If you want to strengthen your back muscles at home without weights or any equipment, you can do various bodyweight back exercises. I will share more than ten bodyweight workouts that will work on your upper, middle, and lower back. Whether you’re a male or female, you can incorporate some of the best exercises for strengthening your back muscles at home without equipment.
How to Train Your Back Without Equipment?
You can do various bodyweight exercises to strengthen and tone your back muscles without equipment.
Floor IYT raises, superman pull, bird dog, renegade row, and good morning are examples of bodyweight exercises that target your upper, middle, and lower back and help improve posture.
However, they are not as effective as weighted-back workouts when it comes to building muscles and strength.
Exercises like the deadlift, pulldown, pull-up, bent-over row, dumbbell row, chin-ups, and seated row help build a stronger and broader back.
Bodyweight exercises may not be as beneficial as free weight and machine exercises, but they may help you increase strength, improve posture, and scale up for lifting weights.
13 Best Bodyweight Exercises for Back Building at Home
1. I-Y-T Raise
The IYT raise is one of the best compound bodyweight workouts for back muscles. It strengthens several muscles of your back simultaneously, such as traps, lats, and lower back.
If you want to build up your back out at home with no equipment, you can do floor IYT raises two to three times a week.
Moreover, it also enhances flexibility, muscle coordination, and posture.
How to do the IYT Raise on the floor
- Lie prone on the mat, face downward with your arms straight in front of you and legs extended behind.
- Keep your body as straight as possible from head to heels. That’s the “I” position.
- Raise your arms upward as high as you can while maintaining straight arms.
- Hold for a couple of seconds, then lower them down. Step 1 is done.
- To begin the next step, increase the distance between your hands to make the letter “Y”.
- Raise your arms upward until you feel a stretch in your deltoids and upper traps.
- Hold for a couple of seconds, then lower them down. Step 2 is done.
- To start the final step, bring your arms out to your sides to form the letter “T.”
- Raise your arms upward until you feel a stretch in your back muscles.
- After a short pause, lower your arms back into the “T” position. That’s one rep! Suggested repetitions 8-10 x 3.
2. Pull up Superman
The Superman pull is also one of the best bodyweight exercises for back muscles as IYT raises.
It enhances stability and decreases low back pain, and works well for the back muscles without putting stress on your lower back – showed in a study. 1 Comparison of lumbar multifidus thickness and perceived exertion during graded Superman exercises – Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation
Whether you’re a beginner or intermediate, you can incorporate it into your bodyweight home workout routine to strengthen your back muscles.
How to do the pull-up Superman:
- Lie on your stomach, face downward with your arms extended in front of you, palms facing the floor, and legs straight behind.
- Raise your arms off the floor, assume a Superman fly, and pull your arms back until your muscle stretches.
- Hold for a moment, then return to the beginning position.
- That’s one complete rep! Do as many reps as you can.
3. Pushup To Renegade Row
The push-up to renegade row is another bodyweight compound workout that can help you strengthen your back.
It works on several muscles, such as the shoulders, arms, chest, and core, other than the back.
But to perform this exercise, you should have enough strength to hold your upper body weight on one arm.
However, if you’re good at push-ups, then you may easily do this.
How to Push-up To Renegade Row:
- Get into a high plank position with your legs extended straight behind you and maintained a straight back and tight core. Keep your arms about shoulder-width apart, and place them below the shoulders while your feet’ width depends on your comfort. That’s the setup.
- Now complete one push-up and bring your right arm out to the side until it reaches shoulder height. Return your right hand to the floor and then repeat with your left arm to complete one rep.
- Do it smoothly and maintain your balance during the movement.
4. Bird Dog
You can do the Bird Dog exercise to strengthen your lower back muscles without using weights or equipment.
The bird dog is one of the isometric back workouts that help you build up your lower back without stress – showed in research published by Rehabilitation Research and Practice. 2 The Activity of Surface Electromyographic Signal of Selected Muscles during Classic Rehabilitation Exercise – Rehabilitation Research and Practice
The bird dog also activates core and hip muscles during the movement.
Moreover, bird dogs also improve balance and stability, reduce lower back pain, and increase muscle flexibility.
How to do the Bird Dog
- Sit on your knees and keep your hands on the floor below your shoulders, arms straight and maintain a flat back.
- Keep your core tight and raise your right arm in front of you and the left leg behind you, both at the same time, until they are parallel to the ground.
- Hold for a couple of seconds, then slowly lower them into the starting position.
- Repeat this movement with your other side to complete one rep.
- The number of repetitions and sets depends on you.
W Superman raise is one of the essential back-strengthening bodyweight exercises you can do without equipment.
The “W” Superman strengthens the back and the shoulders and reduces low back pain.
How to do the “W” Superman
- Lie on your stomach on the mat, face downward, with your elbows bent, and form the letter “w,” and your palms are in line with your head.
- Keep your legs straight behind you and maintain a flat back. That’s the starting position.
- Squeeze your glutes and lower back to raise your arms and slightly keep your upper chest off the floor and make sure you feel a complete stretch in your upper back.
- Hold for a moment, then slowly return to the starting position. That’s one rep! Do the desired number of repetitions.
6. T Push up
When I have less time but want to target more muscles, I always go with T push-ups because T push-ups work on various muscle groups such as the chest, arms, shoulder, and back.
How to perform T push-ups:
- Get into a high plank position with your legs extended straight behind you and your back straight and core tight. Your arms are about shoulder-width apart and just below the shoulders, while your feet are hip-width apart. That’s the setup.
