If you’ve ever said, “I just need a new back,“ lower-back dumbbell exercises may give you that proverbial new back you’ve needed for so long. Strengthening your lower back while using dumbbells is vital for core stability and minimizing the risk of injury. In today’s post, we will review the importance of including lower back dumbbell exercises in your workout while providing some tips to get you started.
- Lower back dumbbell exercise is vital for overall health.
- Using dumbbells for lower back exercises will help minimize the risk of back injuries.
- Focusing on lower back dumbbell exercises will help you strengthen your core, balance, and posture.
- A strong back will help you with everyday activities.
What’s the Importance of Including Lower Back Dumbbell Exercises in Your Workouts?
There are several reasons to regularly include lower back dumbbell exercises in your workouts. Training your lower back with dumbbells will help develop core stability. A strong core is vital for achieving and maintaining proper posture.
Additionally, strengthening your core will help prevent injuries and improve athletic performance overall. Next, lower back exercises will strengthen the lower back muscles over time. This practice reduces the risk of unnecessary strain and chronic pain in your lower back.
Finally, a strong lower back is crucial for achieving muscular balance and functional fitness! When your back is stable and robust, your entire body can work cohesively and efficiently as you go about your day.
How Often Should You Include Lower Back Exercises in Your Training Program?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, you should aim to do your lower back exercises 2-3 times each week. Using this cadence in your fitness program has several benefits.
Training your lower back 2-3 times per will provide consistency. This consistency encourages muscle memory and reinforces proper form and movement patterns. These things are essential for improving the strength and stability of your lower back.
Using this training schedule will also help with progressive overload. When you’re building strength and endurance, it’s important to progressively increase the intensity and volume of your lower back workouts. Consistency in training allows for a gradual progression which, in turn, minimizes the risk of injury while promoting overall improvement.
And, lastly, recovery. Every BODY needs a break. Yours included.
No matter how dedicated you are to your training routine, scheduling your workouts accordingly is essential. Training the lower back 2-3 times each will allow you to get adequate rest, preventing over-exertion while, once again, reducing the risk of injury.
Who Should Avoid Lower Back Exercises?
As with any training program, you should always consult your doctor before you get started. It’s essential to look at the big picture of your overall health before you start honing in on specific goals and exercises. Everyone’s body comes with particular strengths and limitations. Knowing yours is vital before investing in a program or equipment. There are several instances when a person must avoid or approach lower back exercises with extreme caution. Let’s go over what those are.
- Existing injuries. Contact your doctor or physical therapist if you have recent or persistent lower back injuries before attempting lower back exercises. Failure to do so could result in additional or prolonged damage.
- Chronic pain. If you have ongoing lower back pain, mention this to your doctor before focusing on lower back exercises. Determining the cause is vital to navigating a lower back workout that won’t exasperate the pain or cause additional problems.
- Pregnancy. Pregnancy exercises are incredible! They allow for a stronger, more empowered mom, but some limitations exist. You should check with your OB for direction on incorporating lower back exercises to keep yourself and your baby safe from harm!
- Post-surgery. If you’re recovering from back or abdominal surgery, follow your doctor’s recommendations for returning to exercise. Your doctor will clear you when it’s time to work out, but be sure to report any unusual or excessive pain to them right away once you begin working out again.
What to do if you have back pain
As with any training program, monitoring how your body feels throughout each exercise and in the following days is essential. While we always recommend checking in with your doctor when you experience pain, here are some other things you can do to help control acute back pain as you focus on building a more muscular lower back with dumbbell exercises.
Monitoring back pain
- Stop right away. If you have pain beyond what’s considered normal for lifting, stop the exercises to avoid further aggravation or bodily harm.
- Evaluate your pain. Ask yourself if the pain is acute or something chronic. Take note if it’s related to the exercise or a pre-existing problem. You’ll also want to document the location of your pain, intensity, and any additional symptoms. Consider mentioning the pain to your doctor if it doesn’t quickly resolve.
- Use RICE therapy. Try the RICE method (not the grain) if your pain is mild or moderate. It’s Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. This process will help alleviate any discomfort and reduce inflammation.
- Check your form. If your form is off, you’re more susceptible to injury.
Which Dumbbells are Suitable for Your Lower Back Workouts?
Choosing your dumbbell exercises wisely when building strength in your lower back is vital for several reasons. The right dumbbells will help you have a safer, more effective workout that ensures a reasonable rate of progression. Always listen to your body, first and foremost, when picking dumbbells appropriate for each exercise. It’s also important to know that different exercises require different weight ranges (light, medium, and heavy).
