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25-Minute Back Workout for Women (8 Best Back Exercises For Women)

Did you know your back is the largest muscle in the upper body? This means strength training your back results in burning calories all day long. Grab a set of dumbbells and do these 8 best back exercises for women to build strong, defined back muscles — a 25-minute back workout for women at home!

It’s time to strength train your BACK! AKA the largest muscle group in your upper body.

You’ve asked…

How can I tone my back at home?

A lot of people think you need gym equipment — a lat pulldown machine or a barbell to deadlift or upright row with — to build strong back muscles.

You don’t need fancy gym equipment! Try these 8 best back exercises for women at home. All you need is a set of dumbbells to do this back workout at home.

This 25-minute back workout for women combines 8 of the best dumbbell back exercises to effectively target the:

  • Lats — the largest muscle, from your shoulder down to your hips
  • Rhomboids — mid-back
  • Traps — from your neck to your mid-back
  • Erector Spinae — along the length of your spine
plank and row | back workouts for women

What are the best back exercises for women?

Note, I say “for women” here because in my experience, women tend to under-train the back, making it especially important for them to focus on. However, these are great dumbbell back exercises for both men and women.

  1. Dumbbell Row — reverse grip back rows, single arm back rows, wide grip back rows, and narrow grip back rows.
  2. Lying Overhead Dumbbell Pullover — one of the few exercises that allows you to get lateral flexion at home with a set of dumbbells.
  3. Hyperextension Exercises — Supermans and Supermans with a lat pull.
  4. Dumbbell Reverse Fly — also called a dumbbell back fly.

In general, back exercises rely on a “pull” motion to contract the muscles in the back. Often times these “pull” exercises also recruit the bicep muscles.

I should note, this isn’t an exhaustive list of the best back exercises for women as it’s missing one of my personal favorite back exercises — the pull up.

But to make this back workout accessible to everyone without a pull up bar, we’re sticking to dumbbell back exercises to build muscle mass in today’s back workout at home.

That said, adding these 8 best back exercises to your weekly workout routine is a great way to strengthen your back if you are trying to scale up to doing a pull up or chin up.

The BEST Back Workouts for Women Pin for Pinterest

What are the benefits of back workouts for women?

  • Improves posture and core strength
  • Increases overall muscle mass (more defined female back muscles which burns more calories by boosting your resting metabolism)
  • Improves bone density 
  • Better range of motion and mobility which prevents injury and back pain

Not only are your back muscles a large metabolic muscle (meaning you burn more calories when you strength train your back), but your lats help move your core and arms.

According to NASM your back is the foundation of your thoracic mobility, which is pretty important if you’re a woman carrying a carseat or grocery bags.

Lats and back muscles in general are often underworked as women tend to focus on the “more sexy” upper body muscles — shoulders, biceps and triceps.

But I’m here to tell you — back workouts are important, especially for women. Improve posture and relieve lower-back pain by building a strong back!

8 best back exercises for women | bent over back row for female back muscles

25-Minute Dumbbell Back Workout for Women

These eight dumbbell back exercises are a great way to develop better posture and defined back muscles for women. 

This back workout targets all of the major muscles along the backside of your body — your lats, traps, rotator cuff, and all muscles along your spine.

I suggest adding this back back workout to your weekly fitness routine once a week.

Workout Equipment:

Medium to heavy set of dumbbells. I’m using 12 and 15 lb dumbbells in this workout video, but would be reaching for my 30lb dumbbell for those single arm rows at home.

Workout Instructions:

Click here to follow along with the 25-Minute Dumbbell Back Workout for Women on YouTube.

I’ll be your personal trainer and coach you through each dumbbell back exercise, providing form cues and modifications along the way.

Alternatively, work through the list of back exercises at home below at your own pace.

The 25-Minute Dumbbell Back Workout Looks Like This:

  • 8 Dumbbell Back Exercises
  • 12 Reps Per Exercise
  • Repeat x3 Sets

Note, this back workout will test your grip strength; set the dumbbells down between each exercise to shake out your grip. 

The 8 Best Back Exercises For Women At Home

  1. Reverse Grip Back Row
  2. Single Arm Back Row
  3. Wide Back Row
  4. Narrow Back Row
  5. Superman Lat Pull
  6. Plank and Row or Renegade Row
  7. Lying Overhead Dumbbell Pull or Dumbbell Pullover
  8. Bent Over Back Fly or Reverse Back Fly

8 Dumbbell Back Exercises for Stronger Back Muscles

1. Reverse Grip Back Row

Targets: Both the lower back and upper back, specifically the lats and rhomboids.

This compound exercise also strengthens the biceps as they are also engaged in the “pull” motion.

how to do a reverse grip back row with dumbbells

How to do a Reverse Grip Back Row with Dumbbells:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent.
  2. Grip a set of dumbbells, palms facing out away from the body.
  3. Hinge at the hips until your chest is parallel to the floor (neck in line with your spine, flat back, and belly button and rib cage pulled in). 
  4. Pull the weights back towards your hips. Feel your shoulder blades squeeze together.
  5. Control the dumbbells back down to the starting position. Think up on a 1 count, down slow and controlled on a 2 count.

