15 Best Bodyweight Back Exercises To Build Mass and Strength

If you want to strengthen your back at home, a bodyweight back workout is a perfect thing to add to your routine. That’s because strengthening your back muscles— lats, rhomboids, and traps—helps improve muscle imbalances and posture.

Long sitting can affect the mobility of your upper back and weaken the back muscles. That’s why it’s important to exercise your back muscles.

Body weight back exercises at home will help you do that. Building a strong back is one of the best things you can do for your body.

Subsequently, we’ve covered the following:

Back Muscles (Anatomy)

To build a strong and muscular back at home, you must first understand the anatomy and functionality of the back muscles. Your back muscles start just under your skull and go down to your lower back, just above your hips. These muscles connect to your ribs, vertebrae, shoulder blades, and neck.

Your back is made up of three groups of muscles. They are Superficial Muscles, Intermediate Muscles, Intrinsic Muscles.

Superficial Muscles, are closer to the surface of the skin and make up the upper and lower back muscles. Includes:

  • Latissimus dorsi (lats): Commonly referred to as the “lats,” large muscles that extend from the middle and lower back to the armpits
  • Rhomboids: Located between the shoulder blades. They run from the medial border of the scapula (shoulder blade) to the spine.
  • Trapezius (traps)Large, triangular muscle that extends from the base of the skull down to the mid-back.
  • Levator scapulae: Located on the side and back of the neck. It runs from the upper cervical vertebrae to the upper border of the scapula (shoulder blade)

Benefits of Bodyweight Back Workout

There are a lot of good reasons to add bodyweight back exercises to your home workout plan.

  • Bodyweight back workout allows for greater flexibility, joint safety and stabilization.
  • Bodyweight exercises are typically seen as beginner-friendly workouts, but with the variations and changes you can implement, you can really make them challenging for you, even if you are an advanced lifter.
  • It affords a greater level of variety, which prevents physical and mental burnout.
  • Bodyweight back exercises allow the joints to move naturally within their range of motion by creating more joint stability.
  • Bodyweight workout are perfect for the at-home exerciser with the limited space.

Let’s look at the best own bodyweight back exercises that build a huge back. But first, you need to understand a bit about back muscle anatomy.

15 Best Bodyweight Exercises For Beginner To Advances

Below are several back exercises that you can add to your bodyweight workout plan to build a bigger and stronger back.

  1. I, Y, T, W
  2. Cat- Camel
  3. Prone Cobra
  4. Side Plank and Rotate
  5. Inverted Row
  6. Pull-Up
  7. Superman
  8. Lying Bent-Knee Oblique Twist
  9. Good Morning Exercise
  10. Hip Bridge
  11. Flat bench hyperextension
  12. Chin Up
  13. Bird Dog Exercise
  14. Scapular Push-Ups
  15. Hindu push up

1. I, Y, T, W

These exercises focus on the shoulder and back muscles, mainly the middle and lower part of the trapezius.

They also hit all the rotator cuff muscles which include the infraspinatus, subscapularis, teres minor, and supraspinatus muscles.

These work together to stabilize the shoulder and move the arm. Adding these back exercises to your workout regimen is necessary.


  1. Gently exhale and slowly lift your arms off the floor (maintain a formation of the letter “I”), with palms facing inward.
  2. Keep your head aligned with your thoracic (upper) spine.
  3. Focus on using your shoulders to generate most of the lift, although some low back extension (arching) is acceptable.


  1. Gently exhale and slowly lift your arms off the floor, moving your arms into the “Y” formation (45-degree angle to form the letter “Y”) as illustrated with palms facing inward.
  2. Focus on using your shoulders to generate most of the lift, although some low back extension (arching) is acceptable.


  1. Gently exhale and slowly lift your arms off the floor, moving your arms into the “T” formation (90-degree angle to form the letter “T”) as illustrated with palms facing forward.
  2. Focus on using your shoulders to generate most of the lift, although some low back extension (arching) is acceptable.


  1. Gently exhale and slowly lift your arms off the floor, flexing (bending) your elbows and dropping them to a 45-degree angle to the sides of your body as illustrated with palms facing inward (“W” formation to form the letter “W”).
  2. Focus on using your shoulders to generate most of the lift, although some low back extension (arching) is acceptable.


  • Try holding for only five or 10 seconds for the first time, and work up to 30 seconds in future workouts.
  • Maintain your head alignment with your thoracic (upper) spine.
  • Move your arms slowly up and down in each position of I, T, W and Y.
  • To make the exercises more challenging, add a 1-3 pound weight in each hand.
  • Do not hold your breath. Breathe regularly.

2. Cat – Camel

The cat-cow exercise is a spinal mobilization exercise that helps a person “loosen” their spine. It improves movement of your lower back.

