19 November 2020

Back Workouts Without Weights to Build a Strong Body

Most people think of back training as involving large barbell, dumbbell and cable movements: deadlifts, rows, pull downs and so on are the norm.

However, this needn’t be- especially if, as many of us, you’re finding your access to the gym limited at the moment. You can complete a full back workout with nothing but your bodyweight to act as resistance. We’ll show you an example of how to do this below.

Why is it important to have strong back muscles?

Typically, ‘the back’ refers to the area from the base of the neck to the top of the pelvis, taking in the core- especially the obliques- and rear shoulders.

Having a strong back is central to being fit and healthy. It allows you to perform everyday tasks with ease and without fear of injury, keeps your body safe and, in being well-muscled and often used, a strong back will help to keep back pain at bay.

Bodyweight back workout: an example

Let’s look at three exercises that you can perform with just your bodyweight, around the house, to build a strong back.

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1. Inverted row

You can use a barbell racked at hip height for the inverted row. Alternatively, you can use TRX bands or anything around the house, such as the underside of a table or your kids’ climbing frame, to support yourself on.

  • Lower yourself under the bar, holding it with a pronated (overhand) grip. Hands should be about shoulder width apart.
  • Straighten your legs as far as possible- the straighter they are, the harder the exercise.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together and then row your chest up towards the bar. Lower down again, keeping your core tight. This is one rep.
  • Repeat for 3-4 sets of 8-12 before moving onto the next exercise

2. Wide grip push up

A wide grip will bring your latissimus dorsi into play, making this a great back exercise.

  • Bring yourself into a plank position, then move your hands out an extra couple of inches. Keep your core tight.
  • Lower your chest to the floor and actively squeeze your shoulders and back at the bottom.
  • Return to the top. This is one rep. Make it easier by performing these on your knees.
  • Repeat for 3-4 sets of 10-16 before moving onto the next exercise.

3. Superman

This will work your whole back both concentrically and isometrically.

  • Begin lying chest down on the floor
  • Reach your arms out in front (like Superman flying around Metropolis!)
  • Squeeze your glutes, lower back and shoulder blades. Lift your arms, legs and chest off the ground.
  • Hold for one breath then lower, keeping your arms and legs slightly off the ground. This is one rep.
  • Repeat for 3-4 sets of 12-20 or perform continuously for 30-60 seconds.

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