8 Amazing Dumbbell Home Workouts To Strengthen Your Lats

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Last Updated on December 20, 2022 by admin

We all know you can get an amazing workout at home, but if you’re on a budget or have other constraints such as time, it may be hard for you to get your hands on equipment such as machines and barbells that give you the ripped aesthetic you want.

You may just have a bench and dumbbells, but we’re here to tell you that is plenty! Especially for a good lat workout. But where do you start?

Below, you’ll find 8 amazing dumbbell home workouts to strengthen your lats (i.e. latissimus dorsi) to sculpt and hone your back. But first, let’s take a look at why dumbbell exercises and lat workouts go hand in hand.

What Are Lats?

Lats are large, thick, V-shaped muscles in your back that reach from your shoulders to your waist. When you pull and adduct an object, you’re giving your lats a workout!

Pull-ups are a good example of a great workout for your back that fully engages your lats.

How Do Dumbbell Exercises Improve Your Lats?

The dumbbell is a terrific piece of exercise equipment that gives you a better range of motion and helps you hone in on your lats when you work out.

Bent-over row, dumbbell rowing, and I-Y-T raises are some of the most effective dumbbell lat exercises to strengthen your latissimus dorsi muscle and your back overall. 

However, it should be said that lat workouts with dumbbells isn’t as effective as working out your lats with machines and barbells, but if they’re all you have to hand then they’ll do.

Barbell bent over, barbell deadlifts, inverted row, pull-ups and rowing are considered the best exercises for working out your lats. 

Barbell exercises are normally considered to be more dangerous than dumbbell workouts. This is because barbells are larger than dumbbells and because barbell exercises are harder to disengage when compared to dumbbells. 

Although dumbbell and barbell lats workouts are normally safe and simple to perform, if you have hip or lower back issues you may discover that barbell exercises can aggravate this injury and can be quite comfortable, especially when compared to dumbbell exercises that are supported by the arms and the chest.

To improve your body composition and build strength in your lats then the exercises we have listed below are sure to do the trick. 

Dumbbell Bent Over Row

If you’re looking to develop an unmistakably V-shaped back then this is the exercise for you!

A study by the ACE (American Council of Exercise) actually proved this when they asked 19 healthy men aged between 18 and 25 to perform 8 different back exercises using either 70% of 1-RM or body weight.

They repeated each exercise five times, resting in between sets for 2 minutes. These exercises were bent-over row, chin-up, inverted row, I-Y-T raises, lat pull-down, pull up, and TRX row. 

The study found that the bent-over was the most effective exercise for lats. So if you can’t do pull-ups or pull-downs, the dumbbell bent-over row would be the next best thing!

Further research found that the standing bent-over row was responsible for equal activation across the back. However, it also yielded the largest lumbar spine load, and so the study recommended adding core exercises to decrease the lumbar load.

But if you use lightweight dumbbells you shouldn’t have this issue. 

Dumbbell Bent Over Step-By-Step

Take one dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip and your palms facing each other. Stand upright with your feet as wide as your shoulders. 

Bend your knees slightly and push your hips back so you can lean forward and keep a flat-back position, holding your core tight.

You can look down or straight ahead, but you must keep your back as straight as you can.

Bring the dumbbells out to the sides until you feel your back muscles contract fully. Make sure your chest is tilting slightly up and your elbows are at your sides.

Squeezing your back muscles, hold for a moment and then gradually bring the dumbbells back to the start position.

Do 8-10 reps x 3 sets. 

Things To Remember

Inhale before rowing and exhale after you complete a rep. 

Hold your core tight throughout.

Once you’re at the beginning position again, make sure to do so slowly to fully engage your muscles.

Keep a neutral spine and remain bent, as rounding your back puts more pressure on your spine that can lead to injury.

What makes dumbbells great is their range of motion so make sure to make use of this by playing with angles. 

Dumbbell Bent-Arm Pull-Over Lat Workout

Whether a dumbbell pullover is a back or chest workout is a topic of debate among fitness enthusiasts, but a bent-arm pullover is undeniably beneficial for your back muscles.

This may not be apparent at first, but after trying a bent-arm pullover and a straight arm pull-over, you’ll notice the difference. 

However, everyone’s body is unique and yours may respond in another way. However, a dumbbell pull-over is a compound workout that will certainly be useful in developing an athletic physique. 

Dumbbell Pull-Over Step-By-Step

Lying flat on a bench, take one dumbbell with your hands, with your feet placed firmly on the floor. 

Keep your arms straight over your chest with your palms facing each other and your elbows bent slightly. 

Brace your core and stretch the weights up and over your head until your arms are fully extended. The dumbbell should be behind your head but not below it.

Once you’ve hit full contraction, hold for a couple of seconds and then return your arms slowly to the starting position over your chest.

Do 8-10 reps and 3 sets. 

Things To Remember

To engage your lats, keep your elbows bent slightly rather than keeping your arms straight. 