Use the following guidelines when choosing the best weights for your workout.
- Go light (at first). If you’re starting your dumbbell exercises with lower back workouts, you’ll need to get your form and technique in order before graduating to heavier weights. If you prioritize form first, you’ll avoid injuries that would have been preventable with right-sized weights. Starting light will also allow you to build confidence as you train your lower back.
- Be realistic. You should choose a weight that challenges you but is also manageable for the dumbbell back exercises and reps you plan to perform. You should be able to make it through the entire set with proper form while still feeling an average amount of resistance.
- Stay balanced. Use the same size weight on both sides of your body (where applicable) to promote muscular balance. Muscular imbalances can lead to injury and discomfort.
- Baby steps. As you gain strength, you’ll want to up your weight incrementally. It’s crucial to implement gradual and consistent increases in resistance. This progression will help you build strength and endurance effectively as you train your lower back. For example, instead of jumping from a set of 10lbs weights to 15lbs, try 10lbs to 12lbs instead. It may seem like a slight increase, but it makes a noticeable difference over many reps!
- Get a grip. Make sure you can maintain a grip on whatever dumbbells you choose. If the dumbbells are too heavy or oversized for your hands, they will be difficult to maintain throughout your workout. Securely gripping the dumbbells will help you maintain control and form throughout your exercise.
Lower Back Workout Options
Reverse Plank Exercise
Planks are considered a versatile exercise that targets the core; however, plans can also be a great back exercise when performed in a specific way. The reverse (posterior) plank is a variation focusing more on the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. You can do the reverse plank for 3-5 sets, resting between each set. As you strengthen and build endurance, increase how long you hold each plank. Maintaining proper form throughout the exercise is essential, engaging your core and staying aligned to protect your low back.
Here’s how to perform a Reverse Plank:
- Sit on the ground with your legs extended in front of you and your feet hip-width apart.
- Place your hands on the floor behind you, fingers pointing towards your feet and shoulder-width apart.
- Engage your core and firmly press your hands and heels into the ground, lifting your hips off the floor.
- Aim to create a straight line from your head to your heels, keeping your shoulders, hips, and feet aligned.
- Squeeze your glutes and engage your lower back muscles to maintain this position.
- Hold the Reverse Plank for 20-30 seconds or longer, depending on your strength and endurance.
- Lower your hips back to the ground in a controlled manner to complete the exercise.
Dumbbell Birddog Row
A dumbbell bird dog row is a compound exercise combining the bird dog movement with a single-arm row. This exercise targets your upper back and shoulders but strengthens your lower back, core, and glutes. This practice enhances stability and coordination. The dumbbell bird dog row helps improve overall strength, balance, and posture. And, because this exercise works unilaterally, the nature of this movement helps address any muscle imbalances.
Here’s how to perform a Dumbbell Bird Dog Row:
- Start by placing a dumbbell on the floor beside you.
- Get into a quadruped position on a mat or the floor, with your hands placed directly below your shoulders and your knees below your hips.
- Engage your core and maintain a neutral spine to provide a stable base.
- Pick up the dumbbell with your right hand while extending your left leg straight behind you. Keep your toes pointed towards the floor and your leg parallel to the ground.
- In this position, perform a single-arm row by pulling the dumbbell towards your chest, keeping your elbow close to your body. Ensure that your hips and shoulders remain square to the ground to avoid twisting your lower back.
- Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position while maintaining balance and keeping your extended leg off the ground.
- Complete the desired number of repetitions on one side before switching to the other side.
Romanian Deadlifts (often called RDL) target the lower back, hamstrings, and glutes. You should use proper form to engage the muscles in this area. This exercise focuses on the erector spinae muscles responsible for spinal extension and good posture. The added strength from this work will help improve stability and support the lower back.
Here’s how to perform a Romanian Deadlift:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells in front of your thighs with an overhand grip (palms facing you).
- Set your shoulders back and down, engage your core, and maintain a neutral spine.
- Begin the movement by pushing your hips back while slightly bending your knees. Keep the dumbbells close to your legs as you lower them toward the ground.
- Focus on hinging at the hips rather than bending your knees, and ensure your back remains straight throughout the movement. Lower the weights until you feel a comfortable stretch in your hamstrings, typically just below the knees or mid-shin level.
