(This blog was first published on Jan 16, 2022, and last updated on Sep 19, 2022)
Back workout is another often overlooked exercise that we tend to ignore most of the time.
Many new trainers’ main priority is to build strength and muscles on the frontal part such as the chest, abdominal, triceps, or biceps.
Are we aware that back exercise is also important to our body movement and to prevent back pain due to poor posture? Our daily activities like sitting position, carrying heavy stuff, gardening, etc, are prone to injury if we do not know how to take care of our health back.
What are the best workouts for the back muscles you can do at home? How can you work out your back without equipment?
Keep on reading till the end.
Why Are Back Muscles Important?
Your back (lower or upper part) is as important as any other physical part of your body.
Incorporating a back training session into your fitness routine not only helps to strengthen the back, but also for greater posture, and helps in reducing back pain risks.
For athletes or sportsmen into swimming, rock climbing, heavyweight training, etc, back exercises enhance their performance efficiently with stronger back muscles to support the spine. This can prevent any vulnerable back sprains that may occur during an intense workout or other daily life physical activity.
The Best Workouts For Back Muscles With No Equipment
If you like to start without using any equipment to strengthen your back, try these 6 basic back workouts.
They do not require any weights for a decent back gain and are low-impact movements.
1. Wall Walk is considered a full-body workout on strengthening your upper body, core, and shoulder.
How to begin? Get ready in a pushup position with your feet against the wall. Now slowly walk your feet up with your hands worm closer towards the wall simultaneously.
Walk your feet as high as you can to an upright position. Then, slowly reverse your feet back to the original pushup position. Repeat the steps as many reps as you can.
Check out this short video tutorial on the wall walk.
2. Superman works great for all fitness levels and targets glutes, upper and lower back, hamstrings, and abs.
How to begin? Lay flat on your stomach with your hands and legs extended straight (you know, just like a Superman flying pose). Slowly raise both your hands and legs up from the ground simultaneously.
Hold on for about 2 to 3 seconds and then let it down to the ground. Repeat for 8 to 10 reps in 3 to 4 sets.
Take a quick look at this short video tutorial on Superman.
3. Reverse snow angel (beautiful name, isn’t it?) exercise help to strengthen your upper body and lats, stabilizing the core, which improves range of motion. This is vital for the core’s strength especially if you are moving or lifting heavy weights often.
How to begin? Lie on your stomach face down on a gym mat. Both your arms stretched out straight at each side with palms facing down. Legs straight and toes flexed on the floor.
A very quick video tutorial on the Reverse snow angel.
Now, move your extended arms slowly up above your head in a circular motion, up and down. Reverse the arms back to the original position. Pause for 2 seconds, and reverse the motion again for 8 to 10 reps in 3 to 4 sets.
4. Inchworm is an effective low-impact exercise that works well to increase the strength and flexibility of the core, upper back, shoulders, arms, and chest. You can practice this exercise as a warm-up or routine.
How to begin? Standing straight. Then, with your hands walking with both feet still in place, slowly hinge your body forward as far as you can, preferably above your head.
Now, walk forward with your feet in small steps towards the hands until the feet reach the palms. Repeat the step as many as you can.
Take a quick look at how to do the inchworm exercise.
5. Table inverted row. Like pull-ups, the inverted rows are good full-body workouts for strengthening your grip and back, and for a stronger bicep. Other forms are chair, bed-sheet, or partner inverted row.
How to begin? Lean back on the floor under a heavy table with arms and legs straight. Hold the edge of the table tightly.
Slowly lift your hips off the floor and pull the chest up until almost reach the underside table by bending your arms. Then, extend your hands slowly and repeat the whole step for 8 to 10 reps per set for 3 to 4 sets.
Check this quick tutorial on doing table inverted row.
6. Supine push-up is considered combined of stretching, yoga, and, pilates exercises. Effective in toning the upper body back muscles and targeting especially rhomboids with very little movement.
How to begin? Your back and feet lay flat on the floor. Your knees’ position should be pointed up facing the ceiling. Make sure both your arms are even with your shoulders’ height too. Push your elbows up and slowly raise your upper back off the floor.
Pause for a second and then lower it back to the floor. This counts one rep and repeats the whole step for 8 – 10 reps per set. Try to complete 3 – 4 sets with a resting time of 20 – 30 seconds in between sets.
Take a look at this tutorial video on Supine push-ups.
How Can You Do Workouts For Back Muscles With Weights?
Next, if you like to work out your back to build strength, and muscles or lose weight with a piece of workout equipment, go for these:
1. Dumbbells are considered the most versatile weights for back gains. Try these forms,
The deadlift is an efficient workout with simple movement not only for the back but also for all major muscle groups such as the glutes, legs, and core.
Renegade row (plank row) is a full-body workout on the muscles in the core (obliques), arms (triceps), and back (rhomboids).
Shrugs workout with dumbbells focuses on toning the upper back and shoulders Trapezius muscles and improving posture.
2. Kettlebells are excellent tools for back workouts you can do at home. Besides helping in your strength, kettlebell swing form or even snatch is capable to enhance your aerobic capacity and burning fat.
A fantastic way to beat up your heart rate and can be a serious calorie burner if the technique and form are used correctly. So, are you so ready for this workout? How many swings or snatches can you do in a day?
3. Bent-over row is primarily targeting the upper back muscles, as well as the lats, biceps, hamstrings, and core. You can use barbells, dumbbells, or kettlebells. (Note: This workout can be hard on your lower back. If you are a beginner, get advice from your personal trainer first).
