Top 5 dumbbell workouts for Lats at home

In a series of dumbbell addition, here’s one more article for you. In this post, I’m going to share with you the top 5 dumbbell workouts that work great for your lats (latissimus dorsi) and improve your back shape. These dumbbells lat exercises you can do at home.

Lats are thicker, larger and v-shaped muscles on the back which are spread from shoulder to waist. They primarily work when you pull and adduct something. Pull-up is a good example because when you do pull-ups lats are fully engaged.

If you’re one of the fitness freaks who is desperate about his or her physique but don’t have time to hit the gym, then this article will be going to very useful for you.

I’ve seen many people who want to look aesthetic but unfortunately, they neither have the time nor have access to gym equipment like barbells and machines. All they have a pair of dumbbells and a bench at home. And doing lats workout with the dumbbells isn’t as effective as doing with barbells and machines.

Because the major exercises for developing V-shape back are pull-ups, pull-down, barbell bent over, rowing, the deadlifts and the inverted row. But there are few exercises you can do for your lats with the dumbbells.

Below I’ve shared a list of lats workout that you can do using dumbbells, along with how-to instructions and images that may help you understand better.

Best Dumbbell Workouts For Lats

  1. Dumbbell Rowing
  2. Bent Over
  3. I-Y-T Raises
  4. Dumbbell Superman
  5. Dumbbell Bent-Arm Pull-Over

1. Dumbbell Rowing

The dumbbell rowing is a compound movement that works on several muscles group at once including the latissimus dorsi (Lats). In the absence of barbell and machines, this would be one of the best choices for lats muscle activation.

Other than the muscles of the back, it also works on delts, arms and the core. It increases your strength, posture and overall athletic performance.

How to Perform Dumbbell Rowing

  • Grab a dumbbell in your right hand, place your left knee on a flat or incline bench. And put your right feet firmly on the ground beside the end of the bench.
  • Keep your left arm straight on the bench and hold your right arm straight just underneath your shoulder. That’s your starting position.
  • To row the dumbbell, bring your elbow out to the side until it reached chest level. Hold for a second to squeeze your back muscles and then slowly lower it down into starting position. That’s one rep! Do 8-10 reps x 3 sets, both sides.

Important Points

  • Keep your core tight throughout the rowing.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades when you lift the dumbbell up.
  • Do not arch your back during the movement.
  • Keep you head straight parallel to the bench.
  • Make sure your shoulders are slightly higher than your hips.
  • When you row the dumbbell, use your elbow instead of your hand because using elbow activate more back muscles and reduce wrist involvement. So, perform each rep in a control motion for the maximum result.

2. Dumbbell Bent Over Row

The dumbbell bent over is one of the best workouts for developing V-shape back.

In a study published by the American Council of Exercise (ACE), 19 healthy men, aged 18 to 25, were assigned to performed 8 different back exercises using either 70% of 1-RM or body weight. They performed five repetitions of each exercise with two minutes rest between the sets.

Exercises were: Lat pull-down, Seated row, Bent-over row, Inverted row, Pull-up, Chin-up, TRX row and I-Y-T raises

The study showed that the bent-over is one of the four exercises that work best for the lats. So in case, when you don’t have access to pull-ups and pull-down, the bent-over would be an ideal dumbbell workout for the lats.

Another study determined that the standing bent-over row composed large activation symmetrically from upper to lower back. But at the same time, it also produced the largest lumbar spine load.

But in the same study, it was suggested that adding core exercises for rehabilitation reduce the lumbar spine load. However, using lightweight dumbbells won’t cause any problem and you can safely perform bent-over.

How to do the Dumbbell Bent-Over

  • Grab one dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip, palms facing each other. And stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Slightly bend your knees and push your hips back to lean forward and maintain a flat back and keep your core tight. That’s the starting position.
  • Look forward or down but keep your back as straight as possible.
  • Now bring the dumbbells out to the sides until you feel the full contraction in the back muscles. During the row, make sure your chest slightly up and elbows go out to the sides.
  • Hold for a moment, squeeze your back muscles, then slowly return the dumbells in the starting position. That’s one rep! Do 8-10 reps x 3 sets.

Important Points

  • Take a breath before rowing and exhale after complete a rep.
  • Keep your core tight throughout the entire exercise.
  • When you return into the beginning position, return slowly so that your muscles got full engaged.
  • keep your spine neutral and remain bent throughout the movement. Because rounding of your back put more stress on your spine that can cause spinal injury.
  • Dumbbells are best at giving a range of motion so that you can angle the dumbbells differently

3. Dumbbell I-Y-T Raises

The IYT raises exercise is unknown but one of the most effective workouts for the muscle of the back. It has several variations such as standing, seated, incline and flat.

