15 Best Bodyweight Back Workout: Beginner to Advanced

If you want to work your back at home, a Bodyweight back workout is a perfect thing to add to your routine. That’s because strengthening your back muscles— lats, rhomboids, and traps—helps improve muscle imbalances and posture.

Long sitting can weaken the back muscles and impair the mobility of your upper back. That’s why it’s important to train and strengthen your back muscles. And this bodyweight back workout at home will do just that.

Building a strong, powerful back is one of the best things you can do for your body. The targeted muscle along with your lats and between your shoulder blades serves a variety of purposes, insulating your shoulders against injury, improving your posture and alleviating neck pain, and, of course, completing a dynamic V-tapered physique.

Bodyweight Back Workout Beginner to Advanced

Benefits of Bodyweight Back Workout.

Several advantages come from incorporating bodyweight back exercises into your home workout plan.

  • Bodyweight back workout allow for greater flexibility, joint safety and stabilization.
  • Bodyweight exercises are typically seen as beginner-friendly workouts, but with the variations and changes you can implement, you can really make them challenging for you, even if you are an advanced lifter.
  • It affords a greater level of variety, which prevents physical and mental burnout.
  • Bodyweight back workout allow the joints to move naturally within their range of motion by creating more joint stability.
  • Bodyweight back workout are perfect for the at-home exerciser with the limited space.

Let see the Best bodyweight back exercises that build massive back. But first, you need to understand a bit about back muscle anatomy.

Back Anatomy

The muscles of the back can be divided into three groups — superficial, intermediate, and deep:

  • Superficial — associated with movements of the shoulder.
  • Intermediate — associated with movements of the thoracic cage.
  • Deep — associated with movements of the vertebral column.

The superficial back muscles are situated underneath the skin and superficial fascia. The muscles in this group are the trapezius, latissimus dorsi, levator scapulae, and rhomboid.

Back anatomy

Here are the bodyweight back exercises that you can add to your workout plan to build a bigger and stronger back.

1. I, Y, T, W

These exercises focus on the shoulder and back muscles, mainly the middle and lower part of the trapezius. They also hit all rotator cuff muscles which include the infraspinatus, subscapularis, teres minor, and supraspinatus muscles. These work together to stabilize the shoulder and move the arm. Must add these bodyweight back exercises to your back workout regimen.

Execution Technique
  1. Lay with your stomach flat on the ground with your arms and legs fully extended.
  2. Point your toes away from your body and fully extend your elbows and fingers, positioning your palms facing inwards.
  3. Brace your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine, depress and retract your scapulae (pull shoulders back and down) and attempt to hold these positions (I, Y, T, W) throughout the exercise.
  4. Align your head with your thoracic (upper) spine.

I’s

I’s
  1. Gently exhale and slowly lift your arms off the floor (maintain a formation of the letter “I”), with palms facing inward.
  2. Keep your head aligned with your thoracic (upper) spine.
  3. Focus on generating most of your lift through your shoulders and not the low back, although some low back extension (arching) is acceptable.
  4. Hold this position for 5 – 10 seconds then relax and return to your starting position

Y’s

Y’s
  1. Gently exhale and slowly lift your arms off the floor, moving your arms into the “Y” formation (45-degree angle to form the letter “Y”) as illustrated with palms facing inward.
  2. Maintain your head alignment with your thoracic (upper) spine.
  3. Focus on generating most of your lift through your shoulders and not the low back, although some low back extension (arching) is acceptable.
  4. Hold this position for 5 – 10 seconds, then relax and return to your starting position.

T’s

T’s
  1. Gently exhale and slowly lift your arms off the floor, moving your arms into the “T” formation (90-degree angle to form the letter “T”) as illustrated with palms facing forward.
  2. Maintain your head alignment with your thoracic (upper) spine.
  3. Focus on generating most of your lift through your shoulders and not the low back, although some low back extension (arching) is acceptable.
  4. Hold this position for 5 – 10 seconds, then relax and return to your starting position.

