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The Best Dumbbell Back Exercises

Enhance your body and skills.

These Dumbbell Back Exercises will help you to grow muscle, build strength and create a more injury resistant back in general.

Learn more from Jeff from Athlean-X.

Best Dumbbell Back Exercises

“The best dumbbell exercises for back are based on the criteria for what you are trying to specifically train for.  In this video, as I’ve done in this entire series, I’m showing you which exercises you should be doing to develop strength, power, hypertrophy, metabolic overload, total body, corrective and low back strength.  Each of the dumbbell exercises shown has been carefully chosen to be the best at helping the viewer to achieve each of these goals.”

Weighted Pull Up

“When it comes to strength, the best exercise for your back that you can do with dumbbells is the weighted pullup.  The pullup alone is one of the all time greatest back exercises.  Add some additional weight by either gripping a dumbbell between your feet or hanging it around your waist with a belt and you’ll be positioned to progressively overload your lats each time you perform the exercise.”

“Next, when trying to optimize power you need to choose a dumbbell back exercise that allows you to incorporate speed and explosiveness into the movement.  The dumbbell dead row is a perfect option for doing this.” 

man performs a pull-up Dumbbell Back ExercisesSource: Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Dumbbell Dead Row

“You begin the exercise by generating a huge amount of force through your feet into the ground and drive them up in one motion.  It is essentially a deadlift up to the level of the knee, at which point the elbows are driven behind the body with the strength and power of the lats.”

Dumbbell Pullover

“To create hypertrophy of the lats you want to switch the focus from one of blended muscle involvement to more isolation.  Here, the dumbbell pullover is the winner.” 

“By dropping the hips as shown, you’ll be able to increase the stretch on the lats and place an even greater eccentric stretch on the muscles (a known stimulus for muscle growth and size).  Add in the drop set to the forced eccentrics and you will be able to get even more out of the set when you thought you had already reached failure.”

Dumbbell Back Exercises – Chest Supported Row

“As a metabolic option, the goal for creating overload is to get to the point of muscle burn and find a way to sustain it.  This is a great opportunity for the lats but is often compromised by the fact that the lower back is the area that fatigues first, prior to the lats themselves, especially if you perform a standing row as your exercise choice.”

“You can avoid this by simply putting your body in the position of a chest supported row.  The low back is protected and the lats can take the continued fatigue that comes from taking this set to and through the burn.”

Dumbbell Back Exercises – The W Raise

“The corrective exercise of choice is the W raise.  This not only hits all of the muscles of the back and mid-scapular area but most importantly, the rotator cuff.  People forget just how important the rotator cuff muscles are to the overall development of the back.  By performing this exercise that requires external rotation of the shoulders to get in the right position, you will be sure not to be overlooking this anymore.

“Total body and lower back options are also covered in this video for the best dumbbell exercises for back.  The key is that there are no limitations to the gains you can make from your back workouts just because you are training with or limited to just dumbbells.  If you have the right exercises for back in mind, you’ll be able to get great gains regardless.”

Dumbbell Back Exercises – Video

Learn More

Add Nordic Curls and Reverse Hyperextensions into your training.

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