Dumbbell Lower Back Exercises

Dumbbell lower back exercises are a great workout to try if you want to strengthen your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. Not only that, but this exercise also helps enhance your poor posture and avoid potential injuries. 

One of the most essential body parts we should train and strengthen is the lower back, which joins to the upper body and connects to our hips, glutes, neck, and upper back muscles.

The lower back consists of four main muscle groups: The erector spinae muscles, which run next to the spinal column from the lower back to the neck. The rhomboids, which can be found down the back and attached to the inside of the shoulder blades. The trapezius, which includes the lower, middle, and upper traps. And lastly, the latissimus dorsi, which is the broadest muscle in the human body.

These back muscles play an important role in our shoulder posture, health, and performance. So, understanding these muscle groups will help you make them stronger. 

We gathered some of the best and most effective dumbbell workouts for your lower back, which you can do either at the gym or in the comfort of your home.

Without further ado, here is a list of dumbbell exercises for your lower back: 

Best Dumbbell Shoulder Exercises

1. Stiff-Legged Dumbbell Deadlift for Upper Body

The dumbbell stiff-legged deadlift is a simple workout that will strengthen your lower back, hamstrings, and glutes. However, this exercise is not recommended for those who suffer from lower back pain.

To do this exercise, keep your eyes looking upward and your shoulders back at all times. Otherwise, your back will round. Your weights should also stay close to your legs throughout the entire movement. Your lower back will feel more strain the further your dumbbells are from your legs.

How to do it:

Grab a pair of dumbbells. Stand by holding them in each hand in front of your thighs at arm’s length.  For your starting position, your palms should point toward you with your knees slightly bent, and with your feet shoulder-width apart. 

Lower the dumbbells over the tops of your feet by bending at the waist. Keep your knees immobile and your back as straight as possible.

Keep lowering the dumbbells until you feel your hamstrings stretch. While squeezing and engaging through the hamstrings and glutes, start extending the dumbbells straight back up to your starting position.

Aim to repeat for your desired number of repetitions.

2. Dumbbell Front Squats

Dumbbell front squats is an exercise that not only strengthens your lower back but as well as your hamstrings, glutes, and quads. This workout also enhances your stability and balance throughout your core and both sides of your body.

How to do it:

Stand with feet slightly broader than hip-width apart and your toes pointed out 10 to 30 degree angle. Grab a pair of light dumbbells down by your sides. Clean the weights up to your shoulders, so that side the end of each dumbbell will rest on top of each shoulder. 

For your starting position, hover the dumbbells on your shoulder by holding on to the dumbbells with your elbows extending outward or facing forward. 

Squat down by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Maintain your head facing forward, your back straight, your chest straight, and your upper arms in line to the floor.

Let your knees slightly lean forward, but not past your toes, and keep them pointed in the same direction as your feet. Lower until your thighs are parallel or past parallel to the floor.

Pause at the base, then drive your heels into the floor to go back to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

3. Dumbbell Good Morning

One of the basics but most essential movements for the lower back is the Good Morning exercise. This workout can be done at any time of the day, but the most effective would be in the morning. This exercise is also usually done with the barbell or a smith machine, but you can also use dumbbells.

How to do it:

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and pointing straight forth while carrying one dumbbell in each hand. Pull your navel in toward your spine, then tighten your abdomen to stabilize your spine.

Bend your arms and pull the weights up to your shoulders. The dumbbells should be held at your shoulder levels with your palms facing you.

As you hinge your hips forward, keep your legs straight and your back flat. Slowly lower your torso straight to the floor, while maintaining the weights glued to your shoulders. Pause for one count.

Slowly return to the starting position without terminating your abdomen. Take a brief pause and repeat for your desired number of reps.

4. Superman Exercise

The Superman is an exercise that targets your erector spinae, which is a group of muscles that extend from the base of the skull to the sacrum. As a result, it will make your back stronger.

Back pain is common with aging. This is because structures in the back deviate, making desk jobs, the effects of gravity, and a passive lifestyle can worsen them. 

However, the lower back is also often overlooked even in an active lifestyle. The Superman exercise builds stability and support for your spine, helping you lessen back pain.

How to do it:

Lie down on your stomach. Hold a pair of light dumbbells and keep your head in a neutral position. Bring your legs together and extend your arms overhead, so your biceps are alongside your ears. 

