penny barnshaw garage fitness girl

7 Dumbbell Exercises for a Beautiful Back


When we look at our bodies in the mirror it’s not surprising that we often forget about one of the most important parts for women to train: our backs! 

Developing a strong, toned back is so important, not only for good posture and injury prevention – which is reason enough! – but also for aesthetic benefits. You will notice that your whole body shape looks better, you’ll lose that bra overhang, and you’ll feel much stronger and more confident in general when you’ve strengthened those important muscles in your back. 

Ready to target those back muscles? Good! Get started with these back exercises for women below.

#1 Dumbbell Renegade Row 

This exercise targets traps and lats, with the added benefit of working your abs and oblique muscles. The renegade row challenges your midline stability (that is, your ability to brace), making this a great exercise to not only build a beautiful back but a strong core as well. Improving your core strength will help reduce your chance of injury during  moves like the deadlift and squat. Remember to keep your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your shoulders square to the ground during the movement.

#2 Dumbbell Bent-Over Row & Switch

This is a great 2 for 1 exercise that will sculpt your upper, mid and lower back muscles while also working your cardio fitness. Common mistakes to avoid during this movement are: rounding the upper back and shoulders; moving your legs and hips; and lifting too heavy too soon. Your body should be bent at a 45 degree angle, legs should stay still, and remember to only increase weights as the lower back gets stronger.

#3 Dumbbell Bent-Over Front Raise to Pull Back 

This is another exercise that targets lats and the upper, mid and lower back. It’s a fantastic way to target lats at home when you don’t have access to a lat pulldown machine or pull up bar. Bigger lat muscles not only make your back look strong they can also give the appearance of a cinched waist. 

#4 Dumbbell Fly to Tricep Kickback 

This exercise really gives you great bang for your buck. The reverse dumbbell fly works the rear shoulder, upper and mid back muscles while the addition of the tricep kickback works the triceps to help sculpt sexy arms. Just like all the bent over exercises, be mindful not to round the upper back and shoulder and avoid going too heavy. Stick with lighter loads and higher reps for best results. 

#5 Dumbbell Pullover to Leg Extension 

One of my favourite exercise for targeting lats and core at the same time! Pullovers are another awesome at home option if you don’t have access to those machines that specifically target lats. Avoid using an overly straight arm – there should be some bend in the elbow, and make sure to brace your core as you lower the dumbbell and your legs to the ground. Again, don’t go too heavy to soon – build endurance with lighter loads before advancing in weight.

#6 Dumbbell Side Plank Row 

This is an amazing exercise that targets all the major muscles of the back while also firing up the abs, obliques and rear shoulder. Side plank rows enhance core stability, balance, coordination and your pulling strength making this a great exercise to help improve your pullups as well as reduce injury during big compound lifts like deadlifts.

#7 Superman Extensions 

Strengthen the muscles of the lower back, rear shoulders and glutes. Great for building endurance which will help improve posture and reduce back pain. This move is best done for high reps, but it can be made more challenging by adding some light dumbbells to increase overall strength and hypertrophy.

If you enjoy these moves, why not join me on YouTube where I upload new follow-along workouts every week! Make sure you subscribe and tick the notification bell, so you never miss a new workout. You can also sign up for workout calendars that I send out for free every month, and I’d love for you to follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Have a great week!

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