W’s

W’s
  1. Gently exhale and slowly lift your arms off the floor, flexing (bending) your elbows and dropping them to a 45-degree angle to the sides of your body as illustrated with palms facing inward (“W” formation to form the letter “W”).
  2. Maintain your head alignment with your thoracic (upper) spine.
  3. Focus on generating most of your lift through your shoulders and not the low back, although some low back extension (arching) is acceptable.
  4. Hold this position for 5 – 10 seconds then relax and return to your starting position.
Tips
  • Try holding for only five or 10 seconds for the first time, and work up to 30 seconds in future workouts.
  • Move your arms slowly up and down in each position of I, T, W and Y.
  • To increase the difficulty for either version, add a 1-3 pound weight in each hand.
  • Do not hold your breath. Breathe regularly.

2. Cat- Camel

The cat-cow exercise is a spinal mobilization exercise that helps a person “loosen” their spine. It gets your lower back moving better.

A great way to mobilise your spine and all the muscles responsible for extending it. Increases your chances of improving your back’s function and moving better. If mobility is something you avoid, then this is a great way to start.

Cat Camel
Execution Technique
  1. Start with your knees under your hips, and your back is in a neutral position.
  2. Sink your back-down towards the floor and lift your head up at the same time, sticking your tailbone out to make a curve with your spine.
  3. Return to the initial position, and then tuck your head and tailbone in, arching through your spine as to mimic a camel hump. Take a big breath in at the same time.
  4. Move back and forth slowly, without pushing at either end of the movement.
Tips
  • Aim to do these movements for 8-10 repetitions, to fully mobilize your lumbar spine or low back area.
  • Avoid moving too quickly through the movement. Focus on moving in a slow and controlled manner.
  • Once you’ve mobilized your low back, consider adding strengthening exercises to help stabilize it.

3. Prone Cobra

The prone cobra is a terrific exercise that helps strengthen the “anti-slouch” muscles in your back and improves your posture.

It’s an extremely simple exercise that you can do it anytime, anywhere, and without any equipment.

Prone Cobra
Execution Technique
  1. Lie face down on the floor with your legs straight and arms at your sides.
  2. Lift your chest from the floor and externally rotate your hands and point your thumbs to the ceiling
  3. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and draw them down towards your hips. Keep your eyes pointing at the floor and maintain the tension for 10-30 seconds.
  4. Keep your feet on the floor and try to relax your glutes.
Tips
  • Contract your glutes and lower back when raising your legs, chest, head and arms.
  • Avoid moving too quickly through the movement. Focus on moving in a slow and controlled manner.

4. Side Plank and Rotate

The side plank with rotation exercise develops core and shoulder strength & stability, and may even help improve spinal mobility.

To optimize these benefits, make sure that you’re doing this exercise in perfect form.

Side Plank and Rotate
Execution Technique
  1. Get in a side plank position by lying on your left side on the floor with your right foot rested on top of the inner side of your left foot and your right arm rested on top of your right side.
  2. Raise your body by placing your left arm (palm) flat on the floor so that it’s perpendicular to your torso.
  3. Lift your torso until your left upper arm is straight underneath you, with your elbow bent 90 degrees and your arm flat on the floor.
  4. In this position, only your left arm and the outer side of your left foot are making contact with the floor.
  5. Reach under and behind your torso with your right hand, keeping your abs braced. And then repeat on the right side.
Tips
  • Try to twist as far as you can. The goal is to twist till your chest is parallel to the ground.
  • Avoid letting your hips sag during the exercise
  • Squeeze your abs and glutes throughout the movement for stability.

5. Inverted Row

The inverted row is another name for bodyweight rows. It’s also known as an Australian pull-up. The inverted row puts your body in a horizontal position, making it easier to perform. It also works the back and shoulder muscles from a different angle and improves scapular retraction. In the gym, most people do this exercise on the smith machine.

