

  3. Elevated Plank Row Hold

    It is one of the most challenging and effective dumbbell exercises for the back. You may need an elevated place to perform the exercise using dumbbells.

    The elevated plank row hold exercise allows for building a strong mind-muscle connection essential during the training.

    Position your body in a sturdy elevated plank position, and pick a pair of preferred dumbbells to perform.

    You would[2] have to perform a row and hold the dumbbells at shoulder level. But, the key to the best results is pulling the dumbbells upwards throughout the time.

  4. Dumbbell Pendlay Row

    Dumbbell Pendlay row is one of the most famous back exercises proposed by powerlifting and weightlifting Olympic coach Glen Pendlay.

    He designed the exercise in such a way that an individual may easily lift a higher weight without taking any injury.

    During the rowing exercise, you would[3] be allowed to transfer your weight to the floor between each rep.

    Hence, you get sufficient time to rest your lower back and grip. Depending on your preference, you may perform the dumbbell Pendlay row using one or two dumbbells.

    But, most people prefer doing the exercise using two dumbbells as it allows them to lift heavier weights comfortably.

  5. Dumbbell Farmer’s Walk

    Farmer’s walk has always been beneficial for building core and grip strength. But, the exercise may help make a strong and steady back.

    This simple exercise asks you to keep your back straight while walking around the room. Hence, a straight posture may help train your back and enhance strength.

    Dumbbell farmer’s walk is a simple exercise with no added technique. You may perform the exercise with perfection comfortably.

    Pick a pair of heavy dumbbells and start walking around while keeping the body straight.
    You should continue the walk until your hands feel pain, or you feel tired.

  6. Dumbbell High Pull

    Dumbbell high pull is a hybrid form of Romanian deadlifts and upright rows. The combined exercise is the best way to train the lower back.

    But, it may[4] help prepare the upper back muscles as well.

    The exercise may help athletes in their explosive ability by enhancing their strength and stability during the performance.

    Grab a pair of dumbbells as you hold them at knee level while slightly bending the knees. Stand in the bend position to start the exercise.

    Now, explosively straighten your body and simultaneously pull the dumbbells to your chest height. Keep the elbows at hand’s level to finish one rep perfectly.

    Reset yourself to start position for the next rep.

  7. Dumbbell Single-arm Row

    Training the back won’t be much easier than doing a dumbbell single-arm row. You may understand and perform the exercise with minimum requirements.

    But, it is highly effective in making the back strong. Pick a dumbbell of your preferred choice for the exercise.

    Now, bend forward while keeping the body parallel to the floor, and keep the head raised.
    But, you must choose a stable surface in front for better support during the exercise.

    Begin the exercise by keeping one arm on the stable surface and raising the other arm with the dumbbell.

    Raise until the dumbbell is close to your chest, and hold for some seconds. Slowly lower the dumbbell to the starting position for one rep.

  8. Kroc Row

    Kroc row has been named after a powerlifter and bodybuilder, Janae Marie Kroc. The exercise is considered an advanced but challenging form of single-arm row exercise.

    You have to pick a dumbbell heavier than your preference in Kroc row. Get into the stand position by bending forward while taking the support on a stable surface with one hand.

    Start the exercise by powerlifting the heavy dumbbell using your free hand. Such heavy dumbbells assure you better[5] strength and flexibility of your back muscles.

  9. Dumbbell Shrug

    Some people consider the dumbbell shrug as a shoulder exercise. But, it is an effective back exercise that targets the core muscles of the back.

    You may perform shrug using a barbell, but dumbbells could be a better choice. Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand tall to get into the starting position.

    Start moving the dumbbells up and down while keeping the shoulders stiff. Increasing the shoulder’s motion may cause joint wear and tear.

  10. Dumbbell Pullover

    The dumbbell pullover is a vertical pulling exercise that primarily targets the lat muscles.

    But, performing the exercise with dumbbells isn’t an easy task; hence, it may raise the difficulty level.

    You would require a heavy dumbbell and a mat to perform the exercise. Start by lying on the mat and holding the dumbbell with both hands.

    Slightly bend your knees while keeping the feet width-apart. Start the exercise by lifting the weight vertically over your chest.

    Slowly move the dumbbell towards your head, and try to touch the ground. Slowly return to the initial position to complete one repetition.

  11. Dumbbell Renegade Row

    Renegade row is one of the best exercises to engage the core. Dumbbells renegade row allows you to strengthen the core[6] and glutes alongside back muscles.

