March 27, 2020 10 min read
Most people think an impressive built-up back has to be the result of hours in the gym, using machines and weights over and over. But this doesn’t have to be the case; did you know you can build fantastic back muscles using only bodyweight exercises at home? You can exercise all the muscle groups in your back using only your own bodyweight, which means you’ll never have to hit the gym or risk missing your back workout again!
We’re going to clearly explain all of the best bodyweight back exercises, so you can start your journey to looking like superman all from the comfort of your home. There’s a whole host of reasons you might want to do this, from saving money on a gym membership to just not being able to make a trip to the gym in the morning. There are a number of different muscle groups in your back; the lats, rhomboids, and traps all need to be thoroughly put through the paces. Whether you’re suffering from lower back pain, or just want to improve your physique, use our bodyweight back workouts to turn a good morning into a great one!
You have a huge amount of options for bodyweight back exercises, targeting a huge range of muscles in the upper and power body. We’ve compiled seven of our favorite bodyweight exercises to target back muscles here, while also engaging other areas such as your core, legs, arms, and shoulders. Lower back pain affects up to 49% of adults in the US, so these exercises can help to combat this.
Also known as the dand, or the downward-facing dog, the Hindu Push-Up engages your whole body and is rather more intense than a regular pushup. This bodyweight back exercise primarily hits your triceps, pectorals, and deltoids, however, it has the additional benefit of strengthening your hamstrings, glutes, and back muscles too. That makes the Hindu push up an excellent movement to add to your regular routine.
It’s important to stretch before performing a Hindu push-up, as otherwise, you might injure one of the many muscles activated by this bodyweight exercise. You can sit on the floor with your legs spread in a V, and stretch for ten seconds each towards your left foot, right foot, and to the middle. Once you’ve safely completed this muscle warm-up, you can get ready to start your exercise.
The Hindu push-up isn’t a completely back-targeting exercise, but it is an excellent all-around bodyweight movement to engage your back muscles alongside others. As with any type of push-up, do as many repetitions as you can without suffering bad form. Beginners may only be able to do 4 or 5 repetitions of this intense exercise, but with more practice, you should be able to do several sets in a smooth sweeping motion. If you need to, take an extra moment's rest at the peak upside-down V position of the push-up, between each repetition.
This intermediate bodyweight back exercise works out your trapezius muscles and lower back, as well as the deltoids and rhomboids in your upper back. Your core should be engaged as a stabilizing factor throughout this movement, which may look simple, but actually requires a huge amount of work and control from many muscle groups.
We recommend doing three sets of five reps of this back strengthening bodyweight exercise. This simple exercise is so easy to do at home, without any special equipment, and it only takes 10 minutes for a thorough bodyweight back workout.
The bird dog is a simple core exercise, but it has many benefits. This bodyweight workout helps improve your stability and posture, as well as helping to relieve lower back pain. Complete this exercise to strengthen the muscles in your hips and back as well as your core, and improve your all-around range of motion.
The bird dog may seem like a simple exercise, but it can work wonders to improve your overall back strength and health, and therefore posture. These improvements will make other exercises more effective, as your posture will be better and so your muscles are better engaged. Complete up to three sets of 10 reps as a part of your bodyweight back workout.
We all know that a regular plank is an excellent exercise for anyone to practice. However, you may not know about the Superman plank, an even more intense version. The core strength and stability required are even greater for this bodyweight exercise, as you’ll have to hold steady with two limbs instead of four. The Superman plank is also featured in our back and biceps workout, as it’s one of the best to strengthen your lower back.
The Superman plank is an advanced exercise, so don’t worry if you don’t quite have the core strength yet. You can practice the bird dog exercise and build up to a Superman, and slowly increase the time you hold the position. This back exercise requires no weights or equipment, yet it’s fully capable of bringing you up to superhero shape! Improve your core, back, abs, and glutes all at once with one of the best bodyweight training exercises.
Scapular push-ups involve a very small range of motion, the only movement is pushing together with your shoulder blades. However, the benefits of this tiny exercise include a better range of motion in your shoulders and better overall upper body strength. The muscle exercised in this workout is the serratus anterior, which when properly trained will help prevent injuries and improve shoulder mobility overall.
Do at least 10 repetitions of the scapular push up to fully exercise the muscles which stabilize your shoulder. This exercise will not only strengthen your bag but improve the range of motion in your shoulders overall, as well as helping to prevent injuries.
This variation of a traditional deadlift involves lifting one leg off the ground and extending it outward to balance. This engages more back and core muscles than a regular deadlift, as well as working out leg muscles. Using a single leg to deadlift is definitely a more intense workout, with much better engagement of your core. As well as strengthening your back muscles, the single-leg deadlift is a great exercise for improving balance.
This hip hinge movement is great for your overall mobility and flexibility while targeting your lower back muscles. As well as helping towards a strong back, the single-leg deadlift is a great workout for your glutes, and as always, core control is key. Begin with three sets of 10 reps with this movement, increasing the number of reps, and the time you hold the balance, to make this bodyweight back exercise more challenging.
If you’re just starting bodyweight training, and a lat pull down or pull up is too advanced for you, a bodyweight row is a perfect exercise. Unfortunately, you do need some equipment for this workout, however, it doesn’t have to be in the gym. A dipping bar is ideal, however, any railings such as a bike rack can work just as well. This rowing exercise works all of your pulling muscles, meaning a serious pressure on your upper back. Muscles worked include your traps, biceps, other back muscles, and all the stabilizing muscles too.
Make sure you follow this range of motions carefully for a super strong upper back workout. Keep your hands at shoulder width and remember to keep your elbows tucked in for full activation of your shoulders. Use your core throughout to keep your body in a straight line, you can use a higher bar to start with if it’s necessary for the correct form. Aim for three sets of 10 reps when completing bodyweight rows, and you’ll work up to a shredded back in no time.
There are so many benefits to incorporating a bodyweight back workout into your regular routine. We highly recommend including a variety of these exercises in your schedule, as they can really help on the way to a stronger and healthier back. Many of these exercises are also excellent for improving your balance, mobility, and even flexibility. Bodyweight exercises help to prevent future injury, require no equipment so you can complete them anywhere, and can be done at any time. Got 10 minutes to spare? Why not do a few single-leg deadlifts to exercise your lower back and flex your hip joints.
These back training exercises are easy to master, and once you have perfect form, you can increase reps and even add weights. Building your back muscles in the right way will improve your posture, help ease lower back pain, and build some serious core strength. Introduce these fantastic bodyweight back exercises into your weekly routine, and start working towards that superhero body!