But, you can also perform the inverted row at home by lying under a chair, holding the chair’s sides, and pulling yourself up.

Inverted Row
Execution Technique
  1. Adjust the height of the chair and bar so that it’s a little higher than arm’s length from the floor.
  2. Lie under the bar with your legs and body straight. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip that’s a little wider than shoulder width.
  3. Keeping your legs and body straight, exhale as you pull your chest up to the bar. Hold for a count of two and squeeze your back muscles.
  4. Inhale as you lower your body until your arms and shoulders are fully extended. Repeat.
Tips
  • Do not allow your butt to sag. Flex your tummy, squeeze your butt cheeks, and keep your body stiff from your head to your toe.
  • Do not allow your elbows to flail. Grab the bar with your hands slightly closer together and keeping your elbows at an angle to your body, similar to doing a bench-press.
  • Make sure you go down completely. Lower your body and ensure the arms are extended and raise your body until you touch the chest touches the bar.

6. Wide-Grip Pull-Up

The wide-grip pull-up is an upper-body strength movement that targets your back, chest, shoulders, and arms. Performing a pull-up is often a challenge for beginners and even experienced athletes. The wide-grip pull-up is harder to perform than a standard pull-up because your hands will be further away from the center of your body which makes the exercise more difficult. 

The wide grip pull-up increases the strength, thickness, and width of your back, specifically your lats. The lats are what influences back width and form the “V” in the upper back.

Wide Grip Pull Up
Execution Technique
  1. Using an overhand grip, grab on to a pull-up bar with your hands spaced wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hang from the bar with your arms fully extended and your chest high while exaggerating the arch in your lower back.
  3. Pull yourself up by squeezing your shoulder blades together and contracting your lats until your chin passes the bar.
  4. Hold the contraction at the top for a second before slowly lowering yourself back to the starting position.
Tips
  • To decrease bicep involvement, use a thumbless grip.
  • Go full range of motion and keep form correct. Avoid jerky movements and keep them controlled.

7. Superman

Superman is one of the best back exercises that you can do at home. It strengthens your upper and lowers back muscles.

If done regularly, the Superman may help alleviate back pain that is related to weak back muscles. In addition to strengthening back muscles.

Superman works on your glutes and your hamstring muscles.

Superman Exercise
Execution Technique
  1. Lie down with your stomach flat on the ground. Extend your arms in front of you, with your palms down.
  2. Lift your head, raise your arms and your chest off the ground as far as possible.
  3. Bend your legs and lift your thighs off the ground, as much as possible. (Try to make a big “U” with your back.)
  4. At this point, you should feel your back muscles, your glutes, and hamstrings tighten up.
Tips
  • Try holding for only five or 10 seconds your first time, and work up to 30 seconds in future workouts.
  • Do not hold your breath. Breathe regularly.

8. Lying Bent-Knee Oblique Twist

Lying Bent Knee twist is a bodyweight exercise that builds muscle and strength in the obliques and back. This is a great moderate move and when done correctly, it can effectively target your core and waist.

The lying bent-knee oblique twist is an isolation exercise you can do the weighted version of the exercise with a ball in between your legs.

Lying Bent-Knee Oblique Twist
Execution Technique
  1. Lie on back on floor or mat with arms extended out to sides to keep your body stable during the exercise.
  2. Bend your legs and raise bent legs at a 90-degree angle, so thighs are vertical and lower legs are horizontal.
  3. Keeping your shoulders in contact with the floor, slowly lower your legs to one side until you feel a mild stretch in your lower back.
  4. Now, rotate your legs all the way to the right. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
Tips
  • Maintain knee position throughout the movement.
  • Exhale as your legs rise, and inhale as they descend.
  • Keep your core tight during the movement to activate your obliques against resistance.

9. Good Morning Exercise

The good morning is a weight training exercise. It is known as a good morning because of the movement in the erector spinae which resembles the rise out of bed to stretch.