Lift your legs and torso off the ground by using your back muscles and your glutes. Maintain your legs straight, and reach your fingertips away from you.

For five counts, hold at the top of the exercise. Keep your lower back down to the ground with control. Repeat for 10 reps. 

5. Dumbbell Bird Dog Exercise

The Bird Dog is one of the most recommended dumbbell exercises by Stuart McGill, giving your lower back strengthening purposes. 

If you have lower back pain, the bodyweight variation is more effective. However, if your back is not injured and you want to strengthen your muscles, we suggest you do the weighted bird dog.

How to do it:

Get on your all fours with your back as flat as possible. Place a dumbbell on your exercise mat. Keep your core tight. Clasp a dumbbell with an overhand grip with your right hand, with your palms facing down.

Simultaneously raise your right arm in front of you and your left leg behind you until they are both in line to the ground. Hold for five to ten seconds, then slowly lower them back to the starting position.

To complete one rep, do the same movement with the other side. Repeat as needed on your fitness level. For extra support, do this exercise on the bench and grab the side with your hand.

6. Dumbbell Hyperextension

The dumbbell hyperextension is a must-do workout that increases your lower body muscle’s strength, especially the lower back and hips. This exercise can also be done without using weights. If you want to utilize dumbbells, we recommend you opt for lighter ones.

Using a hyperextension machine can also be more effective. However, if you don’t own one or don’t go to a gym, the hyperextension exercise can also be done on a flat bench using a dumbbell.

How to do it:

On a flat bench, start with lying prone with your face downwards. Keep your lower ab on one corner of the bench, while your both feet on the other corner.

Lock your feet behind or ask someone to hold your feet on the bench. For your starting position, hold a dumbbell with your hands under your chest.

Draw your thighs, hips, and glutes and lift your upper body along with a dumbbell until your lower back stretches. Hold for a couple of seconds. Then, gradually descend your upper body down until your face is closest to the floor. That’s one rep. 

Repeat with your desired number of repetitions.

7. Dumbbell Aquaman

Similar to the Superman Exercise, Aquaman is an easy workout to execute. However, this doesn’t require lifting both legs and arms simultaneously. This exercise is useful if you desire to lessen back pain and strengthen your lower back muscles. If you want better results and benefits, you can do this with the help of dumbbells.

How to do it:

Begin by laying down with your face facing downwards. Your legs should be stretched behind you and your arms extended in front of you. 

For the starting position, hold a pair of light dumbbells and keep your head in a neutral position.

Lift your right arm and left leg simultaneously. Raise them both as high as you possibly can as if you are swimming. Hold for a couple of seconds, then gradually lower back to the starting position. 

Repeat with the other arm and leg. While in the swimming position, you should also feel a stretch in your lower back.

8. Dumbbell Glute Bridge

Another effective exercise you can do to strengthen your lower back is the glute bridge. To lessen your lower back pain and strengthen the lumbar muscles, you can also perform glute strengthening exercises with lumbar segmental stabilization exercises. This workout has been proven effective by a study by the “Journal of Physical Therapy Science.”

How to do it:

Lie down with your knees bent and feet firmly on the ground. Grab the sides of a dumbbell and place it on your hips while keeping your abdominal muscles tight.

Raise your hips off the floor until your knees are parallel to your chest, or until you feel the contraction in your lower back muscles. 

Hold in the same position for five to ten seconds, then gradually lower your hips back on the ground. 

Repeat for 10 to 15 times or as many reps as you prefer. 

Strengthen Your Lower Back with Dumbbell Exercises!

If you want to lose weight and strengthen your lower back muscles, one way to achieve this is by doing dumbbell workouts. Our shoulders are one of the most important body parts that need training, since this connects to our hips, glutes, neck, and upper back muscles.

It’s also important to understand the different muscle groups of our shoulders to understand their functions. These lower back workouts help us have a better posture and prevent injury, and can be done in the gym or in the comfort of your home. 

If you liked this article, you might want to read our other articles at ExpertFitness.org.

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Nathan Lloyd, MSc

I’m a personal trainer, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I service clients physically in the Boulder area, mainly in the ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, but am also available for online consulting and coaching.

If you’re interested in my personal coaching programs, please contact me via the contact page.