Are you looking for some simple bodyweight back exercises to build an impressive V-taper and strengthen your back?
If so, you’ve come to the right place because we are going to discuss some of the best back movements you can do with little to no equipment.
And even if you’re a member at a a full gym, it’s a good idea to have these bodyweight back exercises for days when you can’t get to the gym. Many of these exercises can be done at a park, or even at home.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
A classic exercise that trains the entire back with emphasis on the latissimus dorsi (lats) for back width. This exercise does require a pull-up bar, or you can try to use a door but that can be challenging.
- Reach up, grab a pull-up bar with your palms facing forward.
- Pull yourself up, aiming to get your chin over the bar on each rep.
Identical to pull-ups but placing slightly greater emphasis on the biceps because of their mechanically advantageous position. This exercise also requires a pull-up bar, and click to see our recommendation for a pull-up bar for home use.
- Almost the same as a pull-up. But, instead of having your palms facing forward, they must face back.
- You must use a slightly narrower grip (roughly shoulder-width apart).
#3 Inverted Rows
An easier bodyweight back exercise that allows you to modify the difficulty by adjusting the angle of your body. Here is a variation of the inverted row.
- Grab a horizontal bar (roughly hip height) and walk your feet forward to assume a more horizontal position so that you are looking up, with your body at a 45 deg angle.
- Straighten your body and pull yourself to the bar, touching your chest to it. This is the up position.
- Extend your arms to lower your body to the down position as you exhale. This is one rep. Repeat.
#4 Plank With Arm Lift
A more advanced plank variation that builds core stability while developing the back and shoulders.
- Assume a plank position and lift one arm in front of your body.
- Hold for several seconds, plant the hand on the floor, and extend your opposite arm.
- Alternate from left to right.
A fantastic movement that strengthens the entire back (primarily working the erector spinae) through back extension. (1)
- Lie face down on the floor, extend your body, and position your arms forward.
- Inhale and raise your upper torso and legs as high as you can.
- Hold for a moment and relax your body.
Another simple and effective exercise that works the entire back musculature through back extension.
- Set yourself up on a hyperextension bench with your feet secure and hips against the top pad.
- Inhale and lean your torso forward.
- Pause briefly and extend your body as you exhale.
You can also use a regular bench if you don’t have a hyperextension bench. If you do, you’ll need to lock your legs on the bench, as it can be a challenging motion (the gif below makes it look easier than it actually is):
#7 Reverse Hyperextensions
A movement similar to the previous one that also develops the back through back extension.
- Lie face down on a flat bench and grab it for support.
- Your body should be bent at the hips with your legs hanging down.
- Inhale and extend your legs to align them with your upper body.
- Relax your lower body and exhale.
#8 Scapular Push-Ups
- Assume a standard push-up position.
- Inhale and protract your shoulder blades, allowing your upper back to round as much as possible.
- Hold briefly and relax as you exhale.
There you have it: eight bodyweight back exercises, some of which don’t require any equipment, and some that require a pull-up bar.
The beauty of these movements is they target your back from different angles and in various ways, promoting balanced development.
Click to see some more bodyweight exercises:
- Bodyweight bicep exercises
- Bodyweight chest exercises
- Bodyweight exercise list
- Bodyweight abs exercises
- Bodyweight strength workout
- Bodyweight squats
Click to return to bodyweight exercises.
- Erector spinae. Physiopedia. (n.d.).
Anatomy, back, Scapula – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf. (n.d.).