The erector spinae muscles of the lower back work isometrically to keep the spine in an extended position, while the hamstrings and gluteus maximus work isotonically to perform hip extension. Must add this bodyweight back exercise to your back workout regimen.

When done with solid spinal alignment and perfect form, the good morning can be a great move for improving your back health.

To allow your lower back to adapt to the good morning exercise, start with a lightweight or with a stick and gradually add more weight.

Good Morning Exercise
Execution Technique
  1. Stand holding a Stick on the back of your shoulders, grasping the Stick at each side. Can also perform the exercise as in the bodyweight version.
  2. Keeping your knees slightly flexed and your back and neck neutral, inhale as you flex your hips to lower your torso until it is close to or fully horizontal.
  3. Exhale as you raise your torso back up to the starting position by extending your hips.
Tips
  • Keep your back and neck neutral throughout the exercise.
  • It is recommended that the lifter avoid rounding (flexing) or rotation (twisting) at any point during the movement.
  • Keep the movement slow, the form strict, and the weight light.
  • Complete the desired number of repetitions.

10. Hip Bridge

The hip bridge is a good starter move for butt, hamstring, and low back muscles and the best back exercises at home to managing chronic low back pain.

When you spend the majority of your day sitting, your glute muscles can get weaker, while the hip flexors in the front of your thighs can shorten, making them feel tight.

Eventually, you will end up slouching as your tight hip flexors pull you forward and your glutes aren’t strong enough to pull you upright.

But when you practice glute bridges regularly, you are targeting your glutes and your lower back muscles, those muscles that are meant to hold your body upright will be getting stronger.

Hip Bridge
Execution Technique
  1. Lie faceup on the floor, with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Keep your arms at your side with your palms down.
  2. Lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips, and shoulders form a straight line.
  3. Squeeze those glutes hard and keep your abs drawn in so you don’t overextend your back during the exercise.
  4. Hold your bridged position for a couple of seconds before keeping back down.
Tips
  • Do not push with your arms.
  • To make the Hip bridge exercise more difficult, hold a weight plate on your lap.

11. Flat bench hyperextension

Flat Bench Hyperextension exercise directly hits the erector spinae muscles building a strong back.

It helps to build the lower back Erector spinae muscles. This exercise is done on a Flat bench.

To make Hyperextensions difficult, you can also hold a plate to your chest or behind the head for additional resistance. If the exercise becomes easy, you can do a lot of reps.

Flat bench hyperextension
Execution Technique
  1. Lie face down on a flat bench with your torso extending off the end, and hook your heels under the bench to prevent yourself from falling forward.
  2. Place your hands on your chest (or behind your neck) and bend down through your waist.
  3. Return to the start position but avoid extending beyond the body level.
  4. Do the desired number of reps and sets.
 Tips
  • Avoid hyperextension beyond the body level.
  • Keep movement always under control without letting gravity take you down faster.

12. Chin Up

A chin-up is a strength training exercise that uses your entire body weight with a special focus on your upper body and core.

Chin-ups are the best exercise to build sweeping upper lats. This is the best bodyweight back exercise that can induce serious muscle growth of the back and biceps.

In this back exercise, the palms are faced towards the body. Since the lifter is pulling their own bodyweight, the biceps are usually exposed to loads heavier than what one can lift with a barbell.

Chin Up
Execution Technique
  1. Grab a pull-up bar with an underhand grip (palm facing toward the body), hands shoulder-width apart or slightly narrower.
  2. Straighten your arms, keep your knees bent and cross your lower legs. It can also be done with leg straight.
  3. Retract your shoulder blades and pull your body up until your chin becomes aligned with the bar.
  4. Pause for one to two seconds at the top with the biceps under maximum tension. Slowly lower to the start position.
Tips
  • Don’t get in the habit of doing half reps and chasing numbers.
  • Lower to almost full extension of the elbow but avoid locking out completely.

13. Bird Dog Exercise

The bird dog is an exercise that looks elegant and is also very effective for training the abdominal muscles and lower back muscles. Several other muscles are also addressed, including the glutes. 