It is a great way to mobilize your spine and the muscles responsible for extending it.

If back mobility is something you struggle with, then this is a great way to start. It will increase your chances of improving your back’s function and moving better.

Cat Camel

How To Do

  1. Begin with your knees beneath your hips and your spine in a neutral position.
  2. Sink your back-down towards the floor and lift your head up at the same time, sticking your tailbone out to make a curve with your spine.
  3. Return to the initial position, and then tuck your head and tailbone in, arching through your spine as to mimic a camel hump. Take a big breath in at the same time.
  4. Move back and forth slowly, without pushing at either end of the movement.


  • Aim to do these movements for 8-10 repetitions, to fully mobilize your lumbar spine or low back area.
  • Move slowly and deliberately through the movement.

3. Prone Cobra

The prone cobra is the best bodyweight exercise for a strong lower-back and core. It also helps to strengthen the muscles in your back that fight slouching and improve your posture.

It is a simple and beginner-friendly back exercise that you can do anytime, anywhere, and without any equipment.

Prone Cobra

How To Do

  1. Lie down on the floor with your legs straight and your arms at your sides.
  2. Lift your chest off the floor and externally rotate your hands so that your thumbs are pointing up.
  3. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and draw them down towards your hips.
  4. Keep your eyes pointing at the floor and maintain the tension for 10-30 seconds.
  5. Keep your feet on the floor and try to relax your buttocks.


  • When raising your legs, chest, head and arms, contract your glutes and lower back.
  • Avoid moving too quickly through the movement.

4. Side Plank and Rotate

The side plank with rotation exercise develops core and shoulder strength & stability, and may even help improve back mobility.

To optimize these benefits, make sure that you’re doing this exercise in perfect form.

Side Plank and Rotate

How To Do

  1. Get in a side plank position.
  2. Raise your body by placing your left arm (palm) flat on the floor so that it’s perpendicular to your torso.
  3. Lift your torso until your left upper arm is straight underneath you, with your elbow bent 90 degrees and your arm flat on the floor.
  4. In this position, only your left arm and the outer side of your left foot are making contact with the floor.
  5. Reach under and behind your torso with your right hand, keeping your abs braced. And then repeat on the right side.


  • You should try to twist as far as you can.
  • Avoid letting your hips sag during the exercise
  • Squeeze your abs and glutes throughout the movement for stability.

5. Inverted Row

The inverted row (bodyweight rows) creates a horizontal body position, making it easier to perform. It works the back and shoulder muscles from a different angle and improves upper body strength.

In the gym, most people utilize the Smith machine for this exercise.

You can also do the inverted row at home by lying under a chair and pulling yourself up.

Inverted Row

How To Do

  1. Adjust the height of the chair and bar so that it’s a little higher than arm’s length from the floor.
  2. Lie under the bar with your legs and body straight. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip that’s a little wider than shoulder width.
  3. Keeping your legs and body straight, exhale as you pull your chest up to the bar.
  4. Hold for a count of two and squeeze your back muscles.
  5. Breathe in as you lower your body until your arms and shoulders are fully extended. Repeat.


  • Do not allow your butt to sag.
  • Keep your elbows tucked in.
  • Lower your body until the arms are fully extended, and then raise your body until the chest touches the bar.

6. Pull-Up

The pull-up is an upper-body strength movement that targets your back, chest, shoulders, and arms. They are often a challenge for beginners and even experienced athletes to perform. 

The pull-up increases the strength, thickness, and width of your back, specifically your lats. The lats are what influences back width and form the “V” in the upper back.

Wide Grip Pull Up

How To Do

  1. Using an overhand grip, grab a pull-up bar with your hands positioned at shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hang from the bar with your arms fully extended and your chest high, while exaggerating the arch in your lower back.
  3. Pull yourself up by squeezing your shoulder blades together and contracting your lats until your chin passes the bar.
  4. Hold the contraction at the top for a second before slowly lowering yourself back to the starting position.


  • To reduce biceps involvement, use a thumbless grip.
  • Go full range of motion and keep form correct.
  • Avoid making sudden, uncontrolled movements.

7. Superman

Superman is one of the best back exercises that you can do without equipment. It strengthens your upper and lowers back muscles.

If done regularly, the superman exercise may help alleviate back pain that is related to weak back muscles. Additionally, it strengthens back muscles. It also works on your glutes and your hamstring muscles.

Superman Exercise

How To Do

  1. Lie down with your stomach flat on the ground. Extend your arms in front of you, with your palms down.
  2. Lift your head, raise your arms and your chest off the ground as far as possible.
  3. Bend your legs and lift your thighs off the ground, as much as possible. (Try to make a big “U” with your back.)
  4. At this point, you should feel your back muscles, your glutes, and hamstrings tighten up.


