The ultimate dumbbells workout for a big back

A statue of a shirtless man seen from behind.

It’s a common mistake to put more effort towards the mirror muscles than the backside. The front will grow faster than the back and as result, the risk of shoulder and back injuries will increase. The ultimate dumbbells workout for a big back is an efficient yet simple workout that will help your back grow and reduce the risk of injuries.

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The anatomy of the back

The back consists of many different muscles. Some are visible while others are hidden. The dumbbells workout for a big back focuses on the big superficial muscles in the upper back, latissimus dorsi, trapezius, and rhomboids.

Latissimus dorsi, also called wings or lats, is the biggest of the three. It’s placed from the armpits to the back of the ribs and is responsible for the v-taper look.

Trapezius also called traps, is placed between your neck and shoulder, extending all the way down to the lower back. A set of well-developed traps can help prevent shoulder and neck injuries.

Rhomboids are the smallest of the three. It’s placed under the traps and plays an important role in pulling your shoulder blades back and together which is crucial when working the chest.

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Back exercises with dumbbells

The exercises for the ultimate dumbbells workout for a big back are purposely chosen for both strength and hypertrophy.

Bent over dumbbell row

The bent over dumbbell row primarily works your lats, traps, and rhomboids. It’s an exercise that allows you to lift heavy. This makes it a great exercise for both strength and hypertrophy, and almost impossible not to include in our dumbbells workout for a big back.

How to do the bent over dumbbell row

  • Stand with your feet hip width apart with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing your body.
  • Hinge your hips backwards with a slight bend in your knees. Your upper body should be at a 30-45 degree angle.
  • Squeeze your lats to lift the dumbbell towards your hips, until your upper arms are parallel with your upper body and your arms creating a 90 degree angle at your elbows.
  • Slowly move the weights back to the starting position.
Tips

Keep your shoulders down and make sure to engage your core during the whole lift.

Squeezing for a second at the top makes it easier for most to feel the bent over dumbbell row where it should be felt, in the upper back and not in the biceps.

Dumbbell pullover

The dumbbell pullover is one of the classic bodybuilding exercises. It works both chest and lats making it possible to perform it on both days but is often preferred on back days.

Not only does the dumbbell pullover work your back and chest but also improves stability and shoulder mobility.

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How to do the dumbbell pullover

  • Lay down on a bench (as you would during bench press), with a dumbbell on your chest.
  • Hold the dumbbell at one end with both hands around the end. Lift the dumbbell straight over your chest with a slight bend in your elbows.
  • Lower the dumbbell slowly until you feel a stretch in your lats without straightening your arms. Don’t let your lower body or hips move.
  • Pull the dumbbell back up and return to the starting position.
Tips

There’s a big difference in the range of motion people can do doing the dumbbell pullover. Reach as far back as you comfortably can, feeling the stretch in your lats, pecs, and triceps.

One arm dumbbell row

The one-arm dumbbell row works the entire upper back but primarily your lats. It’s a unilateral exercise meaning that it will even out strength and size differences in your back if done correctly.

How to do the one arm dumbbell row

  • Place a dumbbell next to a bench. Place your non-rowing hand and the same side knee on the bench. Tighten your core to make sure your back is flat.
  • Grab the dumbbell and reset.
  • Pull the dumbbell up by lifting with your elbow while squeezing your shoulder blades together. The dumbbell should almost be touching your hip.
  • Squeeze for at the top before slowly lowering the weight again. Don’t lose tension.
Tips

Your shoulder should remain relaxed during the whole movement. If you feel it in your lats, you’re doing it correctly.

Dumbbell shrugs

The dumbbell shrug primarily works the traps and rhomboids, both located on your upper back. Besides having aesthetic benefits, it can improve your posture and take some strain off your neck.

How to do the dumbbell shrugs

  • Stand with your back straight and core engaged with a dumbbell in each hand. Palms should be facing each other.
  • Contract your traps to slowly bring the dumbbells up and slightly back.
  • Squeeze at the top and hold for second.
  • Slowly bring the weights down to the starting position.
Tips

A mistake often seen when doing dumbbell shrugs is going too heavy. Using too heavy weights will make you rely more on the momentum which will shorten your range of motion and drastically increase your risk of injuries.

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The ultimate dumbbells workout for a big back

The ultimate dumbbells workout for a big back is an easy way to workout the back with dumbbells. Let’s have a look at the program.

Stick with weights you can control and remember, technique over weight.

How to workout the back with dumbbells
The ultimate dumbbells workout for a big back

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Conclusion

Strengthening the back is important, not only for aesthetics but also for preventing neck, shoulder, and back injuries.