Make sure the dumbbell is as close to you as possible.

Slightly spread your elbows so that your lats are fully activated.

Go slow to fully engage your muscles. Going too fast will not yield the best results.

If this movement is new to you, start with light dumbbells. 

Dumbbell Deadlift

8 Amazing Dumbbell Home Workouts To Strengthen Your Lats

This is a compound workout that engages several muscles such as the lats! You can also do a dumbbell conventional deadlift to strengthen and hone your back. 

Dumbbell Deadlift Step-By-Step

Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart and with one dumbbell in each hand.

With your palms turned in straight, put your arms straight in front of you.

Push your hips back, bend your knees slightly, and lower the weight to your shin, making sure your back stays flat.

Take a deep breath in and engage your lash, grounding into the floor with your feet to return to a standing position. 

Do 4-6 reps and 3 sets, taking a 2-3 minutes rest in between. 

Dumbbell Pull-Up Superman

The pull-up Superman is a great workout for your lats, especially at home and especially with dumbbells! Plus, it helps to correct poor posture and makes your lower back stronger. Win-win!

Dumbbell Pull-Up Superman Step-By-Step

Lie on your belly on the floor with your arms stretched out in front of you and your palms facing down. Take a dumbbell in each hand and extend your legs backwards, keeping them straight.

Lift your arms off the floor and – as the name suggests – strike your best Superman flying pose! Bring your elbows close to your chest until you feel the muscles in your back contracting.

Hold for a minute and then return your arms to their original position.

Do 8-10 reps and 3 sets.

Things To Remember

Make sure your arms don’t touch the floor during the workout.

Make sure your chest is slightly lifted so when you pull your arms they come to your chest.

To complete the workout, we recommend using light dumbbells.

Keep looking ahead for the duration of the workout.

Go slowly to fully engage your muscles, as the workout won’t be as effective if you go too fast. 

Dumbbell Rowing

Dumbbell rowing is a compound workout that engages several muscles simultaneously – the lats included!

If you don’t have access to machines and barbells, it’s one of the most effective dumbbell lat exercises to get your lats nice and engaged. 

However, this isn’t just a great back exercise. It’s also a great exercise for your arms, core, and your delts. It also improves your posture, your athleticism, and makes you stronger overall. 

Dumbbell Rowing Step-By-Step

With a dumbbell in your right hand, put your knee on an incline or flat bench and keep your right foot firm on the ground by the end of the bench. 

With your left arm resting straight on the bench, keep your right arm straight just below your shoulder. 

To row the dumbbell, bring your elbow out to the side until it’s aligned with your chest. Hold for a second to tighten your back muscles, then gradually bring it back to the starting position. 

Do 8-10 reps and 3 sets on both sides. 

Things To Remember

Make sure to keep your core engaged.

When bringing the dumbbell up, squeeze your shoulder blades together.

Don’t arch your back.

Make sure your head remains parallel to the bench.

Keep your shoulders slightly higher than your hips.

When rowing, use your elbow rather than your hand. This better activates your back muscles and decreases wrist movement. For the best results, perform each rep in a controlled motion. 

Dumbbell Spiderman Pull-Ups

8 Amazing Dumbbell Home Workouts To Strengthen Your Lats

We’ve had Superman, now let’s take a look at dumbbell Spiderman pull-ups! They are an amazing at-home exercise, as they are a functional movement that you can easily integrate into your workout routine.

It’s also great for those who are just starting their fitness journey but you can tailor it to be more challenging too.

With a pair of dumbbells you can transform Spiderman pull-ups from a simple body weight workout into a challenging strength training workout. They not only engage your lats, but strengthen your lower back and your shoulders.

In fact, they’re commonly used in ROM workouts and mobility drills.

They’re also a great test of your core stability and strength, putting your balance to the test. Plus, because your legs and arms are off the floor your hamstrings and glutes will be engaged. 

To start, we recommend using lighter dumbbells at first and then build up to heavier dumbbells with more practice. 

Dumbbell Spiderman Pull-Ups Step-By-Step

Start by placing your dumbbells on the floor in front of you. Lay down on your belly, face down, with your arms stretched out straight in front of you, and your legs extended behind. 

Lift the dumbbells to your chest and lift your chest, legs, and arms off the floor. 

With your elbows bent, bring your dumbbells towards you until they are parallel to the chest. Stop for a moment before spreading your elbows to return the dumbbells in front of you.

Things To Remember

What makes dumbbell spiderman pulls up unique is that – unlike some exercises – they are both a pulling and pushing exercise, that engages your biceps, chest, shoulders, and triceps as well as back muscles like lats. 

This exercise is ideal for those with little time and who just want to concentrate on workouts that engage the muscles. 

Incline Dumbbell Lying Row

This workout is a great workout for your lats at home and at the gym. It lets you specifically target your lats allowing you to sculpt your back muscles and make them stronger. 

