The 10 Dumbbell Back Exercises To Add To Your Back Workouts

Finding new and interesting dumbbell back exercises can be a great way to mix up your standard upper body sessions. Thankfully there are numerous effective variations that can be used for multiple training goals. Let’s walk through 10 dumbbell back variations to can add into your workouts.

4 min read
Sean's profile
Written by
Sean Klein
Published on
08/06/22
Last updated
12/01/23
In This Resource
  • Benefits Of Dumbbell Back Exercises
  • Increased Back Strength
  • Improved Aesthetics
  • Improved Sports Performance
  • Training Considerations For Training The Back
  • Sets Per Week Recommendations
  • Functional Strength VS Hypertrophy Workouts with Dumbbells
  • Common Mistakes With Back Exercise
  • How To Warm Up For Your Back Exercises
  • References

Finding new and interesting dumbbell back exercises can be a great way to mix up your standard upper body sessions. Thankfully there are numerous effective variations that can be used for multiple training goals. Let’s walk through 10 dumbbell back variations to can add into your workouts.

Benefits Of Dumbbell Back Exercises

Increased Back Strength

Increasing the size of the back can be a great way to improve your strength in multiple lifts but especially the deadlift. Doing these dumbbell exercises consistently and growing your back musculature will for sure help you increase your powerlifting total.

Improved Aesthetics

If you just want to look better with your t shirt off or you’re competing in a show, most of these exercises will help you improve your aesthetics. Also regularly changing your pulling variations will be a great way to avoid training mundanity.

Improved Sports Performance

Improving your functional strength and increasing the size of your back will be very beneficial to sports performance. Take a sport like rugby, where the added weight will be beneficial to the contact area and the added strength will help in multiple sport specific movements in rucks and mauls.

Training Considerations For Training The Back

Sets Per Week Recommendations

Training recommendations for the amount of work needed to be performed to generate muscle gain are from the recent literature (1) on the topic and also from some of the best body building training experts at RP Strength .

  • Maintenance = 3-6 Sets per week
  • Growth = 8-12+ Sets per week
  • Using dumbbells for rows and other back exercises will allow the muscles of your back to grow if these training guidelines are followed. Rows will also help develop the arm musculature also as the reps require both groups of muscle to lift the weight.

    Functional Strength VS Hypertrophy Workouts with Dumbbells

    It’s important to differentiate training goals and pick exercises accordingly. A lot of these movements require a great deal of core stabilisation, others require very little. If your goal is functional strength, perfect for general populations or athletes, then the exercises which require core stabilisation are excellent. However if your goal is muscle growth then choosing the exercises which don’t require as much core stabilisation will be much more appropriate.

    Common Mistakes With Back Exercise

  • Not maintaining a neutral spine. For the majority of the movements in this list you will need to maintain a strong and stable lower back position. This requires focus and concentration especially as fatigue builds up.
  • Not keeping the shoulders square. This can be challenging to do during a lot of these dumbbell back exercise variations.
  • Not moving the shoulder through its full range of motion during the exercise. It’s important you finish the movement at the end of your range of motion whilst keeping your shoulders square.
  • How To Warm Up For Your Back Exercises

    The back can be warmed up with numerous easy exercises that move the shoulder through it’s full range of motion. Here are a few example warm up exercise you can use prior to your back workouts. For more warm up ideas, check out out warm up library .

    References

  • Brad Jon Schoenfeld, Jozo Grgic & James Krieger (2019) How many times per week should a muscle be trained to maximize muscle hypertrophy? A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies examining the effects of resistance training frequency, Journal of Sports Sciences, 37:11, 1286-1295, DOI:  10.1080/02640414.2018.1555906
  • If you enjoyed this resource you can find more below, or try Programme, a fitness app that plans every workout for you based on your progress, equipment and lifestyle. This resource was written by Sean Richard Klein. Sean has thousands of hours of coaching experience and a BSc in Sports Science with Management from Loughborough University. He owns a gym in Bayonne France, CrossFit Essor, which runs group classes and a Personal training studio.

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