8 Lower Back Dumbbell Exercises for Strength & Mobility

Gaining strength and speed have always been some of my desired fitness goals. But for lifting big and moving quickly, I must have a sturdy lower back. A strong lower back is crucial for better sports and lifting performance, a healthy lifestyle, and an upright posture.

From bodyweight and resistance band to dumbbell and barbell, I perform several exercises to bolster my lower back. However, since you came here for lower back dumbbell exercises, so I’ll only talk about that.

I’ve shared as many as nine dumbbell exercises in this article that directly and indirectly strengthen the lower back muscles, keep your spine healthy, and minimize the risk of injuries.

These exercises are suitable for intermediate lifters and athletes who have been working out for a while. But if you’re a beginner, you can do them without weight.

Please note: For lifting heavy, core strength is equally important which is why you should also work on your midsection specifically.

Pros and Cons of Doing Lower Back Workouts with Dumbbells

Pros

Well, dumbbells allow a greater range of motion, for example; you can move your hands in the directions you want; you can use one arm at one time; as well as you can use the dumbbells when you are in different positions such as lying, sitting, and standing.

Cons

Doing lower back exercises with dumbbells can be hurtful especially if you have poor spinal strength. In this case, it would be best to perform only bodyweight exercises.

Best Lower Back Dumbbell Exercises for Strength & Mobility

Here’s a list of dumbbell lower back exercises that will help you improve your spinal strength and mobility as well as bolster your glutes, core, and hamstrings.

  • Good Morning
  • Bird Dog
  • DB Hyperextension
  • Glute Bridge
  • Romanian Deadlift
  • Dumbbell Superman
  • Dumbbell Aquaman
  • Lateral Hip Raise
  • Farmers Walk

These workouts are primarily for strengthening purposes, not for rehabs. Let’s see the benefits of each exercise and how to do them with step-by-step instructions.

1. Good Morning

The Good Morning is a strength and rehabilitation exercise that provides good stretch throughout your posterior chain muscles and builds up your hamstrings and lower back. This can also help reduce pain and improve mobility in your lower body.

How to do it:

Setup: Grab a dumbbell, hold it firmly between your arms, and stand straight with your feet hip-width apart.

Execution: Slightly bend your knees, push your hips back and lean forward until you feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings.

Finish: Hold for a couple of seconds and then slowly raise yourself in the beginning position.

Pro Tips:

  • Maintain a flat back during the movement.
  • Try to perform this exercise for a couple of minutes and avoid it if you feel uncomfortable because there are other exercises you can do for your lower back.

Recommended reps: 8-10 x 3

2. Bird Dog

Bird Dog Plank

The bird dog is one of Stuart McGill’s recommended exercises for solidifying the lower back.1 Low Back Exercises: Stuart McGill’s Big Three (2018) – American Council of Exercise

It helps stretch your hamstrings and lower back and improves balance and flexibility.

Bird Dog also bolsters your core strength, providing stability to your lower back and minimizing the risk of injuries.

How to do it:

Setup: Sit on all fours with your arms straight below your shoulders and hips aligned with your knees. Brace your core and keep your back as flat as possible.

Execution: Grab a dumbbell in your right hand and raise your arm in front of you and your left leg behind you simultaneously until they are parallel to the floor.

Finish: Hold for five seconds and then return to the start and repeat on the opposite side.

Pro Tips:

  • Keep your core tight and glutes engaged throughout the movement.
  • Use dumbbells that are light enough to hold them for ten seconds at least.

Recommended reps: 5 x 3 on each side.

3. Dumbbell Hyperextension

The hyperextension exercise increases lower body muscle strength, especially in the glutes and the lower back.

You can do it with and without dumbbells, depending on your fitness level. Doing this exercise with dumbbells will increase your muscle endurance and mobility throughout the posterior chain muscles.

How to do it:

Setup: Get on a 45-degree incline hip extension bench and position yourself in a proper manner. Grab a dumbbell with your hands and hold it close to your chest. That’s your starting position.

Execution: Tighten your hips, thighs, and glutes, and bend at your hips to lower your torso until you feel a stretch in your hamstring muscles.

Finish: Hold for a couple of seconds and then slowly raise your torso until your face hip is extended. That’s one rep.

Pro Tips:

  • This exercise aims to increase lower back stability, not muscle gain. That’s why you need to use a light dumbbell and perform with a proper form.
  • Try not to arch your back at the top. Sometimes, extending the hips too much can put excess strain on the spine and causes pain.

Recommended reps: 8-10 x 3

4. Glute Bridge

The glute bridge is an excellent way to build up strength in your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back.

Combining glute strengthening exercises with lumbar segmental stabilization exercises reduces low back pain and strengthens the lumbar muscle in chronic low back pain patients, a study published by the “Journal of Physical Therapy Science” suggested.2Jeong UC, Sim JH, Kim CY, Hwang-Bo G, Nam CW. The effects of gluteus muscle strengthening exercise and lumbar stabilization exercise on lumbar muscle strength and balance in chronic low back pain patientsJ Phys Ther Sci. 2015;27(12):3813-3816. doi:10.1589/jpts.27.3813

This exercise is suitable for all fitness enthusiasts, whether beginner or intermediate.