- Now complete one normal push-up and then raise your right arm at your side to form the letter “T” while keeping your left arm on the floor.
- Return your right hand to the floor and repeat with your left hand to complete one rep. Suggested reps and sets: 8 x 3.
7. Good Morning
If you want to increase lower back strength and stability, do a bodyweight good morning workout at home.
Good morning exercise can help reduce low back pain and chances of injuries. It also activates the hamstrings. 3Effects of load on good morning kinematics and EMG activity – Peer Journal
How to do the good morning workout
- Stand straight with your feet hip to shoulder width apart, bend your arms, and keep your fingertips behind your head. Elbows are pointing out to the sides.
- Pushing your hips backward, hinge forward, and lower your torso until it becomes parallel to the floor.
- Pause for a couple of seconds and then slowly return to the start. That’s one rep.
- Do as many repetitions as you like.
8. Hip Raise
The hip raise or glute bridge is one of the essential bodyweight workouts that can help you strengthen your lower back at home.
It is usually a workout for glutes and hip flexors; however, you can incorporate it into your bodyweight home workout routine to improve low back stability.
How to do the hip raises:
- Start 9lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Keep your arms extended at your sides on the floor for support. That’s the beginning position.
- Now tighten your abs and glutes and raise your hips off the ground until your knees, hips, and chest form a straight line.
- Hold into this position for a couple of seconds, then slowly lower it into the starting position.
9. Wide Push-ups
Wide push-ups provide significant benefits to the overall upper body, including the back. They strengthen the arms, shoulders, chest, core, and back, improve overall strength, and promote muscle growth.
If you like, you can incorporate it into your bodyweight back workout routine at home.
How to do a wide push-up
- Start with keeping your hands wider than shoulder-width apart, and ensure they align with your chest.
- Keep your back straight, core tight, and start lowering your chest until it reaches close to the floor. Then return to the beginning to complete one rep. Do as many reps as you can.
- Perform every rep slowly and focus on your back muscles during the movement.
10. Seated Row
Bodyweight seated rowing doesn’t work like cable seated rowing, but it also activates back muscles and is not a bad option to do at home.
Here’s how you can do seated rowing
- Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you (you can slightly bend your knees if you want). Now extend your arms as you extend to grab D handle to do the cable rowing. That’s the starting position.
- Now slowly bring your arms toward you until you feel a complete stretch in your back. Hold for a couple of seconds, then slowly return your arms back to the starting position to complete one rep. Do ten reps in three different sets.
11. Bent Over Row
Something is always better than nothing. No worries if you don’t have a barbell or dumbbell because you can do much with your body weight.
Doing a bent-over row without weights will make you feel you’re doing yoga.
To do the bodyweight bent over row:
- Start with standing straight with your feet hip-width apart and your arms in front of you.
- Now slightly bend at your knees while maintaining a flat back and keep your chest up and core tight; that’s the setup.
- Now bring your arms toward your abs until you feel a complete stretch in your back & shoulder. Hold for a moment, then slowly return to the setup position. That’s one rep! Do the desired number of repetitions.
12. Seated Reverse Fly
One more movement you can do with your weight that works on the back, and this time, it is reverse fly.
The reverse strengthens the back, improves stability and balance, and is suitable for overall performance.
How to do the Seated Reverse Fly
- To perform the seated reverse fly, get a table if you have one, and sit on it with your arms close to one another and palms facing each other. Slightly bend forward while maintaining a flat back. That’s the starting position.
- Now bring your arms out the sides until you feel a complete stretch in your back muscles. Hold for a moment, then slowly return to the beginning position. That’s one rep! Do the desired number of repetitions.
12. Overhead Pull Down
The overhead pulldown activates and strengthens the lat muscle, which helps you improve back posture.
It is the same as the lat pulldown but without weights.
The overhead pulldown may produce little to no results, so go ahead if you want to try.
How to do the overhead pulldown
- To do the overhead, sit on the corner of a table with your arms extended overhead and palms facing away. Keep your back straight and core tight. That’s the starting position.
- Assume you’ve gripped a pull-down bar and now bring your arms down toward your face until it reaches close to your neck. Then slowly return your arms overhead. That’s one complete rep. Do the desired number of repetitions.
- Make sure when you pull down, your lats expand.
13. Push-up Plus
- Get into a high plank position with your arms shoulder-width apart and extend your leg behind. Keep your feet wider or shorter as you feel comfortable.
- Maintain a flat back, brace your core and, tighten your hips & glutes, and bend your elbows to start lowering your chest as close as to the floor. Hold for a sec and push back up to the beginning position.
- Now slightly push your upper back upward toward the ceiling and then return to the flat back position to complete one rep! Do the desired number of repetitions.
If you have something in your home where you can hang on, you must try pull-ups because pull-ups are great for the lats and activate more muscles than many other exercises like push-ups, fly, etc.
Bodyweight Back Workout Routine at Home
|IYT Raises||10 x 3||1 minute|
|W Superman Raises||15 x 3||30 seconds|
|Bird Dog||10 x 2||30 seconds|
|Renegade Row||10 x 2||1 minute|
|Pullup Superman||10 x 3||30 seconds|
|Seated Reverse Fly||10 x 3||30 seconds|
- 1Comparison of lumbar multifidus thickness and perceived exertion during graded Superman exercises – Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation
- 2The Activity of Surface Electromyographic Signal of Selected Muscles during Classic Rehabilitation Exercise – Rehabilitation Research and Practice
- 3Effects of load on good morning kinematics and EMG activity – Peer Journal