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The lower back is an area often neglected in many people’s workout routines. 

While the traps and lats get plenty of attention, few people have lower back exercises with dumbbells written into their regimen. 

There are many reasons why it’s important that you have a stable lower back. To start, it supports strong, developed abdominals, which is a goal common among many.

Regularly performing a lower back workout with dumbbells also helps with preventing injury, improving posture, and allowing you to perform everyday movements with ease.

I’ve been a personal trainer for many years. I’ve met so many clients who feel they have a weak core. They’re often surprised to learn their lower backs needed strengthening just as much as their abdominals. 

That’s why I create and assign lower back workouts with dumbbells. It’s one of the secrets to feeling stronger and more able-bodied than ever before!

Keep reading to learn just why it is so important that you regularly train your lower back. From there, I’ll share exactly what the best lower back dumbbell exercises are!

What is the lower back?

lower back workouts

The lower back is the region above your glutes and below your lats. It supports the upper body and stabilizes you during both everyday activities and exercises in the gym.

The lower back is a crucial part of the body. When it’s injured, movement can become impaired and make even the simplest of tasks painful.

Lower back pain is incredibly common and can even be disabling. Work on safely strengthening the lower back today, and enjoy more years of mobility.

Anatomy of the Lower Back

Related: 10 Tips For Building A Well-Defined Back

Your lumbar vertebrae sit in the lower back region. The muscles surrounding and protecting this area are your erector spinae muscles.

The three erector spinae muscles are the spinalis, longissimus, and iliocostalis muscles, which are anchored at the spine and pelvis.

Main Benefits of Exercising the Lower Back

1. Prevents Injury

The lower back is a fragile area, so having strong, supportive muscles is important. 

Both your lower back and entire body are at less risk of injury if your back is able to solidly stabilize you no matter what you’re doing, especially if you’re carrying heavy loads.

2. Improves Posture

Because the erector spinae muscles are attached to the spine and pelvis, they can play a big role in posture. Good posture is associated with everything from a better mood to proper deep breathing, which is essential when exercising.

A strong lower back ensures that good posture can be maintained whether you are simply standing or performing a movement. 

3. Supports Weightlifting

If you desire to build muscle, you need to engage in progressive overload. Many people choose to increase how much weight they lift to make this happen.

The lower back is somewhat relied on in almost every exercise except for some in which you are seated or lying down. 

Because of this, having a strong lower back is essential for allowing you to lift and maneuver heavy loads while weightlifting.

Deadlifts and squats are a few of the most beneficial exercises that require a strong back for safety and capability.

Drawbacks of Weak Lower Back

A weak lower back can lead to many issues, including poor posture, increased risk of injuries, less mobility, and lack of strength in the core.

It’s vital that your spine and pelvis are adequately supported for you to be able to go through everyday movements without pain.

What are the benefits of doing lower back exercises with dumbbells?

Related: Dumbbell Back Exercises

lower back exercises with dumbbells

Training Variables Variety

Grip Positioning

Dumbbells are an amazing asset to lower back exercises because of the freedom you are given with various grip positions

Being able to rotate your wrist nearly 360 degrees allows for you to target various other muscles as you wish.

Body Positioning

Since the lower back muscles are a bit more difficult to target, being able to adjust to whatever body position you need is extremely helpful.

For example, some exercises like the Superman require you to lie on your stomach. Good Mornings have you standing upright. With both exercises, your lower back is being strengthened with the help of the resistance provided by dumbbells.

Freedom of Motion

While there are many benefits to using exercise machines, they don’t provide the freedom of motion that dumbbells do. 

No matter which way your body needs to turn and whether or not you will be stationary, you can use dumbbells in the exercise.

Strength Imbalances

Maintaining perfect muscular symmetry is quite difficult. This applies to the lower back as well, since the muscles sit on either side of the spine. 

If necessary, you have the capability to do more reps with a dumbbell on one side than the other to even out imbalances. You can also lift heavier on one side than the other.

Top 10 Lower Back Dumbbell Exercises 

Related: Dumbbell Lat Exercises

1. Aquamans

If you combine Supermans and flutter kicks, you get the Aquaman exercise! Challenge your entire body with this exercise; it works great in supersets!

Equipment Requirements

Two dumbbells

How-To Perform Aquamans

  1. Lay on your stomach on the ground with your arms extended above your head. 
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. 
  3. Lift your chest as high off the floor as you can, and start alternating bringing your opposite arm and leg off the ground. 
  4. Perform this movement for reps before releasing your chest back onto the ground.

Benefits

  • Strengthens the lower back
  • Work the arms and legs

Pro Tips

  • Keep your gaze on the floor to avoid hurting your neck. 
  • If you cannot hold your chest up for the entirety of the set, try relaxing every few reps before lifting your chest back up.

2. Bird Dogs

The bird dog is a great movement for mobility and can also help with strengthening the back and improving balance. 

Try doing this exercise at the beginning of your workout or as part of a warm-up.