    Get into the plank position with a pair of dumbbells. But, keep the arms and legs extended more than the hips apart to gain stability.

    After getting the proper posture, begin the exercise by pulling the right elbow to perform a row. Pull the dumbbell towards the chest and elbow close to the torso.

    But, keep the butts and abdominal muscles engaged for better results. Now, return to the initial position, and perform the same exercise with the next arm.

  12. Dumbbell Reverse Fly

    Reverse flyers are an essential exercise to train the shoulders and rear deltoids. Strengthening these muscles allows to maintain[7] the perfect posture and prevent injuries.

    Stand straight while holding a pair of dumbbells. Position the arms at your sides, and gently bend the arms while facing the palms inwards.

    Moreover, you must keep the back flat, and your core tight to feel the stress on your back.

    Start raising the dumbbells sidewise until both the arms are in the same line and parallel to the ground.

    Maintain the posture for a few seconds, and slowly return to starting posture.

  13. Quadruped Single-Arm Rear-Delt Raise

    Quadruped single-arm rear delt raise is a great exercise to retain the body posture. Moreover, it works perfectly to enhance the strength of the back.

    Get into the starting position by bending forward at your hips. But, look for a stable surface to rest your hand for support.

    Now, grab a dumbbell of optimum weight in one hand, and position it down from your shoulder.

    Start raising the arm with the dumbbell straight back until it is parallel to the ground. But, make sure to keep the torso stiff while doing the exercise.

    Stay in the position for a few seconds, and slowly return to the initial position.

  14. Dumbbell Single-Leg Row

    The dumbbell single-leg row is primarily based on balancing the back while lifting the weight. You should individually and alternatively perform the exercise for each side.

    Pick one dumbbell in the right hand while palms facing the midline. Bend forward, and keep the weights perpendicular to the shoulder.

    Now, raise the right leg until the chest and leg are in the same line, and parallel to the floor.

    After you get into the starting position, slowly pull the dumbbell to the ribcage, and pause for a while.
    Now, smoothly lower the dumbbell to the starting position to complete one rep.

  15. Good Morning

    Good morning is an easy but effective exercise to train the back. You may perform the exercise using a pair of dumbbells of your preferred choice.

    Start the exercise by standing shoulder-width apart and grabbing a pair of dumbbells. Position the dumbbells at your shoulder while inwardly facing the palms.

    Slightly bend your knees, and straighten the torso to get into the starting position. Start bending the upper body from your hips until it is parallel to the floor.

    Now, carefully return to the starting position to complete one rep.


Dumbbells allow you to perform different variations of any exercise. Hence, dumbbells are the minimum requirements for a gym enthusiast.

If you have a pair of dumbbells, you may follow the above-listed back exercises to gain a tough and strong back.


Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.

  1. Paulo H Marchetti, Marco C Uchida Effects of the pullover exercise on the pectoralis major and latissimus dorsi muscles as evaluated by EMG J Appl Biomech. 2011 Nov;27(4):380-4. doi: 10.1123/jab.27.4.380. Epub 2011 Oct 4. Available from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21975179/
  2. Jason Brumitt and R. Barry Dale Integrating Shoulder and Core Exercises When Rehabilitating Athletes Performing Overhead Activities N Am J Sports Phys Ther. 2009 Aug; 4(3): 132–138.
  3. Eneko Baz-Valle, Brad J. Schoenfeld, Jon Torres-Unda, et al. The effects of exercise variation in muscle thickness, maximal strength and motivation in resistance trained men PLoS One. 2019; 14(12): e0226989.Published online 2019 Dec 27. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0226989
  4. Erika Zemková, Ol’ga Kyselovičová, Michal Jeleň et al. Muscular Power during a Lifting Task Increases after Three Months of Resistance Training in Overweight and Obese Individuals Sports (Basel). 2017 Jun; 5(2): 35.
    Published online 2017 Jun 8. doi: 10.3390/sports5020035
  5. Resistance training – health benefits Reviewed on: 11-07-2022 Available from:https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/resistance-training-health-benefits
  6. José M. Oliva-Lozano and José M. Muyor Core Muscle Activity during Physical Fitness Exercises: A Systematic Review Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jun; 17(12): 4306.Published online 2020 Jun 16. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17124306
  7. DeokJu Kim, MiLim Cho, YunHee Park, et al. Effect of an exercise program for posture correction on musculoskeletal pain J Phys Ther Sci. 2015 Jun; 27(6): 1791–1794.Published online 2015 Jun 30. doi: 10.1589/jpts.27.1791

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