Dumbbell Lower Back Exercises
Despite the increased cultural focus on maintaining a good exercise routine, dumbbell lower back exercises people continue to live mostly sedentary lifestyles. This has led to a myriad of problems and health conditions, especially those associated with the lower back. In fact, some 80% of people in the world will visit their doctor, complaining of lower back pain at least once in their life.
As most of us know, regular exercise is one of the best ways to keep our back muscles strong and prevent pain. Luckily, there are dozens of exercises and hundreds of workout plans out there, specifically designed to improve the muscles of the lower spine. Many of these don’t even require an investment in expensive fitness equipment.
For example, many lower back exercises are designed to be done with only your body weight or with the use of a stability ball. Of course, as your muscles get stronger and you want to get more from your workout, you can always add more weight. A great way to do this is with dumbbells, which are easy to find and store in your home. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the top dumbbell exercises for your lower back.
What Do We Mean by “Lower Back?”
Our spine is divided up into five segments: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacrum, and coccyx. When we talk about the lower back, we are specifically referring to the lumbar area. Visually, it is the region between your back ribs and pelvis. dumbbell lower back exercises
You always want to maintain a strong lumbar area because it supports a lot of your body weight. That said, you also want your lumbar region to be flexible as well because it is also involved in a wide array of daily movements. For instance, if you were to stand up and do some bends and turns, you’d notice how active your lumbar region is in those motions. dumbbell lower back exercises
From a muscle training perspective, you need to remember that muscle groups are closely related. This means that many exercises designed to target the lumbar region will also often work out other areas of your back.
The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Your Lower Back
In this section, I’ll describe how to perform six specific lower back exercises using dumbbells. The first four will be largely focused on the lumbar muscles. However, in the last two, these muscles will mostly act as stabilizers, receiving far less tension. dumbbell lower back exercises
1. The Romanian Dumbbell Deadlift
The deadlift and squat are largely considered the “kings” of all exercises. Of course, there are many variations of each, and this is just one. Now, aside from helping you build strength in your lower back, this movement is designed to exercise your legs, glutes, and upper back, too. Similar to other deadlifts, the correct form is crucial to avoiding injury. dumbbell lower back exercises
How to do it:
- Place two dumbbells of the desired weight on the ground in front of you.
- Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight, squat down and grab the weights.
- Keeping your arms straight down and the dumbbells at your sides, return to a standing position. Now, move the dumbbells to the front of your thighs. You will start the exercise from this position.
- Begin the movement by pushing your hips back. This will naturally force your upper body to lean forward.
- With just a slight bend in your knees, slowly move the dumbbells toward your toes, keeping them as close as possible to the front of your legs. During the entire movement, keep your back and head in a neutral position with your shoulders back. dumbbell lower back exercises
- Lower the dumbbells until you get to about knee level or slightly below. Usually, you’ll stop when you begin to feel tension in your hamstrings. dumbbell lower back exercises
- After you reach the bottom position, push your feet into the ground and using your hamstrings and glutes, pull the dumbbells back up along your legs until you reach the starting position.
- Repeat this exercise until you’ve completed the desired repetitions. dumbbell lower back exercises
NOTE: It could take a couple of workouts to master the proper technique of this exercise. It isn’t a particularly easy movement to learn. dumbbell lower back exercises
2. The Straight-Leg (Stiff-leg) Dumbbell Deadlift
Now, we’ll take a look at the straight-leg or stiff-leg deadlift, which is another variation of the conventional deadlift exercise. While this exercise targets the exact same muscle groups as the Romanian deadlift, it puts a bit more stress on the back and a little less on the leg muscles. Since it is so similar to the exercise above, I won’t list all the instructions again – just the differences. dumbbell lower back exercises
Things that change:
- Your knees should only bend a little bit.
- At the bottom position, you need to go down closer to the feet. You stop the movement when your back begins to round or you have reached the ground. dumbbell lower back exercises
- During the movement, the dumbbells don’t need to be kept quite as close to the leg.
NOTE: Considering the differences listed above, the straight-leg deadlift is a bit riskier for your lower back. I don’t advise you to use a lot of weight during this exercise. Instead, do higher reps. dumbbell lower back exercises
3. The Dumbbell Good Morning
The dumbbell good morning is similar to both exercises listed above, targeting the back muscles as well as the legs and glutes. When done with dumbbells, this exercise also actives the muscles in your shoulders and arms.
How to do it:
- Start with your feet hip-width apart. Pick up two dumbbells and hold them up at shoulder level, as if you were preparing to do a shoulder press. This will be the starting position.
- Now, keeping your arm position fixed and with a slight bend in your knees, lean forward, hinging at the hips until you’re parallel with the ground. dumbbell lower back exercises
- Pause at the bottom of the movement and then return to a standing position. This entire movement counts as one complete repetition. dumbbell lower back exercises
- Repeat until the desired repetitions have been completed.
