Weight Training With Dumbbells & Exercises for the Back

Weight Training With Dumbbells & Exercises for the Back

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Dumbbell exercises can help expand your possiblities at the gym.

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Using dumbbells to train the muscles in your back offers advantages that weight training machines do not. Dumbbell exercises don't restrict your range of motion as machines do. Dumbbell workouts also exercise smaller stabilizer muscles that weightlifting machines miss. Keep in mind that It's more difficult as a beginner to learn proper technique with dumbbells, so use very light weight until your form is good. This will help maximize the effectiveness of your workout.


Deadlifts are an effective compound exercise that works your lower back, along with your legs, arms and deltoids. The key for this exercise is to keep your head aligned with your spine and keep the dumbbells close to your body throughout the movement. The deadlift movement is somewhat similar to a squat. Bend over at the waist and knees. Lift the dumbbells off the floor and straighten your hips and knees in unison until you're standing straight up with the dumbbells at your sides. Do the same in reverse on the way down.

Bent-Over Rows

There are several variations of bent-over rows. The single arm bent-over row requires the use of a sturdy bench. Hold a dumbbell with one hand. Place the opposite knee and your free arm on the bench for balance. Keep your back parallel with the floor. Lift the dumbbell up toward the ceiling, bending only your elbow, and keep the dumbbell close to your side throughout the motion. You can also work the muscles of your entire upper back using two dumbbells. Bend at the waist, grab the dumbbells in both hands, and pull the weights in toward the sides of your chest.

Incline Reverse Lateral Raise

This exercise works your upper back muscles. Lie on a 45-degree incline bench and grip a dumbbell in each hand. Begin by extending your arms down toward the floor. With your arms still extended, simultaneously lift both weights up and out toward your sides and as high as you can. At the top of the motion, your arms should be fully extended out to your sides and parallel to the floor. Squeeze your upper back muscles together at the top of the movement to increase the effectiveness of the workout. Reverse the motion and return to the start position. The motion is sort of like a bird flapping its wings but in a slow and controlled manner.

Final Notes

Progressively increase the weight of the dumbbells as your strength increases in the coming months. Never exercise your back muscles two days in a row. Your muscles need rest for muscle growth and recovery after each workout. Vary the exercises you use in each workout every three to four weeks to prevent your muscles from adapting to the same routine. Adding an extra set to each exercise, or varying the order in which you do your back exercises, can also help prevent fitness plateaus.