Bodyweight back exercises are an excellent method to enhance and shape the muscles in your back without requiring any equipment. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned fitness enthusiast, adding bodyweight exercises to your workout routine can enhance posture, boost overall strength, and deter future back pain. In this blog post, we will uncover various bodyweight exercises that specifically target both extrinsic and intrinsic muscle groups in the back. From supermans to plank rows, there are exercises suitable for individuals of all fitness levels. So let’s dive right in and explore how you can effectively strengthen your back using solely the weight of your own body!
Muscle groups worked during bodyweight back exercises
Bodyweight back exercises pack a powerful punch by engaging multiple muscle groups all at once. It’s crucial to grasp which muscles are at play in order to make the most out of your workout and achieve stellar outcomes. In this section, we’ll delve into the nitty-gritty of the specific muscle groups that come alive during bodyweight back exercises – both the extrinsic and intrinsic back muscles. By comprehending how these muscles harmoniously collaborate, you can fine-tune your workout routine and effortlessly fortify your back. So, without further ado, let’s plunge into these marvelous muscle clusters!
Extrinsic back muscles
The extrinsic back muscles are a vital group of muscles that provide valuable support and stability to the spine, while also aiding in movement in the upper body. These muscles are responsible for essential actions like pulling, lifting, and squeezing.
One standout muscle in this group is the trapezius muscle, which runs from the base of my skull down to my mid-back area. The trapezius muscle assists with shoulder movements and helps me maintain good posture.
Another important muscle is called the latissimus dorsi, commonly known as the lats. This wide muscle spans across my back and connects to my arms. It enables me to pull and lift objects closer to my body.
Moreover, I have the rhomboids situated between my shoulder blades. They work hand in hand with other muscles to pull back and stabilize my shoulder blades.
To effectively engage these extrinsic back muscles during bodyweight exercises, it’s crucial for me to focus on practicing proper form and technique. When done correctly, I can optimize their activation and ensure a safe workout experience. In the following section, we will delve into some recommended bodyweight exercises specifically designed to target these extrinsic back muscles.
Intrinsic back muscles
The intrinsic back muscles are an important group of muscles that play a key role in maintaining proper posture and supporting the spine. They are located deep within the back and consist of several smaller muscles, including the erector spinae, multifidus, and semispinalis.
These muscles work together to extend and rotate the spine, allowing for movements such as bending backward and twisting. By strengthening these muscles, you can improve your overall posture, reduce the risk of back pain, and enhance stability in your core.
To target the intrinsic back muscles effectively, it’s important to focus on exercises that involve extension and rotation of the spine. Some great bodyweight exercises for targeting these muscles include:
- Superman: Lie facedown on a mat with your arms extended overhead. Lift your arms, chest, and legs off the floor simultaneously while squeezing your glutes. Hold for a few seconds before lowering down.
- Reverse snow angel: Lie facedown on a mat with your forehead resting on your hands. Engage your core and lift your chest off the floor as you extend your arms out to the sides in a sweeping motion like a snow angel. Return to starting position.
- Prone pull: Start in a high plank position with handle grips or TRX straps hanging from an overhead anchor point. Keeping your body in a straight line, pull yourself towards the handles by squeezing your shoulder blades together.
- Plank row: Begin in a high plank position with small dumbbells or kettlebells beside each hand. Grab one weight at a time and pull it up towards your side while keeping your body stable.
- Banded row: Loop a resistance band around a sturdy anchor point at chest height level. Grab onto both ends of the band with palms facing each other. Step back until there is tension in the band then pull both handles towards you while squeezing your shoulder blades together.
By incorporating these exercises into your workout routine, you can effectively target and strengthen your intrinsic back muscles to improve posture, stability and reduce the risk of back pain.
How to perform bodyweight back exercises
To get started with bodyweight back exercises, it’s important to understand the proper form and technique. By following these steps, you can ensure that you are effectively targeting your back muscles and maximizing the benefits of your workout.
First, let’s start with a basic exercise: the superman. Lie facedown on the floor with your arms extended overhead and your legs straight. As you inhale, lift your chest, arms, and legs off the ground, squeezing your glutes and lower back muscles. Hold this position for a few seconds before slowly lowering back down.
Another great exercise is the reverse snow angel. Lie facedown on the floor with your arms by your sides. Contracting your lower back, squeeze your shoulder blades together as you lift your arms and legs off the ground in a sweeping motion like a snow angel. Lower them back down to complete one rep.
Next up is the prone pull, which targets both your upper and lower back muscles. Start by lying facedown on an exercise mat or bench with a barbell within reach. Grip the barbell with an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your body straight, pull yourself up towards the barbell by squeezing your shoulder blades together.
