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What Are the Best Back Exercises You Can Do at Home?

Last updated: August 15, 2021

The gym isn’t the only place where strong backs are made.

If you have a good at-home back workout in place, it’s possible to build up a strong and toned back with minimal to no equipment—all without leaving your house.

We created this list of effective home back workout exercises that targets all the major back muscles - from your upper back to your lower back.

Why You Need To Train Your Back

shirtless man showing his back while flexing arms

In an era when humans are sitting more than ever, you probably want to give your back a little more attention.

And the best way you can do that is by working your back muscles regularly.

Here are a few reasons why you should strengthen your back.

  • Healthy and strong upper body muscles—back muscles, in particular—protect you from lower back pain, injury, and poor posture.

According to exercise physiologist Kelli Calabrese:

"The muscles of the back help to keep you upright, and if the muscles are strong, they don't fatigue as quickly, (so) you're less likely to get injured when lifting or bending."

  • A strong back is essential for supporting your abs and core muscles.
  • Your back supports your entire body, allowing you to stand, bend over, and perform basically all necessary human actions.
  • A stronger back will give you broader shoulders and a more attractive physique.

9 At-Home Back Exercises For A Strong Upper Body

Most of the exercises below require either just your body weight, a pair of lightweight or medium-weight dumbbells, or a mat. If you don’t have weights at home, you can swap in a can or a wine bottle.

Tip: To maximize these moves, remember to keep your back flat and your spine long.

Doing this will help release any tension from your neck. Do your best to perform these exercises with focus and control to get those back muscles fired up.

1. Low Plank

man in pain while in a low plank position

The low plank is an at-home back workout that can strengthen your back, chest, shoulders, neck, and abs.

This exercise promotes good posture, which can protect you against back pain [1].

Starting position: Lie on your stomach and place your forearms on the floor.

Bend your elbows directly below your shoulders. Extend your legs and rest the balls of your feet on the ground.

  1. Lift your hips and thighs off the ground until your body is parallel to the floor.
  2. With your core engaged, form a straight line with your body.
  3. Tuck your pelvis under to keep your back flat, and don’t let your lower back sag or lift.
  4. Pull your shoulder blades in and down.
  5. Hold the plank position for 30 seconds.

2. Dumbbell Good Morning

man bending over working out outdoors

This back exercise strengthens your lower back, hamstrings, and glutes all in one quick movement.

Starting position: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold one dumbbell across your shoulders, behind your head.

  1. With your knees slightly bent and your torso straight, slowly hinge your hips forward until your upper body is almost parallel to the floor.
  2. Hold for a few seconds, then return to the start position.
  3. Complete 10 to 12 reps.

3. T Raises

man using dumbbells in a gym

This at-home back workout proves that you don’t always need heavyweights to make huge gains.

Starting position: Grab a pair of lightweight dumbbells and stand with your feet hip-width apart.

  1. With a slight bend in your knees, shift your hips back and lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the ground.
  2. Bring the weights together and turn your palms to face forward.
  3. Lift the weights up to shoulder height and lower them back down, keeping your arms straight.
  4. Make sure your core and glutes are engaged throughout the entire movement.
  5. Do 10 to 12 reps.

4. Push-Up Hold

man doing pushups in a gym

This back workout will help improve your core stability and control.

Starting position: Get into a push-up position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width. Keep your feet hip-width apart and make your body form a straight line from your head to your heels.

  1. Bend your elbows and slowly lower your body until it’s a few inches above the ground.
  2. Hold for one deep breath, then push yourself halfway up and hold for one deep breath.
  3. Lower back down until you reach the lowest point, then hold again for one deep breath.
  4. Do five reps

5. Quadruped Limb Raises

man doing stretches on a yoga mat

The quadruped leg raise is a great back workout that stabilizes your core and strengthens the entire abdominal region as well as your glutes and hamstrings.

Starting position: Get on all fours and place your hands shoulder-width apart, directly under your shoulders. Slightly bend your elbows and keep your knees directly under your hips.

  1. Make sure that your body is parallel to the floor and forms a straight line from your head to your buttocks.
  2. Extend your right arm forward and bring your left leg back while keeping your back straight.
  3. Hold this position for three to 10 seconds, then lower your limbs back down to the start position.
  4. Do the same movement for your other leg and arm.
  5. Do eight reps for each side.

6. Seated Reverse Fly

man doing reverse flyes seated down

The seated reverse fly targets the rear shoulders and the major upper back muscles, helping improve your posture and balance. You may add resistance to this back exercise by using dumbbells.

Starting position: Sit on a chair with your legs bent, feet flat, arms extended down, elbows by your thighs, and your torso tilted forward at 45 degrees.

  1. Lift your arms out to your sides and up toward the ceiling until they go above your back.
  2. Try not to move anything else in your body as you lift your arms.
  3. Complete 10 to 12 reps.

7. Dumbbell Bent Over Row

woman in a bent over row position

This is an excellent at-home back workout for working your lats and increasing your width.

Starting position: Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold a light- or medium-weight dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Hinge forward at the hips until your torso forms a 45-degree angle with the floor, allowing the dumbbells to hang below your shoulders with your wrists facing in.

  1. Slowly pull the dumbbells up next to your ribs, drawing your elbows back and keeping your arms tight on your sides.
  2. With control, lower the weights back down to the starting position.
  3. Do this for 30 seconds.

8. Glute Bridge

woman doing glutes exercise on a yoga mat

Apart from the glutes, this exercise works your hamstrings, lower back, and abs. It also helps decrease lower back pain.

Starting position: Lie on your back and bend your knees so that your heels are directly under your knees. Keep your arms at your sides with your palms facing down.

  1. Tuck your pelvis under to keep a flat back and pull your shoulder blades together and down.
  2. Raise your hips toward the ceiling as high as you can. Keep this position for at least 10 seconds.
  3. Lower your hips and try not to touch the floor before you lift it back up again.
  4. Complete 10 to 12 reps.

9. Superman

man in a superman workout position on a yoga mat

This last exercise is a great workout for strengthening the erector spinae muscles that support the spine.

Starting position: Lie on your stomach with your arms bent at 90 degrees, elbows in line with your shoulders and forearms on the floor. Keep your legs extended with the tops of your feet on the mat.

  1. Contract your core muscles and lift your head, chest, and arms a few inches off the floor.
  2. Keep your neck long and extend your arms straight forward, bringing your biceps to your ears.
  3. Reverse the movement to return to start.
  4. Complete 10 to 12 reps.

Are You Going to Try These Back Exercises?

Though often overlooked, the back should be just as important as your other muscle groups.

A strong back protects you from lower back pain, injury, and poor posture.

With these exercises, achieving healthier and stronger back muscles at home is attainable. Just make sure you finish those reps and focus on good form to maximize every movement.

Try these at-home back exercises today, and feel free to share your progress in the comments below.


References:

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/posture-and-back-health

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