2. Single Arm Back Row

Targets: Mainly the latissimus dorsi (or lats; the largest back muscle known for its large, flat “V” shape).

Bonus: unilateral exercises (single-sided exercises) also work the abs and core.

how to do a single arm back row

NOTE: You can do this single arm dumbbell row from the hinged forward position you see above in the reverse grip row exercise. Or you can take a staggered stance like you see pictured above. I prefer the staggered stance to alleviate pressure from the low back. 

How to do a Single Arm Back Row with Dumbbells:

  1. Take a staggered-stance — left foot forward, right foot back.
  2. Start with the dumbbell in your right hand. 
  3. Hinge at the hips until your torso is parallel to the floor (neck in line with your spine, flat back, and belly button and rib cage pulled in). 
  4. Hold this staggered position while performing a single arm row on the right side. Pull your elbow up towards the ceiling while squeezing your back.
  5. Control the dumbbells back down to the starting position. Think up on a 1 count, down slow and controlled on a 2 count.
  6. Repeat on the left side of the body.

3. Wide Back Row

Targets: Mainly the upper back muscles — the trapezoid, rhomboid and rear deltoid muscles.

how to do a wide back row

How to do a Wide Back Row with Dumbbells:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider, knees slightly bent.
  2. Grip a set of dumbbells using an overhand grip, palms facing towards the body.
  3. Hinge forward at the hips until your body is in a straight line.
  4. Pull your elbows wide towards the ceiling, aiming for your elbows to line up with the bottom of your sports bra. Squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  5. Control the dumbbells back down to the starting position. Think up on a 1 count, down slow and controlled on a 2 count.

4. Narrow Back Row

Targets: Mainly the latissimus dorsi (or lats).

how to do a narrow back row

How to do a Bent Over Narrow Back Row with Dumbbells:

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent.
  2. Grip a set of dumbbells, palms facing in towards each other.
  3. Hinge forward at the hips until your body is in a straight line, neck in line with your spine, flat back, and belly button pulled back towards your spine. 
  4. Pull the weights back towards your hips, elbows high to the sky. Feel your shoulder blades squeeze together.
  5. Control the dumbbells back down to the starting position. Think up on a 1 count, down slow and controlled on a 2 count.

5. Superman Lat Pull

Targets: The entire posterior chain (or backside of your body).

The superman exercise strengthens your back muscles, back extensors, glutes and hamstring muscles to increase overall core strength.

Adding the lat pull to the superman exercise also engages the upper back muscles for a full posterior chain strengthening exercise.

how to do a superman lat pull

NOTE: If pregnant or avoiding belly down postures modify this exercise to the Bird Dog Exercise (exercise number 4 in this post)

How to do a Superman Lat Pull using your Bodyweight:

  1. Lying on your stomach, stretch your arms and legs out away from your body.
  2. Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to engage your posterior chain as you lift your legs and arms off the ground.
  3. Hold this position as you pull your elbows back towards your hips, activating your lats.
  4. Extend your arms back overhead, and slowly lower your legs and arms back towards the ground.

6. Plank and Row or Renegade Row

Targets: Upper back, shoulders, glutes and abs.

how to do a plank and row or renegade row

How to do a Plank and Row or Renegade Row with Dumbbells:

  1. Start in a high plank position with one hand on each dumbbell. You can always modify your plank with both knees on the ground.
  2. From this plank position, pull one dumbbell back towards your hip, elbow up towards the ceiling. Focus on keeping both hips square to the ground as you perform this row.
  3. Lower the dumbbell back to the ground slow and controlled, and repeat the row on the other side.

7. Lying Overhead Dumbbell Pull or Dumbbell Pullover

Targets: Mainly the lats (latissimus dorsi) and pecs (pectoralis major and pectoralis minor) while also targeting the core and abs for stability.

The dumbbell pullover is a great exercise to get rid of back fat under your bra.

How to do a Lying Overhead Dumbbell Pull or Dumbbell Pullover

How to do a Lying Overhead Dumbbell Pull or Dumbbell Pullover:

  1. Lying on your back, with legs bent at 90 degrees, hold one or two dumbbells in your hands with arms extended overhead.
  2. Maintaining straight arms, with a slight bend in the elbows, slowly lower the dumbbells overhead towards the ground. Try to keep your low back pressed into the mat/ground.
  3. Then pull the dumbbells back overhead, engaging the lats, to return back to the starting position.

8. Bent Over Back Fly or Reverse Back Fly

Targets: The posterior deltoids (rear shoulders), and major upper back muscles including the rhomboids and trapezius.

How to do a Bent Over Back Fly or Reverse Back Fly

How to do a Back Fly or Reverse Fly:

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent.
  2. Grip a set of dumbbells, palms facing in towards each other.
  3. Hinge forward at the hips until your body is in a straight line.
  4. Open your arms, raising the dumbbells until they come in line with your shoulders as you squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  5. Control the dumbbells back down. Return to the starting position, trying not to let the dumbbells touch at the bottom. Think up on a 1 count, down slow and controlled on a 2 count.

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Best Back Workouts for Women at Home for strong back muscles
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