For those looking for a more challenging exercise, try the plank row using dumbbells or kettlebells. Begin in a high plank position with each hand grasping a weight directly below each shoulder. Engage your core to keep your body stable as you lift one weight off the ground while maintaining a strong plank position. Slowly lower it back down and repeat on the other side.
If you have access to resistance bands, try incorporating the banded row into your workout routine. Securely anchor one end of the band to a sturdy object at waist height while holding onto the other end in each hand. Step back until there is tension in the band and then pull your hands towards your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
For those who prefer seated exercises, the seated pulldown is an excellent option. Sit on a bench or chair with your feet flat on the floor and a resistance band securely looped around a pole or anchor point overhead. Grab the handles of the resistance band with an overhand grip and pull them down towards your chest, engaging your back muscles throughout the movement.
Another challenging exercise that can be done with minimal equipment is the wide grip pullup. Find a sturdy bar or ledge that you can hang from with an overhand grip that is wider than shoulder-width apart. Brace your core and engage your lats as you pull your body up towards the bar, chin above it. Slowly lower back to the starting position and repeat for a complete set.
If you have access to a suspension trainer like TRX handles, try incorporating the inverted row into your workout routine. Adjust the straps so that they are at knee height and grasp each handle with an overhand grip. Walk back until there is tension in the straps and then straighten your body while keeping a neutral spine. Pull yourself up towards the handles by squeezing your shoulder blades together before slowly lowering back down.
The bird dog exercise is great for targeting not only your back but also your core muscles. Begin in a tabletop position on all fours with knees under hips and hands under shoulders. Extend one arm out in front of you while simultaneously extending the opposite leg behind you until they are
Bodyweight back exercises you can do at home
If you’re searching for great back exercises that you can effortlessly do at home, your search ends here! In this section, we will uncover a range of bodyweight exercises that zero in on various muscle groups in your back. The best part? These exercises won’t demand fancy equipment and can be seamlessly integrated into your home workout routine. It doesn’t matter whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned fitness enthusiast, there’s definitely something suitable for each and every one of you right here. So let’s jump straight into these incredible bodyweight exercises and begin the journey towards building a stronger and more sculpted back, all from the comfort of our own homes.
The Superman exercise is one of my favorite workouts for strengthening my lower back, glutes, and abs without needing any equipment. It’s super effective and can be done anywhere! Plus, it’s simple to do.
To start, I just lie face down on a comfy yoga mat, making sure my legs are straight and toes are pointed. Then, I extend my arms overhead with my palms facing each other. This position helps me engage my core right from the get-go.
Now comes the fun part – simultaneously lifting my arms, chest, and legs off the floor as high as possible! I try to create a nice straight line from my head all the way down to my toes. It feels like I’m flying like Superman!
Once I reach the top, I hold that position for a few seconds before slowly lowering myself back down to where I started. It’s important to control the movement and not just flop back onto the ground. This variation helps me work on both strength and stability.
I aim to complete 10 reps of this exercise before taking a breather. But if you want an extra challenge like me, you can try lifting one arm and opposite leg at the same time while still keeping proper form. It really engages your muscles in a different way!
Throughout the exercise, remember to keep your neck in a neutral position and focus on squeezing those glute muscles tight. Trust me; you’ll feel it!
Not only does the Superman exercise help strengthen our core stability but also work wonders for our back muscles too! Talk about hitting two birds with one stone or should I say one workout?
Give this exercise a try during your next bodyweight back workout routine. You won’t regret it – flying through your fitness journey has never been more fun!
Reverse snow angel
To target your upper and lower back muscles, try the Reverse Snow Angel exercise. Begin by lying facedown on the floor with your arms extended above your head and palms facing down. Keep your legs straight and toes pointed towards the ground. Engage your core and squeeze your glutes to keep your body stable throughout the movement.
Slowly raise your arms off the ground while keeping them straight, aiming to reach as high as possible without lifting any other part of your body off the ground. As you raise your arms, maintain a slight bend in your elbows and imagine drawing a snow angel shape in reverse.
Pause at the top of the movement for a second before slowly lowering your arms back to starting position. Repeat for a complete set.
The Reverse Snow Angel targets both the extrinsic and intrinsic muscles of the back, helping to improve overall strength, flexibility, and posture. It also engages other stabilizing muscles such as the glutes, core, and shoulders for an effective full-body workout.
Pro tip: Focus on maintaining controlled movements throughout this exercise rather than relying on momentum for better muscle engagement.
When it comes to the plank row, all you need is a little space and determination. Start by getting into a high plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart and your body forming a straight line. Your core should be engaged, and don’t forget to activate those back muscles!
