The lower back is often one of the most under-trained muscle areas. The erector spinae supports the spine and glutes, so training the lower back is more important than most people realize!
This is especially true for people who have bad posture or experience lower back pain due to working a long office job.
On top of that, strengthening the lower back will also benefit the core muscles, which work together in a host of common exercises and everyday movements.
So don’t neglect your lower back by checking out our list of the 7 best low back dumbbell exercises for muscle gain and fat loss.
The following exercises will strengthen your lower back, build more lower back muscle definition, and promote fat loss by helping you to burn more calories!
1. Dumbbell Glute Bridges
Glute bridges are an accessible, beginner-friendly exercise that can be done anywhere as long as you have the space.
Adding a dumbbell to the exercise is simple as well, as all you have to do is hold it above your pelvis area.
Glute bridges target the glutes and lower back muscles. They will also improve your core strength, plus build strength and muscle in your quadriceps and hamstrings.
If you don’t have a dumbbell, you can also use any holdable object that’s relatively heavy.
How To Do A Dumbbell Glute Bridge
- Lie down on the floor on your back (ideally use a gym/yoga mat to make the exercise more comfortable)
- Bring your feet towards you, keeping them flat on the floor
- Hold the dumbbell above your pelvis area
- Push your feet into the floor and raise your hips, keeping a straight line from your shoulders to your knees
- Lower back down to complete one rep
For best glute bridge form, squeeze your glutes and lower back muscles at the top of each rep to achieve the best muscle contraction.
2. Bent Over Dumbbell Rows
Bent over rows are a back exercise that should be in everyone’s workout routine.
The exercise can be performed with light and heavy dumbbells, making it a universal exercise for all abilities and strengths. The technique and correct form are also simple to learn!
Bent over dumbbell rows target the primary back muscles, including the lats, rhomboids, and traps.
Since the exercise is performed in a bent-over position, the movement also activates the lower back muscles.
How To Do A Bent-Over Dumbbell Row
- With your feet close together and knees bent, bend forwards so that your back is arched at a 45-degree angle
- Hold the dumbbells with straight arms, then lift the dumbbells to your stomach with your arms tucked at your side
- Pull your elbows back to fully engage your back muscles
- Lower your arms in front of you to complete one rep
For best bent over row form, make sure to keep your back arched to activate your lower back muscles.
Depress your shoulders, pull your elbows back, and squeeze your back muscles to maximize the effectiveness of the exercise.
3. Farmer’s Walk
The farmer’s walk exercise replicates a farmer walking with heavy buckets, hence the name!
It’s a highly effective exercise that works the forearms, core, quads, glutes, hamstrings, traps, lats, and lower back, due to the high amount of tension put on the muscles while walking.
Farmer’s walks are typically performed with heavy dumbbells, but they can still be performed with a low amount of weight if you’re a beginner who’s new to the exercise.
The exercise simply involves walking while holding a pair of dumbbells by your side!
How To Do A Dumbbell Farmer’S Walk
- Lift a pair of dumbbells with both hands, using a neutral grip
- Walk for time or a set distance!
For best farmer’s walk form, make sure to depress your shoulders (keep your shoulders lowered) throughout the exercise while proactively engaging all your muscles, including your core muscles and lower back.
4. One Leg Romanian Deadlifts
One-leg Romanian deadlifts are an effective variation of the deadlift.
Other than using dumbbells instead of a barbell, one-leg Romanian deadlifts differ from deadlifts by how both legs are kept straight throughout the exercise.
One-leg Romanian deadlifts are also called single-leg Romanian deadlifts.
The exercise involves lowering a dumbbell with one hand as the opposite leg is extended behind – activating the lower back. As a result, one-leg Romanian deadlifts improve both strength and balance.
How To Do A One-Leg Romanian Deadlift
- Stand straight with your feet placed close together, holding a dumbbell in one hand
- Bend forwards and lower the dumbbell to your feet while raising the opposite leg behind you
- Return to an upright position to complete one rep, then perform the next rep with the dumbbell in your other hand
For best one leg Romanian deadlift form, aim to create a perfect line from your shoulders to your toes (on your raised leg) when you lower the dumbbell, and try to keep both legs as straight as possible.
5. Dumbbell Good Mornings
Good mornings are an underutilized exercise that provides a good contraction of the lower back muscles.
It simply involves bending over, maintaining a straight back, before returning to an upright standing position.
To perform dumbbell good mornings, you can hold the weight at your chest or behind your head. The latter is more effective, but might feel uncomfortable.
So choose whichever dumbbell placement feels best for you!
How To Do A Dumbbell Good Morning
- Hold a single dumbbell with both hands close to your chest or behind your neck
- With your feet shoulder-width apart, bend forwards until your back is horizontal
- Return to an upright posture to complete one rep
For best good morning form, keep your knees slightly bent and make sure to arch your back to fully engage your lower back muscles.
Lower your upper body to a horizontal position and keep your back arched as you return upright.
6. Dumbbell Hyperextensions
Hyperextensions are one of the best lower back exercises you can do if you have access to a gym.
The exercise involves locking your feet in place, bending forwards, then raising your upper body using core strength and lower back strength.
To perform dumbbell hyperextensions, simply hold a dumbbell close to your chest as you do the exercise.
This is a lot harder than regular hyperextensions, but also means achieving a stronger, more muscular lower back!
How To Do A Dumbbell Hyperextension
- Using a hyperextension bench, lock your feet in place under the cushioned pads
- Position your pelvis on the higher pads so that it’s possible for you to bend forwards at the hips
- Holding a dumbbell at your chest, lower your upper body as far as possible
- Raise your upper body to complete one rep
For best hyperextension form, engage your core and lower back muscles to keep your back straight throughout the exercise.
7. Dumbbell Reverse Hyperextensions
Now here’s an exercise you won’t see often in the gym: reverse hyperextensions with a dumbbell!
And these are just as effective, if not more effective, at hitting the lower back muscles than regular hyperextensions.
It can be difficult to set up dumbbell reverse hyperextensions, as you’ll need to position the dumbbell (before you get on the gym bench) so that you can lift it with your feet/lower calves.
It’s more than possible to do, however, and will work your glutes and hamstrings in addition to your lower back muscles.
How To Do A Dumbbell Reverse Hyperextension
- Place an flat-sided dumbbell about leg’s length away from the end of a gym bench in an upright position
- Lie on the gym bench (flat on your stomach) with your waist positioned at the edge of the bench
- Lock your heels or lower calves beneath the top part of the dumbbell
- Grip the bench and raise your legs off the floor until your body is in a straight line from your shoulders to your toes
- Lower your legs to complete one rep
For best reverse hyperextension form, make sure to keep your legs straight (don’t bend your knees) as you raise them.
Squeeze your glutes and lower back muscles for a full contraction to increase the effectiveness of the exercise.
And that wraps up our list of the 7 best low back dumbbell exercises for muscle gain or fat loss.
The above exercises will build lower back strength and muscle while helping you to shed your body’s fat stores by burning calories.
Just make sure to use a dumbbell weight that’s challenging but not too heavy in a way that reduces your form.
Include these exercises in your back day routine as workout finishers that will improve both your back and core strength!