The bird dog is a real stability exercise that ensures a stable trunk. It owes its name to the position which alternates between sitting on hands and knees (dog) and stretching the arms and legs (bird).

Bird Dog Exercise
Execution Technique
  1. Get on your knees and place your hands on the floor in front of your body at shoulder width.
  2. Contract your abs and lift one hand and the opposite knee slightly off the floor. You are now balancing on the other hand and knee.
  3. Now extend your arm and leg all the way out. Try to form a straight plane from your hand to your foot.
  4. Hold this position for about 10 seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise with the other side.
Tips
  • This exercise gets harder when you perform the exercise on your toes instead of your knees.
  • Don’t raise your leg and arm higher than your back. The exercise works best when you form a straight plane from your hand to your ankles.

14. Scapular Push-Ups

Scapular push-ups are a variation exercise of the regular push-up. It is one of the best Rhomboid exercises. The scapular push-up places greater activity on your, rhomboids, serratus anterior muscles than the traditional push-up. This results in higher recruitment of your scapular stabilizing muscles as well (the technical term for the shoulder blades).

The Scapular Push-up is considered harder than the conventional push-up since you have to maintain a planked position well-performing the push-up movement. The scap push-up promotes natural scapula motion and better shoulder mobility.

Scapular Push Ups Rhomboid exercises
Execution Technique
  1. Get into a high plank position with your feet hip-width apart and your hands underneath your shoulders, shoulder-width apart.
  2. Let your chest drop between your arms, so your shoulder blades merge together, “retract”.
  3. From here, push through the palms of your hands slowly and round through your back to a protracted position. You will feel your shoulder blades spread apart.
  4. Then repeat. Down and up, slowly. Be sure to breathe in on the way down and out on the way up.
Tips
  • Your spine is to be neutral, chin tucked, and elbows directly inline with your shoulders.
  • Use a small range of motion do not lower your chest all of the way to the floor.
  • While your body is sinking Retract and protract your shoulder blades.

15. Hindu pushup

The Hindu pushup is a traditional Indian-style exercise practiced by wrestlers. Each repetition includes going from a downward dog position to a cobra pose swooping by holding the head and body close to the ground. The arms would be straight at the beginning and the end of the exercise. This variety of pushups has existed for centuries among Indian martial artists. It works on core strength, shoulders, hips, and triceps.

Hindu pushup
Execution Technique
  1. Start in a downward dog pose, with your hands shoulder-width apart, your body in a V shape, and your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Bend your elbows and lower your chest until it’s just above the floor, going into low plank pose.
  3. In a scooping motion, scoop your head upward while arching your lower and upper back and go into cobra pose.
  4. Return to the starting position, you do not need to reverse back through the sweeping, arching motion. Simply push back into the starting position.
Tips
  • Engage your core, relax the spine and neck, open the shoulders and keep the movement smooth.
  • keep the elbows close to your body.
  • Remember to breathe correctly as you do the push-ups.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Q. How often should we work on our back?

A. Back workout can be done at least 2 days a week with a minimum of 48-72 hours rest in between.

Q. Can Bodyweight Exercises Build Muscle?

Yes, bodyweight exercises can build muscle if you use the following principles: increase reps, decrease rest times, perform variations, train to failure, increase time under tension, and implement mechanical drop sets.

Takeaway

This bodyweight back workout is highly recommended for anyone interested in building a wider back and who wants to gain strength.

It not only allows for targeted muscle development but also provides an overall back strength and muscle mass. It is easy to do and requires no more scientific details and fancy equipment. Incorporate some exercise from these 15 exercises into your bodyweight body workout regimen.

If you do these bodyweight back workout consistently, the results will speak for themselves.

Thanks for reading, enjoy working your Bodyweight back workout !

Let us know, in the comment section below, your favorite back exercise! Thanks.

Stay Fit, Live a Happy and Healthy Life

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