Now, it’s time to lower one arm towards the floor while keeping your torso stable and hips in check. Aim to bring your arm parallel to the ground, making sure to keep that elbow close. Imagine as if you’re pulling yourself up towards the ceiling using your mighty back muscles.
Take a brief pause at the bottom before slowly returning to the starting point. Repeat this motion for an energizing 30 seconds before switching arms. Feel free to perform 2 sets of this exercise during your workout session.
The beauty of the plank row lies in its ability to target multiple muscle groups, including upper and lower back muscles along with core stabilizers like glutes and abdominals. You’ll not only improve your posture but also strengthen your back while boosting flexibility and overall stability.
If you’re on the hunt for a challenging yet rewarding exercise that requires minimal equipment and can be done anywhere, give the plank row a whirl!
Want to level up your back muscles and get stronger? Then consider adding the Banded Row to your workout routine. Trust me, this exercise hits all the right spots, targeting both your extrinsic back muscles and intrinsic back muscles.
Here’s how you do it: First, find a cozy spot on the floor and sit down with your legs stretched out in front of you. Now grab a resistance band and wrap it around the soles of your feet. Perfect, now hold onto each end of the band with your hands, making sure your palms are facing each other. Ready? Now start pulling that band towards your chest by bending those elbows of yours. And don’t forget to squeeze those shoulder blades together as you execute each rep!
Remember, good form is key! So make sure to maintain proper posture throughout your entire set. The beauty of the Banded Row is that it doesn’t require any fancy equipment or a gym membership. You can perform this killer exercise literally anywhere – at home or on-the-go.
So what are you waiting for? Give the Banded Row a shot and watch as your back muscles transform into lean, mean powerhouses!
To target your back muscles and improve upper body strength, try the seated pulldown exercise. This exercise primarily focuses on your intrinsic back muscles. To perform the seated pulldown:
- Sit on a weight machine or use resistance bands anchored above your head.
- Grab the bar or handles with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your chest up and shoulders down.
- Pull the bar or handles towards your chest by squeezing your back muscles.
- Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for a complete set of reps.
Make sure to engage your core during this exercise to maintain proper form and avoid lower back strain. Aim for 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions, gradually increasing weight as you become comfortable with the movement.
Keep in mind that using proper form is crucial to prevent injury and maximize results. If you’re unsure about performing this exercise correctly, it’s recommended to seek guidance from a certified personal trainer who can provide expert advice and customize a workout plan tailored to your needs.
Wide grip pullup
To target your upper back muscles and build a strong and defined physique, wide grip pullups are an excellent bodyweight exercise. Start by hanging from a pullup bar with your palms facing away from you and your hands spread wider than shoulder-width apart. Engage your core and squeeze your glutes to maintain proper form throughout the exercise. As you pull yourself up, focus on bringing your chest towards the bar while keeping your elbows in line with your shoulders. Lower yourself down in a controlled manner to complete one repetition. Wide grip pullups are an effective way to strengthen your back muscles and improve your pulling strength.
To target your back muscles and strengthen your upper body, try the inverted row exercise. This bodyweight exercise is a great option for beginners looking to build strength and improve posture.
- Set up a bar at waist height or use a suspension trainer.
- Lie on your back underneath the bar or the straps of the suspension trainer.
- Grab onto the bar or straps with an overhand grip, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Lift your chest off the ground and engage your core.
- Keep your body straight as you pull your chest toward the bar or straps by squeezing your shoulder blades together.
- Lower yourself back down to the starting position with control.
The inverted row targets both the extrinsic and intrinsic back muscles. It primarily works the latissimus dorsi muscle, which is responsible for pulling motions such as rows and pull-ups. Additionally, it engages other important back muscles including the rhomboids, trapezius, and posterior deltoids.
Incorporating inverted rows into your workout routine can help improve posture, increase upper body strength, and reduce the risk of lower back pain. Remember to focus on proper form and engage those back muscles throughout each rep!
To target your back muscles effectively, try the Suspended Row exercise. This bodyweight exercise is a great addition to your home workout routine. You’ll need a suspension trainer or gymnastic rings for this exercise.
- Start by setting up the suspension trainer at an appropriate height.
- Stand facing the suspension trainer and grab the handles with an overhand grip.
- Lean back, walking your feet forward until your body forms a straight line from head to heels.
- Keep your core engaged and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
- Pull yourself up towards the handles, keeping your elbows close to your sides.
- Pause at the top of the exercise, then slowly lower yourself back down.
Repeat for a complete set of reps, making sure to maintain proper form throughout the exercise. The suspended row engages multiple muscles in your back, including the extrinsic and intrinsic back muscles, as well as other supporting muscle groups like the biceps and core.
