Build Strong Back Muscles With Just Two Dumbbells

Dumbbell Exercises For Back

Your back is made up of a network of complex muscle groups that provide support to your head and spine. So, it’s essential that you keep your back strong.

Lots of people ask me – “How can I workout my back without all the equipment at the gym?” I always tell them, they don’t need a gym membership or a lot of special equipment to sculpt an amazing back!

In this article, I’m sharing with you my favorite dumbbell back exercises, which will help you shape, sculpt, and build a stronger back!

You just need a pair of dumbbells and may be an exercise bench. To chisel a shapely, strong back, I recommend that you include following dumbbell exercises in your back workout plan. Here we go!

# 1

Dumbbell Dead Lift For Lower BackDumbbell Deadlift For Back

Dumbbell dead lift involves compound movements that recruit your back muscle as well as most of the major muscle groups. So, it’s one of the most effective dumbbell back exercises that you can do at the start of your dumbbell back workout routine.


(i) Stand erect with your feet hip-width apart and a pair of dumbbells (one in each hand) with an overhand grip, holding them at arm’s length in front of your thighs.

(ii) While keeping your back straight, shoulders back, and head high, bend your knees a little.

(iii) Now without changing the bend in your knees, bend at your hips and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor.

(iv) After a short pause, return to starting position.

This exercise is a must if you want to get stronger and bigger. Let’s take a look at the repetitions and set structure:

Number of Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

Tip: If you’re able to, try and increase the weight by 10% to 20% with each progressive set. Also, rest 40 seconds in between each set.

# 2

One Arm Dumbbell Rows For Middle Backsingle arm dumbbell row

This is a great exercise to strengthen and thicken up your mid back area. This will be your main mass builder for the back. For this reason, you may use heavier weight for the its set.

(i) Choose a flat bench and place a dumbbell on each side of it.

(ii) Bend at the hips and place one knee on top of the end of the bench. Bend your torso forward from the waist until your upper body is parallel to the floor, and place the same-side hand on the bench for support.

(iii) While keeping your other foot on the floor beside the bench, hold a dumbbell in your free hand, letting it hang straight toward the floor with your elbow loose and the palm of your hand facing your torso. Make sure to keep your lower back straight. This will be your starting position.

(iv) Pull the weight straight up toward the side of your chest, while keeping your upper arm close to your side and keeping the torso stationary.

Note: Concentrate on squeezing the back muscles when you reach the full contracted position. Make sure that the force is performed with the back muscles and not the arms. Also, the upper torso should remain stationary and only the arms should move. The forearms should do no other work except for holding the dumbbell; therefore do not try to pull the dumbbell up using the forearms.

(v) Lower the dumbbell under control along the same path. Repeat the movement and complete your reps for one side, then switch sides and do the same amount of reps with the other arm — that’s one set.


(i) Don’t turn the exercise into more of a curl as you raise the weight. The weight should stay oriented toward the floor — think of your arm as merely a hook to connect the weight to your lats and mid-back muscles.

(ii) Allow your shoulder to shift back on the ascent and down on the descent. This action means your back is contracting and extending. If this isn’t occurring, the biceps is taking on the brunt of the load.

Variation: The row is usually performed as described above, with one hand and one leg on a bench. It can also be done without using a bench by keeping both legs on the floor and bending over from the waist.

Number of Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

Tip: Try to increase the weight with each progressive set. By the third set, you should be using a weight that really challenges your body. Try resting about 40 seconds in between each set.

# 3

Dumbbell Pull Over For Upper Backdumbbell pullover for back

If done correctly, the dumbbell pullover mainly engages your upper back muscles. Though, this exercise also works just about almost all the muscles of the upper body to some degree. The largest muscle in the back is scientifically known as the “lats”. The lats are used any time you pull something. For example, when you open a fridge or a car door, you primarily use your lat muscles.


(i) Place an appropriated dumbbell weight standing up on a flat bench.

(ii) Lie perpendicular to the bench (torso across it as in forming a cross), positioning your upper back (shoulder blades) on the bench. Hips should be below the bench and legs bent with feet firmly on the floor. The head will be off the bench as well.

(iii) Reach over, grasp and hold the dumbbell with both hands straight over your chest at arms length. Both palms should be pressing against the underside of one of the sides of the dumbbell. This will be your starting position.