NOTE: You can adjust the way you hold the dumbbells to make the movement more comfortable, especially if you’re using just a single dumbbell. Just be sure to hold the dumbbells in the same position for the entire movement and ensure your lower back stays flat. Also, focus on using your hamstrings and glutes to move your torso up and down. dumbbell lower back exercises
4. The Dumbbell Hyperextension
This is both a popular and safe lower back exercise, which can be performed with or without additional weight. I’ve included it on this list due to its effectiveness and relative ease. Aside from targeting the back, it also works on the glutes and hamstrings. In my opinion, it’s best to start practicing this exercise with only your body weight. Later, when you get stronger, you can gradually add more resistance in the form of dumbbells or a barbell plate.
In order to perform the dumbbell hyperextension, you will need to use a special bench.
How to do it with a dumbbell:
- Choose the appropriate dumbbell weight and place it in the front of the hyperextension bench.
- Position yourself on the bench so that your hips are in line with the top of the body pad. Hook your feet around the leg pad for stability. This will be your starting position.
- Slowly lower your torso toward the floor until it’s almost perpendicular to your legs.
- Carefully pick up the dumbbell from the floor, holding it against your chest in both hands. Be sure to brace your body and engage your core. dumbbell lower back exercises
- Now, start moving back up by using your glutes and hamstrings. Your back should remain fixed the entire time. Pause at the peak of the movement and then slowly lower yourself again.
- Repeat until the desired repetitions have been completed. dumbbell lower back exercises
NOTE: Don’t unnaturally bend or flex your back – it should remain flat!
5. The Dumbbell Bent-Over Row
This movement primarily targets the upper back muscles and biceps. However, your lower back muscles function as stabilizers. dumbbell lower back exercises
How to do it:
- Begin by holding two dumbbells in your hands.
- Keep a slight bend in your knees and your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Bend from the waist until your chest is nearly parallel to the ground.
- Start the exercise with your arms hanging down in the neutral position. As you contract your back muscles, pull the dumbbells upwards toward your sides. Keep going until you feel tension in your back muscles. Usually, this is around the point where your elbow goes higher than your back.
- Slowly release the dumbbells back to the starting position and repeat until you reach the desired repetitions.
NOTE: Here, it is important that you do this movement using the strength of your back muscles and not your arm muscles. If you focus on the arms by accident, it becomes a bicep dumbbell workout. To target the correct muscle group, many instructors like to remind students to pull with their elbows, not their biceps.
6. The Push-Up Position Row
Lastly, we have the push-up position row. In order to complete this exercise with proper form, you should first master a standard push-up position row without dumbbells. dumbbell lower back exercises
How to do it:
- Start by placing two dumbbells vertically on the floor, shoulder-width apart. The dumbbells should mimic where your hands would typically go in a standard push-up.
- Grab the dumbbells keeping your arms straight and your palms facing each other, then hold yourself in a plank-like position with your legs extended and core engaged. dumbbell lower back exercises
- Instead of moving your body towards the floor as you would in a push-up, raise one dumbbell at a time, lifting it up towards your armpit. dumbbell lower back exercises
- Bring the dumbbell back down to the floor, reset the push-up position, and then continue with another arm.
- Repeat until you reach the desired repetitions. dumbbell lower back exercises
Dumbbell Workouts for Your Lower Back
As I mentioned earlier, your lower back is very easy to hurt. For that reason, I would like you to consider a few workout tips before you start. If you follow them, it will make lower back dumbbell work outs much safer.
- You should start every workout with a warm-up and finish them with cool-down, including post-workout static stretches.
- Remember not to use heavy weights until you’ve developed the proper form for each exercise. Usually, it takes time to master proper technique.
- In order for your lower spine to provide you with proper support, you should strengthen it from all sides. Back exercises alone are not enough. You also need to incorporate ab exercises to balance your routine.
- Hyperextension with or without extra weight (3 sets of 12–20 reps)
- Dumbbell Romanian deadlift (3 sets of 8–12 reps)
- Dumbbell good morning (3 sets of 10–15 reps)
- Push-Up position row (3 sets of 10–15 reps)
- Hyperextension with or without extra weight (3 sets of 12–20 reps)
- Dumbbell bent-over row (3 sets of 8–12 reps)
Again, remember to include ab exercises in your lower back workout routine! While you don’t need to perform them on the same day, they are very important to your overall back health.
If you are wondering where your back workout might fit into a weekly routine, consider doing it on the same day you do triceps training.
Dumbbell Exercises and Lower Back Pain
If you regularly feel pain in your lower back, I advise you to seek help from a doctor. There are more reasons for lower back pain than you can possibly imagine, from weak back muscles to arthritis or various inflammatory diseases. In fact, sometimes back pain is a symptom of something like kidney stones. So, while these exercises will help you with a weak back, working out with other undiagnosed back issues can do more harm than good.
Lower Back Fat
Many people ask if lower back exercises can help get rid of lower back fat. Unfortunately, this is not the easiest question to answer.
First and foremost, fat loss depends mostly on your eating plan. Remember, if you want to lose weight, you need to consume less energy than what you use every day. To find your daily caloric requirement, you can use any number of online fat loss calculators. When you throw exercise into the mix, it helps to speed up the weight loss process. However, it isn’t the primary component in the weight loss equation. Also, it’s worth remembering that if you’re looking to burn fat in just a certain area (aka spot reduction), you can only do so minimally. So, while you can perform all the lumbar exercises you want, you won’t be able to lose weight in just that spot. When it comes to fat loss, it’s all or nothing.
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