15 [Best] Back Exercises With Barbell and Dumbbells

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Working out for 10 years | Has a home gym | CPD (UK) Certificate holder in Fitness

The 15 [Best] Back Exercises With Barbell and Dumbbells

If you are struggling with a thinner back then these 15 back exercises with barbells and dumbbells should help you.

You can easily do them in a home gym.

There are no machines involved, only barbells, dumbbells and free weights.

A bigger back makes you immensely stronger, gives you a V body shape, and makes you look good in a shirt!

Just pick the most suitable exercises from the list below and hit them hard!

Back Exercises With Barbell And Dumbbells

15 of the best back exercises to do with barbells and dumbbells in Indian gyms and in Home gyms easily!

Here are the most popular and useful back workouts with dumbbells and barbells. Many of them are compound back exercises with dumbbells and barbells targeting multiple muscles.

And if you do not have barbells you can just use dumbbells instead as well.

You can create a back workout routine with dumbbells without any issues.

I often do one arm row and some pull-ups for my back. So you can skip barbells too.

I am not going to explain how to do these exercises, there are tons of Youtube videos which do that well.

But I would tell you why I use them and why and how you can incorporate them into your workout routine.

Rep ranges

Pro Tip: Incorporate back workouts of heavy sets of 5*5 and sets with 3*10 reps of 80% one rep max.

You will develop muscle and strength both by doing these types of sets and reps.

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Below are some more tips to improve your back workouts!


Pullups /Chin-ups are the top back exercises ever. As per this study, pull-ups increase muscle strength and mass. However, if you have shoulder pain, you can do pull ups with a neutral grip.

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Upright Row

I would suggest you do it once you grasp the movement. If you do it wrong, you might hurt your shoulders. You can do it in the way Jeff does in his athleanX channel. Research recommends keeping the movement to mid-chest to mitigate the risk of shoulder impingement.

Bent-Over Row

This is one of my favourite thing to do. Grab a barbell with heavy weights to do this. You can do this for strength with 5*5 sets with heavy weights.

As per some research, standing bent over a row activates the most muscles.

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Lat Pull-Overs

Lat pullovers also work on the chest, so you can take advantage of this. But this is mostly done for 3*10 or more sets, you should not overload this exercise with sets like 5*5.

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Seated Row

A seated row is a good option which does not tire your lower back like in bent-over rows.

So you can often substitute it.

I often do one-arm dumbbell row with heavy sets of 5*5. Sometimes also do 3*10 sets as well.

[BB curls vs DB curls]

Chest-Supported Row

Chest-supported rows can be done with barbells and dumbbells. But you would need a bench, though. AthleanX likes this workout for your back as well.


Deadlift or Romanian Deadlift

Deadlift muscles targetedThe deadlift is often recommended to develop the hamstrings, glutes and back. If you feel some back pain, then you can do rack pulls instead of deadlifts.

I would suggest you do 5*5 heavy deadlifts and some other glute/hamstring workouts with 3*10 variations.

This research paper published by the Romanian deadlift puts emphasis on the erector spine, which is great for those who work on a desk for a long tine.

Reverse-Grip Bent-Over Row

This bent-over is nice to have, it hits the same muscles but it will feel unique if you compare it to the regular bent-over rows. Some research like this says that inverted rows activate the lats muscles the most.

Get a bigger back.jpeg


If you are doing heavy deadlifts then you can skip this though. But if you have the time then include shrugs to get a massive upper shoulder or traps.

You can do shrugs with kettlebells as well.

Suitcase Deadlift

I do not like suitcase deadlifts but they hit the muscles a little differently than a normal deadlift. Many trainers would say this is a functional exercise, but do not fall for the gimmick. If you want some variety then do this sometimes as well.

Good Morning

I generally avoid good morning due to some back pain. But you can do it if you can pull it off. Good mornings will train your lower back and hamstrings.

15 [Best] Back Exercises With Barbell and Dumbbells 1

Reverse Fly

Reverse flys are something that I try to do often, since I sit on a chair for a long period. I feel this flys helps my rounded shoulders.


Weighted Ys are also great, they look simple but are very hard to pull off for more than 10 reps. If you are sitting and working for long hours, you should do this to strengthen your upper back.

Twisting rows

Twisting rows are something that I like as well, in this case, you are doing a one-arm bent-over row and twisting your shoulder.