Caution: Always ensure that the dumbbell used for this exercise is secure. Using a dumbbell with loose plates can result in the dumbbell falling apart and falling on your face.

(iv) While keeping your arms straight, lower the dumbbell slowly straight back until arms are parallel to the floor (some trainers recommend to lower the dumbbell slowly in an arc behind your head).

(v) Return to the starting point using the same path through which the weight was lowered. Hold the weight on the initial position for a second and repeat the motion for the desired number of repetitions.

Note: Your elbows can be slightly bent, but they must remain locked into position during the pullover. The goal is to try to minimize activity of the triceps. Be sure to keep your chest high at all times.


(i) I have seen many people rushing through the movement and don’t focus on getting a proper stretch. Lower the dumbbell up to a point until you feel the stretch.

(ii) Also, make sure to keep your hips and head down, which ensures you’re not just swinging the weight. Try using a nice, slow movement and really stress your lats. With your hips down, you’ll really feel your lats working and you will get better results.

Number of Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

In terms of weight, try keeping the weight constant throughout the entire set – Unless the weight becomes too light.

Try taking a 40 second rest in between each set.

# 4

Dumbbell Wide Row For Upper And Middle Backdumbbell wide row for back

The dumbbell wide row exercise recruits the upper and middle back and also the lats, which are the muscles located at the sides of the back. Working on these muscles improve the symmetry of your upper body and also help you stand up tall and straight and maintain proper posture.


(i) Stand holding a pair of dumbbells in front of your thighs with a palms-down grip.

(ii) With your chest up, back flat and knees slightly bent, bend forward at the waist until your torso is roughly parallel to the floor and the weights hang straight down in front of your shins. Keep your head in a neutral position and your eyes fixed on the floor in front of you.

(iii) Pull the dumbbells toward your chest, keeping your arms a little wider than shoulder width apart. As you pull toward your chest, bring your elbows out and up in a wide arc.

(iv) At the top of the lift, squeeze your back hard for 1-2 seconds before lowering the weights along the same path and returning to the initial position.

(v) Repeat the movement for the desired number of reps to complete one set.

Note: Keep your knees slightly bent, open the chest, maintain your neck in line with your spine and keep your back flat. Pull the dumbbells toward your chest and squeeze your back at the top of the lift. Maintain your core tight, to give back support.


(i) Use a smooth movement. Don’t dip your legs or use momentum to pull because this will incorporate other muscles and/or risk injury.

(ii) Focus on a point on the floor in front of you, rather than looking into the mirror. This enables further involvement of your back muscles and helps avoid injury.

(iii) Keep your torso stable by contracting your abs and sticking out your chest.

(iv) Don’t go too heavy too quickly. Proper form and range of motion are important for mimicking the muscle-building effects of the barbell row.

Number of Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

In terms of weight, try keeping the weight constant throughout the entire set – Unless the weight becomes too light.

Try taking a 40 second rest in between each set.

# 5

Dumbbell Back Fly For BackDumbbell Reverse Fly For Back

This exercise is also known as dumbbell reverse fly.


(i) Grasp a pair of dumbbells and bend forward at your hips until your torso is roughly parallel to the floor.

(ii) Set your feet shoulder-width apart. Let the dumbbells hang straight down from your shoulders, your palms facing each other, with your arms slightly bent.

(iii) Keeping your back flat and your torso still, raise your arms straight out to your sides until they’re in line with your body (until the arms are parallel to the ground).

(iv) Don’t change the bend in your elbows. Pause, and then slowly return to the starting position.

Number of Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

In terms of weight, try keeping the weight constant throughout the entire set – Unless the weight becomes too light.

Try taking a 40 second rest in between each set.

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The above is my 8th post on “Home Gym With Only two Equipment”. I have started writing this series on dumbbells workout because they’re fairly inexpensive, compact, allow you to tone every part of your body and easy to use even at home.

Click here to read my first seven posts already published in this series:

(i)  Home Gym Dumbbells Workout.

(ii) Working Out Biceps With Dumbbells At Home

(iii) Best Tricep Workout At Home With Dumbbells

(iv) Top Chest Exercises With Dumbbells

(v) Ultimate Lower Back Dumbbell Exercises

(vi) Top Shoulder Exercises With Dumbbells

(vii) Top Dumbbell Exercises For Legs


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