Updated: Apr 22
Have you ever wondered what the best back exercises are? Are you short for equipment? Are you currently in self-isolation? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you're in luck!
I have compiled the 11 best back exercises without equipment for you're reading pleasure. Please sit back, relax and get ready to be enlightened.
1. Reverse snow angels
Muscles used: Traps, rhomboids
This exercise is fantastic for warming up the back muscles and getting them ready for a workout. All the movements in this workout will be high rep range as there isn't weight to create resistance. Also, high rep ranges and time-under tension aid in fat burning as it is classed as endurance.
How to: Lay on your stomach with your arms and legs outstretched. Raise your arms upwards as much as you can in front of you. Slowly rotate your arms around your body until they touch your hips. Move them back up, slowly into the starting position.
Muscles used: erectors, glutes, traps
This exercise primarily works on the lower back. This will help you eliminate the lower back fat that you may have and get those toned and defined erectors. Again, high rep range for this one to really feel the burn, literally. There are multiple variations of this exercise. Watch the video and choose the one that you can do with the best form.
How to: Lay on your stomach and outstretch your arms and legs. Tighten your core and your glutes and slowly raise them up until they are as high as they will go. Hold this position for a 2 count and return to the starting position, slowly.
3. Kneeling extension (Donkey kick with arm)
Muscles used: Traps, delts, erectors, glutes, hamstrings, core
This movement is fantastic for targeting a multitude of different areas simultaneously. Hitting the lower body and upper body in one movement is always beneficial to any workout. It's all about the squeeze in this one, slow and controlled and squeeze at the top.
How to: Get on all fours. Brace your core and begin lifting one of your legs behind you. At the same time, I want you to lift the adjacent arm straight out in front of you. Squeeze at the top of the movement and hold for a 2 count. Slowly return to the beginning position.
4. Plank (forearm)
Muscles used: delts, rhomboids, erectors, glutes, core
The plank is a stable movement when it comes to any workout. There are many variations of this movement that target slightly different areas. For this workout, we will be focusing on the classic forearm plank. This will help create a solid torso and sculpt those targeted areas.
How to: Get on all fours and place your forearms directly below your shoulder joints, parallel to each other. Place your toes underneath onto the floor and raise your body into a straight 'plank' position. Ensure that you are squeezing your core and glutes for the best effect.
5. Wide row
Muscles used: Rhomboids, erectors, traps
Unlike the gif above, I want you to perform this movement much slower for a better effect. Time under tension is what torches fat and sculpts that muscle in its place. You want to feel the burn from slow and controlled movements.
How to: Stand up straight and lean over slightly like you've seen a penny on the floor. Move your arms backwards with a slight bend at the elbows. When you get to the top position, hold for 2 seconds and slowly return to the start.
6. Pike push up (advanced)
Muscles used: delts, rhomboids, traps, core
This is an advanced movement, so don't worry if you can't do it yet. We will keep the reps low here. Being fast out of the bottom movement is fantastic for building fast-twitch muscle fibres and getting the heart rate up into the optimum rate for fat burn (130BPM)
How to: Get into the downward dog yoga position, to begin with. Slowly bend your arms until your head touches the ground. Ensure that you are keeping your legs and back completely straight to avoid strain. Explode out of the bottom position, back to the starting position for the next rep.
7. Tick tock arms
Muscles used: erectors, traps, rhomboids
This is a real back fat burner. Keeping the movement slow and controlled will allow for the best results. As we don't have resistance, we have to keep the tension in the back for a prolonged period of time, meaning high reps.
How to: Stand straight with your legs shoulder-width apart. Create a slight bend in the back, keeping it straight. raise one arm up directly above your head and the other down by your hip. Slowly rotate them the opposite way to each other, keeping your back tight throughout the entire movement.
8. Squats (that's right)
Muscles used: legs, core, erectors
The squat is the king of all bodyweight exercises. Yes, it belongs on a back workout as the erectors have to work overtime in order to maintain an upright position for the torso. Slow and controlled squats will strengthen the lower back and many other areas of the body at the same time.
How to: Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart. Brace your core and begin to sit back, like you were going to sit down. Make sure you keep your heels flat on the ground and your back straight throughout this movement. once your legs become parallel to the ground, hold for a second and explode up out of the movement.
9. Back widow (advanced)
Muscles targeted: lats, rear delts, rhomboids, traps
The back widow is an advanced bodyweight back exercise. It is recommended that you place mats underneath your elbows to prevent injury to the elbow joint. You may also want to lay on a slippy surface to make the movement easier to perform.
How to: Lay on your back with your arms in a T-pose position. Create a slight bend in the elbows and brace your core. Begin to pull your elbows together, once you cannot go any further, hold the position for 2 seconds and slowly return to the starting position.
10. Sliding lat pulldown
Muscles used: lats, delts, core
Similar to an ab wheel rollout, the sliding lat pulldown is a difficult movement that requires a ton of core strength to perform. We will keep the reps low here otherwise injury might result from overstraining the muscles. How to: Get on all fours on a slippy surface. It is recommended to have a towel to aid the movement. Brace your core as much as you can for the best stability. Slowly begin to move your arms outwards until you feel a fair strain, not too much. Instantly bring the arms back towards the body in a controlled fashion, ready for the next rep. 11. Glute bridge hold Muscles used: glutes, core, erectors
Instead of performing reps of this exercise, I want you to hold the top position to finish off the workout. This will really help you get rid of back fat as the time under tension will cause the erectors to work overtime to support your body. You can perform the more difficult variation if you wish, switching legs halfway through the hold. How to: Lay on your back with your feet planted firmly on the ground. place your arms straight down next to your butt, palm down. Brace your core and squeeze your glutes as you move upwards. Once you reach the top position I want you to hold it as long as you can with good form. This will finish you off and complete the back workout with no equipment! The Takeaway You can actually get a decent back workout in at home with literally zero equipment, who would've thought? Now if you want an easy to follow workout plan, we've made one for you here. Let us know in the comments if we missed anything obvious! Thank you for reading :)