Top 7 dumbbell workouts for Lats at home

In a series of dumbbell exercises, here’s one more article for you. In this post, I’m going to share with you the top 7 dumbbell workouts that work great for your lats (latissimus dorsi) and improve your back shape. You can also do these dumbbells lat exercises 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 of a back workout because when you do pull-ups, lats are fully engaged.

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 is a pair of dumbbells and a bench at home.

So, if you’re one of them who is trying to build lat with dumbbell workouts, then this article is going to be very useful for you.

Related: The 10 Best DB Exercises For Strong Back

How Do You Hit Your Lats with Dumbbell Exercises?

How Do You Hit Your Lats with Dumbbell Exercises?
dumbbell training (Sports photo created by senivpetro – www.freepik.com)

Dumbbell is a great piece of exercise equipment. It allows a greater range of motion and helps you target your lats specifically. Dumbbell rowing, bent-over row, incline IYT raises are some of the best dumbbell lat exercises you can do to hit your latissimus dorsi muscle and build a stronger back.

However, doing lat workouts with the dumbbells isn’t as effective as doing with barbells and machines.

Because the major exercises for developing V-shape back are barbell deadlifts, pull-ups, pull-down, barbell bent over, rowing, and an inverted row.

However, you can do the below dumbbell exercises for better lats strength and body composition.

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

You May Also Like: Dumbbell Workouts For Lower Back (9 Exercises)

The Best Dumbbell Workouts For Lats

  1. Dumbbell Rowing
  2. Bent Over
  3. I-Y-T Raises
  4. Dumbbell Superman
  5. Dumbbell Bent-Arm Pullover
  6. Incline Dumbbell Lying Row
  7. Dumbbell Deadlift

You can save this: The Ultimate 30-Day Dumbbell Exercise Routine


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 barbells and machines, it would be one of the best dumbbell lat exercises you can do to activate your latissimus dorsi muscle.

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.

Dumbbell Workouts For Lats
Lats Dumbbell Workouts (Pic Credit: Everkinetic / CC BY-SA)

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.

If you want to strengthen your back without putting much stress on your lower back, try these 16 Isometric Back Exercises With PDF.


2. Dumbbell Bent Over Row

The dumbbell bent-over is one of the best workouts for developing a 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 research discovered 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.

lats workouts with the dumbbell

How to do the Dumbbell Bent-Over Lats Workout

  • 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

If you do bodyweight calisthenics exercises for the back, check this best the best Calisthenics back exercises.


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 that works on multiple muscles simultaneously, such as the rear delt and upper trap. So, if you’re looking for an exercise that 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.

Related: The 15 Best Bodyweight Back Workouts At Home

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 dumbbells at home.

dumbbell lats workouts

It also strengthens your lower back and helps you fix bad posture.

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 Lat Workout

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 realize it initially, but after trying both variations, straight arm, and bent-arm pull-over, you’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.

6. Incline Dumbbell Lying Row

The incline dumbbell rowing is one of the best lat workouts you can do at home and the gym.

It will allow you to target your lats specifically and help you build a stronger back.

How to do lying incline dumbbell rowing

one of the best dumbbell lats workouts
  1. Set a bench at 45-degree incline position.
  2. Place a pair of dumbbell on the floor underneath a bench.
  3. Lie down prone with your chest at the end of the bench and arms straight downward.
  4. Grab the dumbbell with a neutral grip with your palms are facing each other.
  5. Engaging your back muscles, row the dumbbells upward and then return to the start.
  6. Do three sets of 8 to 12 reps each with 2-3 minutes rest between sets.

7. Dumbbell Deadlift Workout For Lats

The dumbbell deadlift is a compound workout that works on several muscles at once including the latissimus dorsi.

You can incorporate a dumbbell conventional deadlift to strengthen and tone your back muscle.

How to do a dumbbell deadlift:

  1. Holding one dumbbell in each hand, stand upright in the hip-width stance.
  2. Keep your arms straight in front of you with your palms are facing inward.
  3. Push your hips back, slightly bend your knees and lower the weight until your shin, back remains flat.
  4. Now, inhale and engaging your lats, push into the floor through your feet to return in the standing position. That’s one rep!

Do three sets of 4 to 6 reps each with 2-3 minutes rest between sets.

How Do You Get a Wide Back with Dumbbells Workout?

To get a wider and V-shaped back with dumbbells, you need to incorporate the best dumbbell exercises for latissimus dorsi (lat), trapezius (trap), and infraspinatus. Dumbbell exercises such as dumbbell single-arm rowing, bent-over rowing, pullover, and dumbbell deadlift are some of the best workouts you can do to get wide back with dumbbells.

However, dumbbell workouts may not be as effective as pull-ups, pull down and other barbell back exercises. If you want to build a superior back, you need to do the best compound back workouts at the gym for mass gain.

Final Words

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

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

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

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