Farmer’s Carry

I like farmer’s carry as a full-body workout as well. Just carry heavyweights and walkaround, how easy it is to train your entire back, arms and calve muscles.

I believe it will develop some functional strength as well.

This study suggests that Farmer’s carry can be an alternative to deadlift with less stress put on the lumbar spine.

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What are the benefits of doing back exercises?

Improve your posture

There are a number of back exercises that can help improve your posture and overall strength. These exercises can help reduce back pain, and they may also help to prevent shoulder injuries.

When you have rounded shoulders and a hunched position, it’s usually because the muscles in your back aren’t as strong as they should be. This can cause all sorts of problems, from bad posture to joint pain.

Strengthening your back and core will help keep your spine supported, which can improve everything from your posture to how well you can work out.

In addition, back exercises can lead to better workout performance by supporting spine alignment and stability.

If you are doing more chest workouts, then you should at least have the same amount of back workouts.

For example, if you are doing a bench press, then the opposite workout will be bent over rows.


I was used to doing chest workouts more, add that with long hours of a desk job and I got backpain and shoulder pain. So do not be like me, be smart.

These yogas for bodybuilders might help you as well!


Strengthen your back Muscles

Dumbbell and barbell back exercises are a great way to strengthen your muscles and reduce back pain.

By strengthening the muscles in your back, you can improve overall strength and muscle balance.

You will also be able to lift more in your other workouts as well. Since your back helps you with everything you do.

Back muscles play an important role to keep your shoulder healthy

Back exercises are important for shoulder health, posture, and muscle balance. They can help prevent injury, improve mobility, and reduce muscle imbalances.

Rotator cuff injuries are very common, and it happens when you have weak muscles.

You may do face pulls with a cable machine or resistance bands to make your rotator cuff muscles stronger.

This will also help you with lifting more with overhead press and bench press.

When performed correctly, back exercises can also help improve your posture and reduce the risk of rounded shoulders and a hunched position.

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Improve your overall strength

A strong back helps you with lifting more weight with a deadlift, and bench press and also increases your overall athleticism. Your strong back muscles will help you do your daily living easier as well. You will not feel tired when your mom asks you to carry the heavy wet clothes to the roof.

Improve your overall strength

What are the best dumbbell back exercises to do?

Bent over row was found to be the most effective exercise, and you can do the dumbbell version of it at home. If you can do only one back workout, then you should do this.

Also, you can try doing the one-arm dumbbell row as well. In my opinion, arm dumbbell row is the best back exercise at home with dumbbells to do.

How many sets and reps should I do for each exercise?

For all these back exercises you need to develop both strength and volume. So I would ask you to do heavy reps of 5*5s and 3*10 with moderate weights.

For 5*5 pick a weight around 80% of your 1 Rep Max. For 3*10 reps pick weights about 60% of 1 Rep Max.

5*5 reps of heavy weight will increase your strength and the 3*10 sets will increase your muscle mass.

But do not do these two types of rep ranges on the same day.

Mix and match your workouts with other workouts of chest, legs, abs to get a fully functional body.


What is the best way to do back exercises?

Best way to do back exercises is doing them for strength and for hypertrophy. For strength lift around 80% of your one rep max for 5 sets for 5 reps. For hypertrophy lift around 60-70% of your one-rep max for 3 sets and reps.
Spread them around the week in your workout routine and you will see tremendous growth.

What are the most popular back exercises?

Pull-ups, bent-over rows and deadlifts are the most popular back exercises. And all of them should be done by you to get a complete back workout without any imbalances.

What are the most effective back exercises?

As per a test done by the ACE, bent over row was found to be the most effective back exercise. However, I would also urge you to do pull-ups. This is one exercise that average gym goers are afraid of.


Even if you want to develop your back only, you should opt for a program that focuses on your chest muscles as well. Ideally, you should train your whole body at least equally to develop a better physique without any imbalance.

Author HomeGymindia.in

Working Out for 10 years | Owns a home gym |Certificate course done on Improving Aerobic Fitness, Diet | CPD (UK) Accredited Certification on Fitness

🥊 About The Skinny Author

Yo Friends, this is Samarjit! A skinny guy who is building his tiny home gym.

I have successfully gained 10 kgs in 10 months going to commercial gyms. And I have been working out on and off for about 10+ years now.

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I cancelled the gym subscription as I was more into making my home gym for workout. And getting ready, then getting my cycle and ride to the commercial gym seemed a drag after 10 hours in the office.

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