Incline Dumbbell Rowing

Put your bench at a 45-degree incline position.

Put a pair of dumbbells below the bench.

Lie down flat on the chest, with your chest at the end and keep your arms straight and down.

Grab the dumbbell with your palms turned inward.

Engage your back muscles and row the dumbbells up before returning to your original position.

Do 8 to 12 reps and 3 sets, with 2-3 minutes rest in between. 

Dumbbell I-Y-T Raises

The dumbbell I-Y-T raises is not the most popular dumbbell workout for your lats, but it does wonders for your back strength. You can do it in several variations, such as flat, incline, seated, and standing. 

It is a compound exercise that works a lot of muscles at once, like the upper trap and rear delt. If you want an exercise that is basically multiple exercises rolled into one, then this is the perfect exercise!

Dumbbell I-Y-T raises are an amazing exercise for your back muscles, particularly your lats. This is because adduction movements are involved, and adduction is what really gets your lats working. 

This exercise is also pretty simple to do. As the name suggests, I-Y-T raises are made up of three steps. You make an ‘I’ shape with your torso, then a ‘Y’ shape, and then a ‘T’ shape.

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

Dumbbell I-Y-T Raises Step-By-Step

Lie flat on your stomach on a 3-degree incline bench.

Take a pair of dumbbells and keep your arms straight and just below your shoulder, with your palms facing inwards.

Plant your feet firmly on the ground and plant your torso firmly on the bench. This is the ‘I’ shape.

To move on to ‘T’ lift your arms until they’re in line with your forehead. Maintain this for a few seconds and then gradually bring the dumbbells back to the start position.

For the ‘Y’ shape, lift your arms at a 45-degree angle (think of the Superman pose) while knitting your shoulder blades together. Maintain this position for a few seconds and then gradually bring the dumbbells to the lower position.

To carry out the final step, lift your arms completely to your sides so you form a 9-degree angle. Maintain this for a few seconds and then gradually bring them towards the ground. 

Do 8-10 reps and 3 sets. 

Things To Remember

Keep your neck at the corner of the bench, facing outside so that you can exercise in an optimal range of motion.

Go slowly to fully engage your muscles for the best results. 

Don’t arch your back. To achieve this, fully plant your torso on the bench. Rounding your lower back can be pretty painful.

To ensure you complete the set, use light dumbbells. You can challenge yourself to heavier dumbbells in time and with practice

Can Dumbbell Workouts Make Your Back Wider?

To achieve a wider back and carve a V-shaped back by using dumbbells, you have to perform the most effective dumbbell exercises for your lats, infraspinatus, and traps. 

Dumbbell exercises like dumbbell bent-over rowing, deadlifts, pullovers, and rowing are some of the greatest workouts you can perform with dumbbells to achieve a wider back. 

Still, dumbbell workouts aren’t the be-all-and-end-all and barbell exercises such as pull-ups and pull-downs should be done whenever you get the chance.

If you want a super strong back, you need to perform the greatest compound back workouts at the gym for the best results. 

How To Get The Most Out Of Dumbbell Lat Exercises

Just like with workout, your form and technique are crucial.

This means using lighter dumbbells at first to better focus on controlled and gradual moments that will give you the best results, rather than trying to lift weights that are too heavy for you right now.

This will most likely lead to you using a rocking motion or your momentum to lift the dumbbells, which can hurt you. 

What makes dumbbell lat exercises so great is that they can be easily done at home. They’re very accessible exercises that don’t require an expensive gym membership.

If you want to get the best out of your workouts, buying a pair of adjustable dumbbells can make a world of difference as they allow you to smoothly alternate weight between sets or reps. 

Generally, if you opt for heavy weights with lower reps, it is better for power and strength. Meanwhile, if you use lighter dumbbells with higher reps, it helps you define your lats and burn fat.

We recommend starting with 6 and 12 reps per set to start off. 

There are lots of ways to incorporate dumbbell lat exercises in your workouts. You can set aside one day a week for these lat workouts with dumbbells or mix them in with your more general exercises, like full-body workouts. 

If you’re interested in using dumbbells when training at home to improve your lats, the exercises we mentioned above would be great inclusions into your workout routine.

Or you may just want to use them occasionally to mix up your workouts and keep things fresh. 

A common training method would be to pick 5 exercises from our list and do 3 sets of them.

You can combine these dumbbell lat workouts with some bicep workouts to make your exercise more efficient, as both your lats and your biceps get a workout when utilizing pulling movements.

Final Thoughts

We hope our article has inspired you for your next lat workout! The exercises we mentioned are great for your back muscles as a whole, not just the lats.

While we wouldn’t recommend relying solely on these exercises to strengthen your lats, they are still efficient workouts that go a long way in growing your lats.

If you can’t get your hands on gym equipment, these workouts would be a great alternative to developing your lats.

If you do go to the gym however, we still recommend integrating these workouts in your back workout routine to see the best results.