Equipment Requirements

Two dumbbells

How-To Perform Bird Dogs

  1. Get on your hands and knees with a flat back. 
  2. Grip a dumbbell in each hand and be sure to keep your arms straight. 
  3. Tense up your abdominals as you slowly raise your right arm and left leg up. They should be fully extended. 
  4. Bring them back down, and raise the opposing limbs.

Benefits

  • Stabilizes the lower back
  • Improves balance

Pro Tips

  • Try to use dumbbells with flat edges so they are easier to put your weight on.
  • If you do not yet have enough balance to fully extend your arms and legs, you can start with doing it halfway and build up over time.

3. Glute Bridges

While this exercise is primarily recognized for building the glutes, as the name suggests, it also challenges the lower back due to the load being on your hips. 

Whether you want to do this one on a lower body day or back day, be sure to do it once a week!

Equipment Requirements

One dumbbell

How-To Perform Glute Bridges

  1. Lay on your back with your feet planted on the floor. 
  2. Hold a heavy dumbbell on your hips. 
  3. Push through your heels and lift your hips up toward the ceiling. 
  4. Pause when your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulder blades. 
  5. Bring your hips back down to the ground before repeating.

Benefits

  • Works the lower back
  • Strengthens the glutes

Pro Tips

  • If you want to make this exercise more challenging, you can keep one foot off the ground for the whole movement.
  • Keep your chin tucked into your chest to protect the neck.

4. Good Mornings

This exercise is great for working your hamstrings and also strengthens the lower back as you have to utilize it when you hinge your body back up. 

Try this exercise on your next lower body or pull day!

Equipment Requirements

One dumbbell

How-To Perform Good Mornings

  • Start in a standing position while holding a dumbbell on your upper back with both hands. 
  • Keeping your legs straight, hinge at the hips, and slowly bring your chest toward the floor. 
  • Pause when your upper body is parallel to the ground, and then gradually come back up.

Benefits

  • Challenges the lower back
  • Strengthens the hamstrings

Pro Tips

  • Focus on keeping your back straight throughout this movement to prevent any rounding of the lower back.
  • While you do want to keep your legs straight, you can have a slight bend in the knees to protect them.

5. Hyperextensions

Hyperextensions are one of the most effective lower back workouts with dumbbells! They also challenge the hamstrings and glutes, so be sure to use them regularly.

Equipment Requirements

One dumbbell

How-To Perform Hyperextensions

  1. Position yourself on the hyperextension machine while holding a dumbbell against your chest. 
  2. Keeping your shoulders back and back straight, hinge at your hips on the pad, and let your upper body fall down until your body forms an upside-down V. 
  3. Bring yourself back up before repeating.

Benefits

  • Works the lower back
  • Challenges the hamstrings and glutes

Pro Tips

  • If this exercise is too difficult with a dumbbell, feel free to do bodyweight only to start out.
  • Try holding at the top of the movement for three seconds to increase the difficulty.

6. Renegade Rows

Want to work your upper and lower back simultaneously? Renegade rows are challenging but quite effective for exercising the whole body!

Equipment Requirements

Two dumbbells

How-To Perform Renegade Rows

  1. Get into a plank position with each hand gripping a dumbbell. 
  2. Keep your body straight as you bend one elbow and bring the dumbbell up next to your chest in a row motion. 
  3. Bring it back down to the ground and repeat on the other side.

Benefits

  • Stabilizes the lower back
  • Strengthens the upper back

Pro Tips

  • If you only have rounded dumbbells, do this exercise while on your hands and roll a dumbbell back and forth between them when you need to do the row motion.
  • If you cannot maintain a full plank, you can do this on your knees while keeping your body in a straight line from your knees to your head.

7. Romanian Deadlifts

Romanian deadlifts are one of the best compound exercises because they work multiple muscles simultaneously while encouraging strength in everyday functional movements.

Equipment Requirements

Two dumbbells

How-To Perform Romanian Deadlifts

  1. Start in a standing position with a dumbbell in each hand and your palms facing your legs. 
  2. Have a dumbbell in front of each leg and your feet hip distance apart. 
  3. Hinge at the hips and bend your knees to slowly bring the dumbbells down in line with your legs until they reach your shins. 
  4. Tense your abdominals and push through your heels to come back up to an upright position.

Benefits

  • Strengthens the lower back
  • Works the whole lower body

Pro Tips

  • Don’t let your back round during this exercise to prevent injury.
  • If you want to target your glutes more, you can widen your stance and point your toes out at a 45-degree angle while still effectively targeting your lower back.

8. Side Hip Raises

To have a truly strong core, your lower back muscles need to be solid. Side hip raises work both your obliques and lower back, so these are a great finisher for any workout!

Equipment Requirements

One dumbbell

How-To Perform Side Hip Raises

  1. Lay on your side with your feet stacked and forearm flat on the floor. 
  2. With your other hand, hold a dumbbell on top of your hip. 
  3. Brace your core and lift your hip off the floor. 
  4. Hold at the top for a moment before releasing your hip back to the ground.

Benefits

  • Strengthens the lower back
  • Builds the obliques

Pro Tips

  • You can perform this on stacked knees instead of feet to make it easier.
  • To make the exercise more difficult, hold the top position for five seconds before releasing.