- Engage your glutes and hamstrings, and push your hips forward to return to the starting position. Squeeze your glutes at the movement’s top while maintaining a neutral spine.
- Perform the desired number of repetitions while maintaining proper form.
Single Leg Deadlift
Single-leg deadlifts are fun and challenging! As you work through this exercise, you’ll get to perfect your balance and stability while also targeting your lower back, hamstrings, and glutes. Single-leg deadlifts will help strengthen your lower back while tightening your core and addressing any muscular imbalances.
Here’s how to perform a Single-Leg Deadlift:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell or kettlebell in one hand.
- Shift your weight onto the leg that’s on the same side as the weight.
- Engage your core and maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement.
- Begin the exercise by hinging at your hips while lifting your non-weight-bearing leg straight behind you.
- Keep the weight close to your standing leg and maintain a slight bend in your knee. Lower the weight toward the ground, maintaining control and balance.
- Lower the weight until your torso and raised leg are parallel to the floor, forming a “T” shape with your body. Ensure your hips remain level and square to the ground.
- Engage your glutes and hamstrings to push your hips forward and return to the starting position, maintaining balance on the standing leg.
- Perform the desired number of repetitions on one side before switching to the other side.
Sumo deadlifts are a variation of traditional deadlifts. This version emphasizes the lower back, glutes, and inner thighs. When you complete this exercise with proper form, engaging the lower back muscles throughout the movement, you can focus on strengthening the lower back. This exercise’s wider stance activates your glutes and thighs and maximizes lower back engagement. It’s essential to keep your spine neutral and control your movements through this exercise.
Here’s how to perform a Sumo Deadlift:
- Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart, pointing your toes slightly outward. The exact stance width varies based on individual comfort and mobility.
- Bend your hips and knees to lower your body to grasp your dumbbells on the ground. Your grip should be narrower than your legs, with your hands positioned inside your knees.
- Set your shoulders back and down, engage your core, and maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement.
- Begin the movement by pushing through your heels and extending your hips and knees simultaneously, lifting the dumbbells off the ground. Keep the dumbbell close to your body as you lift.
- As you stand up straight, fully extend your hips and knees while keeping your back straight and chest lifted.
- Reverse the movement by lowering the dumbbell back to the ground, hinging at your hips, and bending your knees while maintaining a neutral spine.
- Perform the desired number of repetitions while maintaining proper form.
Bent Over Dumbbell Row
The bent-over dumbbell row is a compound exercise targeting the upper back and shoulders. However, it’s also excellent for your lower back when it comes to stabilization. After this exercise has been in your workout plan for some time, you’ll notice improved stability and support for your lower back. Keep your spine neutral, and always practice proper form and core engagement as you row.
Here’s how to perform a Bent Over Dumbbell Row:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip (palms facing your thighs).
- Bend your knees slightly and hinge at the hips, maintaining a neutral spine and keeping your chest up. Your upper body should be almost parallel to the floor.
- Engage your core and let the dumbbells hang down from your shoulders with extended arms.
- Begin the movement by pulling the dumbbells up toward your ribcage, driving your elbows toward the ceiling, and squeezing your shoulder blades together.
- Keep your elbows close to your body and ensure your lower back remains stable and straight throughout the movement.
- Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position in a controlled manner, maintaining tension in your upper and lower back muscles.
- Perform the desired number of repetitions while maintaining proper form.
Dumbbell Side Plank
Traditional side planks primarily target the oblique muscles but can be modified to include a dumbbell. This exercise will help engage the lower back muscles in a fun and effective way. The dumbbell side plank targets several areas, including the core, glutes, and shoulder muscles – contributing to overall stability and support for the lower back. Focusing on maintaining a stable side plank is critical here! Keep your hips off the ground and control your movement through the exercise. Pay close attention to your chosen weight for this exercise. While you could lift something on the heavier side, it may throw off your balance. Start light and monitor your progress before moving up.
Ready to Try a Workout?
Now you know there are simple ways to incorporate dumbbells into your lower back workout from home. Training your lower back means building strength, stability, and support for your spine, all great things for longevity and overall health!
If you want to upgrade your home gym or find the perfect set of dumbbells for your lower back exercises, check out our wide range of high-quality dumbbells. We offer dumbbells in various styles and sizes, suitable for beginners and experienced lifters alike. Invest in your fitness journey and give your lower back the attention it deserves with the right tools from Hampton Fitness.