How to do it:

Setup: Lie on the mat with your knees bent and feet firmly on the floor. Place a dumbbell on your hips and keep your abdominal muscles tight. That’s the starting position.

Execution: Lift your hips off the floor until your knees are in line with your chest.

Finish: Hold for five to ten seconds, then slowly lower your hips back on the floor.

Pro Tips:

  • Your core should be tight throughout the movement.
  • Use your glutes and hamstring to thrust your hips.
  • Keep your feet around one foot away from your glutes to feel the optimal contraction.

Recommended reps: 10-12 x 3

5. Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift

Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift

The Dumbbell RDL is a deadlift variation that simultaneously reinforces lower back and hamstring muscles. It also increases joint strength, bone density, and muscle coordination.

A study has shown that RDL doesn’t directly enhance lumbar extension torque, but it helps improve both spinal strength and 1RM.3Fisher J, Bruce-Low S, Smith D. A randomized trial to consider the effect of Romanian deadlift exercise on the development of lumbar extension strengthPhys Ther Sport. 2013;14(3):139-145. doi:10.1016/j.ptsp.2012.04.001

So, it can be a good addition to your lower back dumbbell exercises list.

How to do it:

Setup: Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand upright with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your arms straight in front of your thighs with your palms facing in. That’s the start.

Execution: Pushing your hips back, bend your torso forward toward the floor until the dumbbells reach your shin height.

Finish: Pushing your heels into the floor, extend your hips until your torso is upright. That’s one rep.

Pro Tips:

  • You can softly bend your knees while lowering the dumbbells.
  • Keep your back as flat as possible throughout the movement.
  • Keep the dumbbells close to your body during the entire exercise.

Recommended reps: 6-8 x 3

6. Dumbbell Superman

Lower Back Dumbbell Exercises

Superman is an excellent way to target lower back muscles. It also strengthens the hamstrings and glutes and helps improve balance and flexibility.

It is a low-impact bodyweight strengthening exercise for the lower back, but you can also do it with dumbbells to level up your strength.

How to do it:

Setup: Lie prone on the floor with your legs straight behind you and arms extended in front of you. Grab a pair of light dumbbells and keep your head in a neutral position. That’s the beginning.

Execution: Raise both your arms and legs at the same time until you feel the contraction in your lower back. If it feels difficult for you, raise your arms only.

Finish: Hold for a moment and then return to the start.

Pro Tips:

  1. Perform each rep in a slow and controlled manner.
  2. Use light pair of dumbbells.

Recommended reps: 8-10 x 3

7. Unilateral Superman

The unilateral superman is an excellent way to increase your lower back strength. It is suitable for beginners as it requires you to use one arm and one leg at a time instead of both.

If your aim is to reduce back pain and increase lower back muscle strength, then this exercise will help that goal.

You can also do this using a dumbbell for greater benefits.

How to do it:

Setup: Lie on the floor with your face down and arms extended in front of you.

Execution: Grab a dumbbell in your right hand and raise your right arm and left leg simultaneously until your lower back is activated.

Finish: Pause for a moment and then return to the start.

Pro Tips:

  • Do not over-extend your lower back.
  • Keep your core engaged throughout the movement.

Recommended reps: 8-10 x 3

8. Lateral Bridge

The side bridge strengthens the lower back and reduces pain. Stuart McGill also included this movement in his three exercises.

It is usually performed with body weight, but you can also do it with dumbbells to challenge your strength.

The position of this exercise also engages oblique muscles and forges core.

How to do it:

Setup: Lay down on your right side with your forearm on the floor and your elbow underneath your shoulder. Bend your knees behind your glutes to 90 degrees. Hold a dumbbell with your left hand and place it on your side hip. That’s the start.

Execution: Lift your hips off the floor and hold them for five to ten seconds, depending on your strength.

Finish: Lower your hips back on the floor. Follow the same steps on your opposite side and repeat for the desired times.

Pro Tips:

  • Keep your core, glute, and thighs engaged throughout the movement.

Recommended reps: 8-10 x 3

9. Farmers Walk

The farmer’s walk is a total body workout that helps increase strength and endurance. It strengthens multiple muscles throughout the body, including the lower back. It is suitable for all fitness enthusiasts and worth including in your lower back dumbbell workout.

To perform this exercise, grab a pair of dumbbells in each hand with a neutral grip and stand upright. Walk as far as possible then return to the start.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you do dumbbell workouts if you have lower back pain?

These dumbbell lower back exercises are primarily for strengthening, not rehabilitation. If you have lower back pain, you can do bird dog, superman, side hip raise, and glute bridge without weight after consulting with your doctor.

Do these exercises improve posture?

Yes! All these workouts can help you improve your posture while strengthening your lower back.

Do these exercises help you get rid of lower back fat?

The exercises do not reduce lower back fats, calorie restriction does. They only strengthen your lower back muscles, bones, and joints. If you want to cut fat around your lower back area, lower your body fats through a calorie-restricted diet.

References

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Author
Murshid Akram
I'm an online personal trainer, fitness blogger, and fitness enthusiast. I love researching and writing about exercise and nutrition. I share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you achieve your desired fitness goal.

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