The BEST 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 back exercises; a 25 minute back workout for women!

Jump To The 8 Best Back Exercises For Women

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?

Do these 8 best back exercises for women! All you need is a set of dumbbells so this back workout can easily be done at home.

This 25 minute back workout 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

What are the best back exercises for women to do at home?

  1. Dumbbell Rows — 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 — superman’s and superman’s with a lat pull.
  4. Dumbbell Reverse Flies — 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 it accessible to everyone without a pull up bar, we’re sticking to dumbbell back exercises for today’s back workout at home!

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

8 BEST Back Exercises for Women in a 25 Minute Dumbbell Back Workout

What are the benefits of back workouts for women?

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.

The 8 Best Back Exercises For Women | Dumbbell Back Workouts For Women

These 8 dumbbell back exercises are a great way to tone your back at home. 

Target all of the major muscle along the backside of your body — your lats, traps, rotator cuff, and all muscles along your spine.

Equipment:

Medium to heavy set of dumbbells.

I recommend anything from 8 lbs to 25 lbs dumbbells depending on your fitness level. I’m personally using 10, 12 and 15 lb dumbbells in this workout video.

Instructions — Do this Back Workout 4 Different Ways:

You can approach this back workout four different ways:

  1. Follow along with the guided video at the top of this post. I’ll coach you through each back exercise; completing 12 reps per exercise, x3 sets for ~25 minute workout.
  2. Make it a 20-Minute Back Workout — set a timer for 20-minute. Complete 10 repetitions of each back exercise, taking breaks as needed. Repeat as many rounds as possible, or AMRAP, in 20-minutes.
  3. Make it an 8-Minute EMOM Workout or an ‘every minute on the minute’ workout. Set a timer for 8 minutes. At the start of the first minute complete 15 repetitions of the first back exercise. Then rest for the remaining time left in the minute. At the start of the second minute complete 15 repetitions of the second back exercise. Then rest for the remaining time left in the second minute. Repeat this format for all 8 minutes.
  4. Make it a Burnout Back Workout that you add onto the end of your workout to burnout the back muscles — Complete 12 repetitions of each exercise one time through to ‘burnout’ or fatigue the back muscles at the end of your workout. Burnout workouts are great for building muscle.

1. Reverse Grip Back Row

Muscles Worked: both the lower back and upper back, specifically the lats and rhomboids.

Additionally, this compound exercise also strengthens the biceps as they are also engaged in the ‘pull’ motion.

reverse grip row back exercise

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. Hinging at the hips till your body is in a straight line, 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 1 count, down slow and controlled on a 2 count.

2. Single Arm Back Row

Muscles Worked: mainly the latissimus dorsi (or lats).

This unilateral exercises (working one side of the body at a time) also engages the entire back, shoulders, and arms.

single arm back row dumbbell back exercise

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 off 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 forward at the hips till your body is in a straight line.
  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 1 count, down slow and controlled on a 2 count.
  6. Repeat on the left side of the body.

3. Wide Back Row

Muscles Worked: mainly the upper back muscles — the trapezoid, rhomboid and rear deltoid muscles.

wide row back exercise with dumbbell

How to do a wide back row with dumbbells:

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

4. Narrow Back Row

Muscles Worked: mainly the latissimus dorsi (or lats).

narrow back row exercise for women | back workouts at home

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 till 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 1 count, down slow and controlled on a 2 count.

5. Superman Lat Pull

Muscles Worked: the entire posterior chain (or backside of your body).

The superman exercises strengthens your back muscles, back extensors, glutes and hamstring muscles to increase overall core strength. Adding the lat pull to the superman exercises also engages the upper back muscles for a full posterior chain strengthening exercise.

superman back exercise to strengthen back muscles in women

NOTE: If pregnant modify this exercise to the Bird Dog Exercise which you can find 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 legs and arms back towards the ground. 

6. Plank and Row or Renegade Row

Muscles Worked: upper back, shoulders, glutes and abs.

Renegade Row back exercise using dumbbells | back workouts

How to do a plank and row or renegade row with dumbbells:

  1. Start in 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

Muscles Worked: 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.

lying dumbbell pull over to get rid of back fat

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

Muscles Worked: targets the posterior deltoids (rear shoulders), and major upper back muscles including the rhomboids and trapezius.

reverse fly back exercise | back workouts at home

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 till 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 1 count, down slow and controlled on a 2 count.

Pin this Workout: 8 Best Back Exercises For Women +  Back Workouts For Women

25-Minute Back Workout for Women | dumbbell only back workout

If you like these back workouts for women you might also like these upper body strength exercises for women:

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