9. Straight Leg Deadlifts

Straight leg deadlifts primarily work the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings and are an effective compound. Make them a priority on your lower body days to also get that lower back benefit!

Equipment Requirements

Two dumbbells

How-To Perform Straight Leg Deadlifts

  1. Start in a standing position with a dumbbell in each hand and your palms facing your legs. 
  2. Have a dumbbell in front of each leg and your feet hip distance apart. 
  3. Keep your legs straight as you hinge at the hips and slowly bring the dumbbells down in line with your legs until they reach your shins. 
  4. Tense your abdominals and push through your heels and glutes to come back up to an upright position.

Benefits

  • Works the lower back
  • Strengthens the glutes and hamstrings

Pro Tips

  • While you want to keep your legs straight, keep a slight bend in the knees to protect them.
  • When you are in the hinged position, focus on placing most of your weight in your heels to get the most bang for your buck with this exercise.

10. Supermans

The Superman is a classic exercise for strengthening the lower back as this is the primary muscle it targets. Try to do this one twice a week to see real results!

Equipment Requirements

Two dumbbells

How-To Perform Supermans

  1. Lay on your stomach with your arms extended above your head and a dumbbell in each hand. 
  2. Lift your arms and chest off the ground and hold for a moment. 
  3. Release your chest back to the ground before repeating.

Benefits

  • Challenges the lower back
  • Works the shoulders and arms

Pro Tips

  • Keep your gaze on the floor to protect your neck.
  • You can also lift your legs to make this exercise more challenging.

The Best Lower Back Workout Program 

Beginner 

Workout #1

EXERCISESETSREPSREST TIME
Romanian Deadlifts312-151 minute 30 seconds
Good Mornings312-1545 seconds
Hyperextensions215-2045 seconds
Supermans220-2545 seconds

Advanced 

Workout #1

EXERCISESETSREPSREST TIME
Romanian Deadlifts410-121 minute
Good Mornings312-1530 seconds
Side Hip Raises310-1230 seconds
Hyperextensions315-2030 seconds
Supermans320-2530 seconds

Workout #2

EXERCISESETSREPSREST TIME
Straight Leg Deadlifts410-121 minute
Renegade Rows38-1030 seconds
Glute Bridges312-1530 seconds
Bird Dogs312-1530 seconds
Aquamans315-2030 seconds

Tips for Training Your Lower Back Effectively

Related: Back and Bicep Workout

dumbbell lower back exercises tips

1. Follow a Workout Schedule

Results only come with consistency. If you want to truly see results from lower back exercises with dumbbells, it’s important that you have a plan in place.

Commit to whatever is realistic for you weekly. This shouldn’t be too difficult considering you only need to work your lower back one to two times a week to see improvements in strength.

Just be patient with the process and be sure to utilize progressive overload when things start to get easy so the muscles are continuously challenged!

2. Eat Plenty of Protein

To gain muscle mass, you need to provide the body with the fuel it needs. 

Protein is the primary macronutrient that contributes to muscular growth, and a general rule of thumb is to eat one gram of protein per pound you weigh.

Try using an app like MyFitnessPal to make tracking your food easy, and check out ways to boost your protein intake.

3. Have a Stretching Routine

Because the lower back is prone to injury, it is essential that you stretch this area of your body before and after performing lower back dumbbell exercises. 

Dedicate five minutes of your warm-up and cool-down routine to a series of stretches you chose yourself or to following along with a YouTube video.

4. Get Enough Sleep

To most efficiently gain muscle, aim to get at least seven hours of sleep every night. When you do lower back exercises with dumbbells, small tears form in the muscle.

It’s when you are sleeping that those tears repair and the muscles rebuild to become bigger and stronger.

Frequently asked Questions

How do you work your lower back with dumbbells?

Adding the resistance of dumbbells helps develop a muscular lower back and stronger core overall. Weighted hyperextensions and deadlifts are a few very practical exercises to try.

What are the five exercises for strengthening the lower back?

Related: Resistance Band Back Exercises

Five of the most effective exercises to include in your lower back workouts are Supermans, hyperextensions, Romanian deadlifts, straight-leg deadlifts, and Good Mornings.

How do I strengthen my back with dumbbells?

By committing to performing a series of effective dumbbell lower back exercises once to twice a week, you can efficiently improve your back. 

As time passes, be sure to utilize progressive overload to prevent your gains from plateauing.

What exercises strengthen your lower back?

Hyperextensions and exercises involving a weight being carried as you hinge your hips are a few of the most influential movements to perform during your lower back workouts.

Final Thoughts

I hope that you plan on trying my lower back workouts with dumbbells! 

If you’re consistent with your dumbbell lower back exercises, protein intake, and rest and recovery, you will start to see positive changes in your erector spinae muscles in no time.

Don’t neglect your lower back. It’s essential in allowing you to move through your everyday activities effortlessly and lift heavy in the gym. It’s one of the cornerstones of longevity.

Have a training buddy that wants a stronger core but doesn’t realize how the lower back figures in? Please be sure to share this article with anyone who you think would find it helpful, and comment your favorite lower back exercise below!