Your back supports all of the major muscles in your upper body, including your upper arms and core. By using powerful bodyweight back exercises to strengthen and condition your back, you will quickly improve your strength training results in every area of your body.
On top of that, who doesn’t love the look of a defined, chiseled back on the beach or in a strapless dress? Yes, bodyweight back exercises can tone, shape, and sculpt your back without even having to step foot in a gym.
But if you’re already a faithful gym goer, you can still use any of the exercises below as a part of your regular strength training routine to challenge your upper body.
Pull-ups are compound bodyweight back exercises that will condition your lats, pecs, and posterior deltoid muscles. A pull-up is an intermediate exercise that can be done on any stable horizontal support, but is normally performed on a pull-up bar at the gym or installed in a doorframe.
How to perform a pull-up:
- Begin with your palms facing away from you on a sturdy pull-up bar.
- Pull your body up until your chin is inches above the bar.
- Hold the position for a few seconds, and thenreturn to the starting position for one rep.
One Arm Pull-ups
One arm pull-ups are advanced bodyweight back exercises similar to traditional pull-ups. Just like it sounds, a one arm pull-up is performed in the same way as a regular pull up but using only one arm during the exercise.
If you have already reached your maximum resistance doing traditional pull-ups, you can progress to a one arm pull-up to further condition your upper back, upper arms, and shoulders.
Pull-up holds are another advanced variation of a classic pull-up. A pull-up hold is performed using the same motion as a pull-up, except that you will hold the exercise in the pull-up motion for several seconds.
The point of this bodyweight exercise is to fatigue and condition the upper back and shoulders by holding and contracting the muscles during the exertion of each rep.
You can begin by holding the exercise for 5 seconds and progress to a length of 30 seconds or more per rep.
Inverted Back Rows
Inverted back rows are beginner bodyweight back exercises that are performed using a stable bar, like a smith machine. Inverted back rows primarily target the trapezius muscles, as well as the middle back, triceps and forearms.
How to perform inverted back rows:
- Support your body with your feet on an exercise bench or straight out on the floor in front of you.
- Hold onto the bar of a smith machine with both hands.
- Pull your chest up towards to the bar for one rep.
A reverse push-up is an intermediate bodyweight back exercise that will target your upper back, biceps, and core. A reverse push-up is performed using an independent triceps bar.
How to perform a reverse push-up:
- Begin the exercise by lying face up on the ground holding onto the bars of a triceps bar with both hands.
- Lift your upper body toward the bars and slowly lower yourself back to the starting position for one rep.
- If you’re a beginner and don’t have the upper body strength to complete the exercise, just pull your body up as far as you can for one rep until you build strength.
Hyperextension Back Extensions
A hyperextension back extension is a beginner exercise that conditions the lower back and glutes.
How to perform hyperextension back extensions:
- Begin by resting your lower body against a hyperextension bench with your ankles tucked securely behind you.
- Cross your arms in front of your chest, and lean forward to a 90° angle.
- Contract your lower back and return to the starting position for one rep.
Crossover Reverse Lunge
A crossover reverse lunge is an intermediate exercise that targets the lower back and abdominals.
How to perform a crossover reverse lunge:
- Begin the exercise with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Step behind you into a rear lunge and simultaneously twist your torso across your front leg to condition your lower back and lower body at the same time.
Supermans are beginner bodyweight exercises that can be performed on a comfortable workout mat on the floor. Supermans will condition the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings in one simple movement.
How to perform a superman:
- Begin the exercise by lying face down on an exercise mat on the floor with your arms extended in front of you.
- Raise your upper body, arms, and legs off of the floor in a straight line, and hold the contraction for several seconds.
- Return to the starting position to perform one rep.
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