It is a compound movement which works on several muscles other than back. So if you’re looking for an exercise which does the work of many exercises, then this would be an ideal exercise for you.

The incline IYT raises is the most effective for muscles of the back especially lats. Because it includes adduction movement and as you know your lats work when you adduct.

How To Do Incline Dumbbell I-Y-T Raises

This is quite simple to perform. As the name says IYT raises, there will be three steps. In the first step, you need to make an “I” shape with your torso then “Y” in the second step and “T” in the third and final step. Below are the instructions on how to perform this exercise.

To perform this exercise, you need a pair of light dumbbells and an incline bench.

  • Lie on your stomach on a 30-degree incline bench.
  • Grab a pair of dumbbells and keep your arms straight just underneath your shoulder, palm facing inside.
  • keep your feet properly on the ground and fix your torso on the bench. That’s starting position.
  • To form the letter “T” raise your arms upward until your arms reached forehead height. Hold for a couple of seconds and then slowly return the dumbbells back into the beginning position.
  • To form the letter “Y” raise your arms at a 45-degree angle (Assume superman pose) while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold for a couple of seconds at the top and then slowly return the dumbbells back into the lower position.
  • And to perform the final and the last step, raise your arms fully out to sides until they form a 90-degree angle. Hold for a couple of seconds at the top and then slowly lowered them back toward the ground. That’s one compete IYT rep. Do 8-10 reps x 3 sets.

Important Points

  • Keep your neck at the corner of the bench and face outside the bench so that you perform in a better range of motion.
  • Keep it slow and let your muscles fully engaged. Because doing at a faster rate doesn’t give you a better result.
  • To avoid arching of your back, keep your torso fully on the bench. Rounding of lower your back can cause unnecessary pain.
  • Use light dumbbells, so that you can complete eight to ten reps in each set.

4. Dumbbell Pull-up Superman

The pull-up superman certainly works on the lats and this is one of the best lats workouts you can do with the dumbbell at home.

How To Do Dumbbell Superman

  • Grab a dumbbell in each hand, lie on your stomach on the floor, face downward with your arms are extended straight in front of you and palms facing down and keep your legs straight backwards.
  • Now raise your arms off the floor, assume a superman fly and bring your elbows towards your chest until you feel a full contraction in your muscles of the back.  Hold for a moment and then put back your arms in the beginning position. That’s one rep! Do 8-10 reps x 3 sets.

Important Points

  • Keep your arms off the floor throughout the workout.
  • Keep your chest slightly off the ground. So that when you pull your arms they come toward your chest.
  • Use light dumbbells, so that you can complete eight to ten reps in each set.
  • Keep your head upright and face forward during the workout.
  • Keep it slow and let your muscles fully engaged. Because doing at a faster rate doesn’t give you a better result.

5. Dumbbell Bent-Arm Pull-Over

There’s a debate on ” Is dumbbell pullover a chest or back workout?”

But an article published on the Muscle-And-Strength strength website says bent-arm pullover works on the muscles of the back. You may not realise in the beginning but after trying both variations, straight arm and bent-arm pull-over, youl’ll see the changes.

It may not work for all because everyone’s body responds in different ways. But dumbbell pull-over is a compound workout this will surely help you develop like an athletic body.

How To Perform The Dumbbell Pull Over

  • Grab one dumbbell with your hands. Lie on a flat bench and place your feet firmly on the ground.
  • Keep your arms straight over your chest and your palms facing each other. And slightly keep your elbows bent.
  • Brace your core and extend the weights back and over your head until your arms reach a fully extended position where the dumbbell is behind your head but not below.
  • Once you reach full contraction, hold for a couple of seconds and then slowly return your arms in the beginning position over your chest. That’s one rep! Do 8-10 reps x 3 sets.

Important Points

  • To engage your latissimus dorsi (Lats), keep your elbows slightly bend instead of keeping your arms straight.
  • Keep the dumbbell as close to the body as possible.
  • Flare your elbows slightly so that your lats can be activated during the movement.
  • Keep it slow and let your muscles fully engaged. Because doing at a faster rate doesn’t give you a better result.
  • Use light dumbbells if you’re not used to performing this movement.

Final Words

All the above exercises are good for the muscles of the back including lats. These exercises aren’t the best way to expand your lats but these dumbbell lats workouts really do their job efficiently.

If you have no access to the gym’s equipment then these exercises would be the best pick for your lats development. But if you go to the gym then include these workouts in your overall back workout routine for the best result.

Which dumbbell lats workouts works suits you the most? Let me know in the comment box.


Disclosure: This post may contains affiliate links so when you buy something through that links, I might get a small commission, without any extra cost to you. 

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