4. TRX suspension row is an easy and effective way to strengthen and build up some back muscles. It hits almost all the major back muscles like traps, lats, and rhomboids.
5. Pull-up is also one of the simplest ways to build muscles on the entire upper back body. It is not easy to do for beginners but no worries, practicing pull up regularly will gradually gain more strength and a stronger upper body including arms, shoulders, chest, and core.
You can do lats pulldown using resistance bands or a pull-up bar for working on lats pulldown, chin-ups, pull-up shrugs, or assisted pull-ups (suit for beginners to start).
How about getting a Foam roller to work on your back? A foam roller is a fantastic workout tool for releasing back pain, tightness, and tension of your back.
Just giving 5 to 10 minutes of your time a day with a roller foam helps a lot in improving posture and releasing the tightness of your back. All you need to do is just slowly roll the foam from side to side so as long it is vertically in line with your spine.
Is Pushup Exercise Good For Your Back?
Yes, doing pushups regularly not only builds up your upper body strength and muscles like the pectoral, triceps, and shoulders but also your lower back muscles if done correctly.
Pushups are great for your core stability and strength and are an overall excellent cardio exercise. I, myself loved to do pushups all the time at home!
Be sure when you are doing pushups, the spine is straight and flat. Your head, back, hips and butt must be aligned. This is to avoid shoulder or back pain after completing your pushup session.
Don’t worry, if you are newbies, you will gradually work it out correctly and efficiently for your back.
What Exercises Can Give You A Huge Upper Back?
Try these 5 back exercises which can give you that big upper back if done correctly and regularly!
1. Bent-over-row with a barbell, dumbbells, or kettlebells.
2. Deadlifts with barbells or dumbbells.
3. Pull-up and chin-up with a pull-up bar.
4. Back extension using a back extension machine or basic back extension on the floor like superman form.
5. Dumbbell shoulder shrug.
Are Planks Good For Your Lower Back Pain?
A proper plank workout compared to sit-ups has a lot of health benefits including your core strength build-up without stressing too much on your spine.
Core stability with greater abdominal strength improves flexibility and balance thanks to regular planking. You will notice your body movements are more efficient in the long term.
Not only that, if you master the correct form of planking, it helps to improve your posture and reduce the stress on your back when sitting. This will decrease the chances of getting back pain problems for those who are sitting for hours at work.
Planking is a great workout to prevent back pain!
What are the most effective core exercises for the lower back?
There are many easy-to-do lower back exercises you can do at home. They are great to strengthen your core muscles to prevent back pain due to poor posture.
Try these 4 equipment-free core strengthening exercises at home:
1. Side plank on knees. Your knees are on the floor, raising your hips in a side plank position, hold for about 15 seconds, return to the original position and repeat on the other side.
2. Squat on the counter. You are standing facing a table or kitchen countertop with your hands putting on the surface. Then slowly bend your knees to about 90 degrees and return to the standing position.
3. Bent knee falls out is where you lie on the floor, with knees bent and feet on the floor. Slowly lower the knee to the side as low as possible towards the floor. Then, go back to the starting point and repeat on the other knee.
4. Supine lower trunk rotation is another simple core exercise. Laying on the back straight on the floor with your hands extended straight, knees bent to about 90 degrees, and feet on the floor. Then, slowly lower both your knees to one side and return to the center. Repeat for the other side again.
What exercises are bad for the lower back?
Important caveat! If you are currently experiencing back pain, please refrain from doing the following 4 exercises:
1. Double leg raises. Lifting both your legs while lying on your back does give a heck of stress to your back. This is why I dislike this workout from the beginning although I do not have back pain problems. I can feel a lot of stress on the back when lifting both legs straight up. Instead, trying to lift one leg at a time will help.
2. Standing toe touch is a stretching technique to reduce muscle soreness, especially after a hefty workout. However, this simple workout can put more compression on your spine if you are having lower back pain. The chiropractor suggested practicing hamstring stretches using a towel instead.
3. Superman does seem like a simple back exercise but it gives you the highest stress on your lower back. Try bird-dog exercise instead.
4. Sit-ups or crunches give intense pressure on your spine although are a great workout for toning the abs. Replace it with partial crunches workout will suffice.
Can You Tone Your Back In 2 Weeks Without Equipment?
No, it is not possible to get toned in just 2 weeks.
You are going to work out as you have never workout before which may eventually lead to overworking and possible long-term injury. Any personal trainer who is telling you it will work is probably trying to convince you to sign up for their membership with no guaranteed success.
Dedication, consistency, and proper diet play important roles in any fitness success. If you don’t give your full dedication and consistency seriously, no matter how hard and frequent you are in building these back muscles, you are not going any further.
And, if you don’t control or monitor your diet carefully, you are also not going to notice anything changes.
The process of getting your body toned such as abs or the back takes time to build but the rewards are so much worth it.
Remember, getting toned means burning enough body fat and building muscles by achieving a ‘calorie deficit’ or reaching below 11% of your body fat.
My Final Thoughts: Best Workouts For The Back Muscles At Home
Your back is made up of a few major muscles that are important in managing your daily physical activities, supporting the spine, and main a healthy posture.
Find a suitable time to incorporate back exercise into your fitness schedule. If you are not sure how to add them to your current workouts, talk with your personal trainers for advice.
Don’t ignore back exercise! It helps a lot for an overall body balance, preventing injury and improving posture.
Leave me a comment below if you have and I will speed back within 24 hours.
To Another Fantastic And Healthy Home Workout!
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