A strong and toned back doesn’t just look good. It’s also crucial to maintaining functional movement and preventing injuries.
Here are some of the best bodyweight back exercises that are either equipment free, or require only some very simple household items.
Bodyweight Back Exercises no Equipment
Supermans are a wonderful bodyweight exercise for both you upper and lower back. They also work your glutes.
How to do Supermans
Lie face down on the floor. Your ankles should be touching and your toes pointed away from you.
Reach your arms straight out above your shoulders (as if you were flying like Superman) so your palms are resting flat on the floor.
Engage your back, glutes and shoulders to pull both your legs and your arms a few inches off the ground.
Make sure your arms and legs remain fully contracted so that your hands and feet are elevated to the same relative height.
Hold this position for a few seconds before lowering your arms and legs. Repeat for 4 sets of 10 reps.
You can also turn this into an isometric exercise by holding the position for as long as possible. Do this for 3 sets.
Hip Hinges, also know as Good Mornings, thoroughly engage the posterior chain muscles (backside of your body), especially your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back.
How to do Hip Hinges
Stand up straight with your hands on your hips and your feet slightly wider than your hips.
Bend forward at the waist in a slow and controlled manner while making sure you keep your shoulders in line with your hips.
Keep your hamstrings, glutes and back engaged throughout the entire exercise. Bend forward until you are parallel (or just above parallel) to the floor.
Bring yourself back up to the starting position and repeat the exercise.
One of the most common errors to this exercise is rounding the back. resulting in a loss of the neutral spine position. In order to avoid injuries you should always make sure to execute hip hinges with perfect form.
Reverse Snow Angels
Reverse Snow Angels are a great, equipment free endurance exercise for the
How to do Reverse Snow Angels
Lie face down (use a folded up towel to cushion your forehead) on the floor with your arms at your sides and your palms facing down.
Lift your shoulders and hands a few inches off the floor by bringing your shoulder blades together and tightening your the muscles in your mid-back (lats and rhomboids).
While keeping your head resting on the towel, bring your arms up past your shoulders and up to your ears until your thumbs meet directly above your head. Do this is in a slow, controlled motion.
Now, slowly bring your arms back to the starting position.
To maximally engage your lats and shoulders, keep your arms straight and your elbows locked throughout the entire movement.
Repeat for 3 sets of 5 reps, with 30-60 seconds of rest between sets.
The Bird Dog is a classic core exercise that not only tones and strengthens your abs and lower back, but also improves stabilization. This makes it a great exercise to include in your workouts to maintain functional strength and stability.
How to do Bird Dogs
Get down on your hands and knees. Your hands should be right below your shoulders and your knees right below your hips.
Now simultaneously extend both your right arm and your left leg. Keep your head in line with your spine and try not to wobble by keeping yourself stabilized.
Return to the starting position and repeat with your left arm and right leg.
Keep alternating between left and right arm/leg.
A variation (shown in video) of this exercise is to combine it with a crunch where you touch your elbow and knee. Do ten reps and then switch sides. You can also do the exercise from a push-up position, which makes it a lot more challenging.
The push-ups is a great equipment free bodyweight exercise that works your upper back. You can either do it lying on the floor or by supporting yourself between two chairs.
How to do Reverse Push-Ups
Lie down on your back with your legs extended, your arms out to your sides and your hands pointing straight up.
Raise your upper body off the floor by pushing down on your elbows.
Slowly lower yourself back down.
Repeat for 10-20 reps
You can make the exercise more challenging and increase the range of motion by using two chairs (one on either side) to support your elbows.
Bodyweight Back Exercises using simple household items
Inverted Rows are a great way to work your back, shoulders, and arms. All they require is a bed sheet and a door.
How to do Inverted Rows
Tie a knot at the end of the bed sheet and lay it over the top of a door, shutting the door to lock it in place.
Stand facing the door and grab the bed sheet with both hands.
Recline back while keeping your legs, back and head in line.
Now slowly lower yourself by stretching your arms.
Pull yourself back up to the starting position.
Repeat 10-20 times for 4 sets.
You can make the exercise more challenging by increasing the angle between you and the door.
This exercise works your back and arms. All you need is a nice long towel and something to hook it behind like a pillar or a sturdy door handle.
How to do Towel Rows
Hook the towel around some sturdy object.
Sit back while using the towel to support yourself, as if you were water-skiing or wind surfing.
Pull yourself up, keeping your elbows close to your body and using only your arms and back muscles (keep your legs completely out of the movement).
Lower yourself back to the starting position.
Repeat for 4 sets of 10-20 reps.
Sample Bodyweight Back Workouts
You can combine these exercises any way you want to give your back a great workout. The most important thing is to always execute the exercises with proper form.
This is especially true if you are a beginner and you’re trying these exercises for the first time. Proper form will help prevent injury and ensure that you are getting the maximum benefits from the exercises.
Here are two sample workouts you can use to get you off on the right track.
Bodyweight Back Workout For Beginners
Stick to this workout for 4-6 weeks before progressing to the advanced workout.
Advanced Bodyweight Back Workout
You can do these back workouts for a maximum of two times per week. However, for most people once a week is enough.
These exercises can also be combined with other body weight exercises to provide a more all-round workout.