Incorporating suspended rows into your workout routine helps improve upper body strength and posture while targeting specific muscle groups in your back.
To target your back and core muscles, try the Bird Dog exercise. This bodyweight exercise is great for beginners and can be done anywhere. Start by getting into a quadruped position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Engage your core and extend one arm forward while extending the opposite leg straight back. Your body should form a straight line from fingertips to toes. Hold this position for a few seconds, then return to the starting position and switch sides. Repeat this exercise for a complete set, alternating sides each time. The Bird Dog helps improve posture, stability, and overall back strength.
Hip hinge (good morning)
The hip hinge, also known as the good morning exercise, is an amazing workout that targets your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. This movement imitates bending over at the hips with a straight spine for maximum results. It not only strengthens your back muscles but also boosts flexibility and stability in your core.
- Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes slightly turned out.
- Place your hands behind your head or cross them over your chest.
- Engage your core and keep a slight bend in your knees as you go.
- Slowly lean forward from the hips while maintaining a flat back and keeping your focus ahead.
- Lower your torso until you feel a gentle stretch in your hammies, but remember to avoid rounding your lower back.
- Once you reach this position, use your glutes and hammies to get back up to the start.
Pro tip: You can make the hip hinge more challenging by using different resistance bands or holding dumbbells.
Include the hip hinge in your routine of bodyweight back exercises for better posture, increased strength, and reduced risk of back pain.
Looking to strengthen your back muscles and improve your overall fitness? Incorporating bodyweight exercises into your workouts can be a fantastic way to achieve both goals. By using nothing more than the weight of your own body, you can challenge and engage various muscle groups in your back, including the extrinsic and intrinsic muscles.
To help you get started, here are some effective bodyweight back exercises that you can do at home without any equipment:
- Superman: Lie face down on the floor with your arms extended in front of you. Lift both your upper body and legs off the floor simultaneously while keeping your core engaged. Hold for a few seconds before lowering back down.
- Reverse snow angel: Lie face down on the floor with your arms extended out by your sides. Keeping your head neutral, lift both arms off the ground as if making a snow angel in reverse motion. Return to starting position.
- Prone pull: Begin in a push-up position with your palms facing down and directly beneath your shoulders. Lower yourself towards the ground while squeezing your shoulder blades together
- Plank row: Start in a plank position with hands directly under shoulders and feet hip-width apart. Keeping core tight, row one arm at a time up towards chest while maintaining stability through hips.
- Banded row: Secure an exercise band around a sturdy object or anchor point above head height. Stand facing the anchor point with feet hip-width apart, holding one end of the band in each hand. Bend knees slightly and hinge forward at hips, then pull bands toward ribcage by squeezing shoulder blades together.
- Seated pulldown: Sit on the edge of a chair or bench, facing forward with feet flat on floor & grasping edges of seat beside thighs near hips; walk butt backward until completely off seat. Bend knees slightly, keeping heels touching ground, and lean upper body forward to clear back from hand hold. Pull torso up towards hands until arms are fully extended.
- Inverted row: Secure a bar or suspension trainer at waist height. Lie face up below the bar with legs extended and hands holding onto the bar/straps – palms facing forward; engage your core & glutes as you pull chest up towards bar while maintaining alignment through wrists/elbows/shoulders/knees/hips/ankles.
By incorporating these exercises into your workout routine, you can target different areas of your back muscles, including the upper back, lower back, and shoulders. Remember to start with proper form and gradually increase the intensity as you get stronger. Challenge yourself and have fun with these bodyweight workouts at home!
I’m telling you, incorporating bodyweight back exercises into your fitness routine is a genius move. No need for fancy equipment or gym memberships – just use what your mama gave you! These exercises target every nook and cranny of your back, giving you a complete workout.
Get ready to feel like a superhero because with just your bodyweight, you can do all sorts of awesome moves. From the Superman to the Reverse Snow Angel, Plank Row to Banded Row – there’s something for everyone. Each exercise works different muscles in your back, making you more flexible and improving that posture of yours.
No matter if you’re new to this fitness thing or an absolute beast, there are tons of choices when it comes to bodyweight back exercises. So don’t wait another minute! Start incorporating these bad boys into your routine today and watch as your back gets super strong and sexy. And hey, always remember to keep good form, listen to what your body is saying, and check in with a healthcare pro before diving into anything new.
Eddie Johnson is an ex-bodybuilder, fitness addict, writer, editor and founder of Anabolic Bodies. Also a proud father of two boys and passionate about bodybuilding, nutrition, and the science behind modern-day supplementation.