10 Best Resistance Band Back Exercises (Workout Ideas)

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: January 8, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Dr. Kristy Dayanan, BS, MD
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Many people underestimate the importance of a targeted back workout, especially the use of a resistance band.

With the improved posture and spine support, you can easily build up a solid foundation for increasing the amount of strain you can put the rest of your body under.

While there are many targeted exercises using free weights, many folks might be happier with resistance band exercises.

But before you just jump into a random selection of exercises, take a look at what our team recommends for clients who prefer using bands.

Quick Summary

  • The best back resistance band exercises include face pulls, bent over rows, lat pull-downs, single arm rows, pull aparts, deadlifts, standing rows, reverse flyes, superman, and straight leg deadlifts.
  • Back resistance band exercises not only strengthen your back but also reduce the risk of injuries and improve endurance, making them a valuable addition to your fitness regimen.
  • Maintaining a straight back is crucial during resistance band deadlifts to avoid potential back issues, as recommended by Men's Health, reducing the risk of costly trips to a chiropractor.
  • In my opinion, incorporating resistance band exercises like these into your workout routine can add variety and effectiveness, making it an enjoyable way to improve back health and strength.

Our Top Resistance Band Back Exercises

With about 4 to 5 minutes allocated to each of the following exercises, you should be able to get the entire back workout completed in less than an hour.

To maximize the benefits of resistance band back exercises, consider integrating them into your broader workout routine. Whether you're combining them with weight training, cardio, or flexibility exercises, these versatile bands can complement various fitness regimens, leading to a well-rounded fitness approach.

Also, resistance band exercises can be a valuable tool for both preventing back injuries and aiding in rehabilitation. These low-impact exercises can be modified to suit different fitness levels, making them a safe and effective choice for those looking to improve back health.

1. Face Pull

resistance band face pull

Start by securing the resistance bands close to the ground and grab the band at about waist-high with your arms stretched out straight and palms facing down.

Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart, and you should feel a bit of tension on the bands before you start.

Now, start the action. Pull the band up towards your face stopping a few inches in front of your nose.

Make sure you perform the movement slowly as this builds up more strain in your upper back muscles, including lats, and around your shoulder blades.

Read More: Best Face Pull Alternatives

2. Bent Over Row

resistance band bent over rowTo perform rowing exercises without expensive equipment, stand in the middle of the band with feet slightly apart.

Bend forward with arms straight, palms facing each other.

Pull your hands towards your chest, feeling resistance as your shoulder blades come together.

Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for 8 to 10 reps.

It's a fantastic exercise that I've personally found effective for targeting my back.

Make sure you are not having any back pain doing this exercise, if you are having some you could possibly look into inversion tables.

Related: Booty Band Workouts for Your Glutes

3. Lat Pull-Down

resistance band lat pull down

You’ll need to find a high enough anchor point for your resistance bands.

Ideally, this would be a hook at the top of a wall, but you can also modify the exercise a bit by using a door frame.

Either stand or kneel with your hands above your head, gripping onto the slightly stretched resistance band.

Your hands should be a bit further than shoulder-width apart, and you start this upper back exercise by pulling your arms down while keeping your elbows straight.

Slowly go back to the starting position and try to adjust the tension and how far apart your hands are to add some additional tension.

4. Single Arm Rows

single arm row resistance bandStart in a sprinting position with your left foot out front and your knees bent.

Then, loop each end of the band around your feet and ensure the band is stretched quite tight.

You’ll want to feel resistance right from the start. Now, pull the band with your left hand up above hip level and hold for a few seconds.

Repeat this up to 10 times and then switch to the right hand in the same way.

It's a challenging yet effective exercise that I like to switch to my right hand to target both sides of my back.

youtube

5. Pull Apart

resistance band pull apart gif

These look easier than they are, and you might not need the thickest exercise bands you can find.

Stand tall with your feet spread about shoulder-width while holding the band in front of your chest.

Now you pull the band apart at each end while gradually increasing the resistance and feeling the strain in your upper back muscle groups.

Form will be much more important than speed or the number of reps.

That means picking a band that you can stretch as far as you can reach rather than looking like a hero and only pulling a few inches apart.

6. Deadlift

deadlift resistance bandDeadlifts have been a fantastic addition to my lower back strength training routine, and they don't require investing in expensive equipment like a fully kitted out barbell.

Get into a wide-stance position with the band looped around each foot. Bend your knees slightly, and reach down to grip onto the band.

It’s vital that you keep your back straight right from the start; otherwise, you could be facing some costly trips to a chiropractor, according to the Men'sHealth [1].

Pull up the bands with your arms straight as you return to the starting position.

Other types of exercises:

7. Standing Rows

resistance band Standing Rows

Find a place to anchor the bands at about chest high to an exercise machine or wall.

Grip onto the bands with your arms stretched out in front of you and a slight stretch already on the band.

Pull the band slowly towards you until your hands touch your chest. Then slowly release to the starting position and feel how this activates all of your upper back muscles.

You can do this back workout sitting down as well, but I find it’s easier to maintain a good posture while standing up.

8. Reverse Flye

reverse fly resistance bandStand in the middle of your resistance bands and grip onto the end of the band in each hand.

You’ll start off by leaning slightly forward and your arms hanging down in front of you.

In a wing-like outward movement, pull up your arms as far as you can.

This will bring your shoulder blades together, and you should feel quite a lot of strain in your muscles.

Based on personal experience, I recommend starting with lighter resistance to prioritize a full range of motion and good form over quantity [2].

“Some long-term trials have reported greater muscle growth after training with a full range of motion, or after training with a partial range of motion where the muscle reaches a longer length and is, therefore, more stretched.”

- Chris Beardsley, Contributor at Medium.com.

9. Superman

resistance band superman

This is a slightly tricky resistance band workout as it requires a bit of coordination and balance.

So don’t worry if you stumble a few times and try it out with one of the thinner resistance bands first.

Start on all fours with the band attached to your right hand or wrist and left ankle or foot.

With a slight arch in your back, stretch your arm and leg, which will cause tension on the band along your body.

You should feel this in your shoulders and lower back as well, and as you gain more confidence with the workout, try to increase the thickness of the band.

And don’t forget to switch to your other arm and leg to target all of your back muscles.

10. Straight Leg Deadlift

straight leg deadlift resistance bandWith a standard deadlift, your legs are bent at the bottom of the move. But a more advanced way to increase strength in your lower back is to do deadlifts with a straight back.

You’ll often see bodybuilders do this with free weights, but it’s just as easy to activate the same muscles by using bands.

Same as with the deadlift, get into a wide stance with the band looped around your feet. Bend forward with a straight back and grip onto the band, and then slowly pull yourself up.

It's a challenging yet rewarding exercise that I've personally benefited from.

Other types of exercises:


References:

  1. https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a19540506/deadlifting-and-back-pain/
  2. https://sandcresearch.medium.com/does-a-full-range-of-motion-always-produce-more-muscle-growth-5bf7fc6e4b55
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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