  • Your first time trying this exercise, we recommend holding for only 5 or 10 seconds, and then working your way up to 30 seconds over time.
  • Do not hold your breath. You should breathe regularly.

8. Lying Bent-Knee Oblique Twist

Lying bent knee twist is a bodyweight exercise that builds strength in the obliques and back.

This is a great intermediate move and when done correctly, it can effectively target your core and lower back.

You could also do the weighted version with a ball between your legs.

Lying Bent-Knee Oblique Twist

How To Do

  1. Lie on the floor with your arms extended to the sides to keep your body stable during the exercise.
  2. Bend your legs and raise your bent legs at a 90-degree angle so that your thighs are vertical, and your lower legs are horizontal.
  3. Keeping your shoulders in contact with the floor, slowly lower your legs to one side until you feel a mild stretch in your lower back.
  4. Now, rotate your legs all the way to the right.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.


  • Keep your knee position steady throughout the movement.
  • Exhale as you lift your legs, and inhale as you lower them.

9. Good Morning

It is known as a good morning because of the movement in the erector spinae which resembles the rise out of bed to stretch.

The erector spinae muscles of the lower back work isometrically to keep the spine in an extended position, while the hamstrings and gluteus maximus work isotonically to perform hip extension.

You should add this bodyweight exercise to your back workout routine to strength the lower back.

To allow your lower back to adapt to the good morning exercise, start with a lightweight or with a stick and gradually add more weight.

Good Morning Exercise

How To Do

  1. Stand holding a Stick on the back of your shoulders, grasping the Stick at each side.
  2. You can also perform the exercise as in the bodyweight version.
  3. Keep your knees slightly flexed and your back and neck neutral.
  4. Inhale as you flex your hips to lower your torso until it is close to or fully horizontal.
  5. Exhale as you raise your torso back up to the starting position by extending your hips.


  • Keep your neck and back neutral during the exercise.
  • It is recommended that the lifter avoid rounding (flexing) or rotation (twisting) at any point during the movement.
  • Movement should be slow and deliberate, the form should be strict, and the weight should be light.

10. Hip Bridge

The hip bridge is a good starter move for butt, hamstring, and lower back muscles and the best back exercises at home to manage chronic low back pain.

But when you do glute bridges regularly, you are working your glutes and your lower back muscles. These muscles are meant to hold your body upright, so they will get stronger when you do this.

Hip Bridge

How To Do

  1. Lie down on the floor, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Keep your palms down while keeping your arms at your sides.
  3. Lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips, and shoulders form a straight line.
  4. Squeeze your glutes hard and keep your abs drawn in, so you don’t overextend your back during the exercise.
  5. Hold your bridged position for a few seconds and then go back down.


  • Please do not use your arms to push.
  • The Hip bridge exercise can be made more difficult by holding a weight plate on your lap.

11. Flat Bench Hyperextension

The bodyweight flat Bench hyperextension exercise hits the erector spinae muscles to build a strong back.

To make hyperextensions difficult, you can also hold a plate to your chest or behind the head for additional resistance.

Flat bench hyperextension

How To Do

  1. Lie face down on a flat bench with your torso off the end.
  2. Hook your heels under the bench to keep from falling forward.
  3. Place your hands on your chest (or behind your neck) and bend down through your waist.
  4. Return to the start position, but avoid extending beyond the body level.
  5. Do the desired number of reps and sets.


  • Avoid hyperextension beyond the body level.
  • Remember to always keep your movements under control, without letting gravity take you down faster.

12. Chin Up

Chin ups are bodyweight strength training exercise that uses your entire bodyweight with a special focus on your upper body strength.

Chin-ups are the best exercise to build sweeping upper lats. This is the best bodyweight back exercise for inducing serious muscle growth in the back and biceps.

In this back strengthening exercise, the palms are faced towards the body. Since the lifter is pulling their own bodyweight, the biceps are usually exposed to heavier loads than what one can lift with a barbell.

Chin Up

How To Do

  1. Grab a pull-up bar with an underhand grip (palm facing toward the body), hands shoulder-width apart or slightly narrower.
  2. Pull your body until your chin becomes aligned with the bar. Make sure you retract your shoulder blades.
  3. Hold for one to two seconds at the top with the muscles under maximum tension.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position.


  • Don’t start a habit of doing half reps and chasing numbers.
  • Lower to almost full extension of the elbow, but avoid locking out completely.

13. Bird Dog

The bird dog is an exercise that looks elegant and is also very effective for training the core muscles and back muscles. Other muscles, such as the glutes, are also worked on. 

It owes its name to the position which alternates between sitting on hands and knees (dog) and stretching the arms and legs (bird).

Bird Dog Exercise

How To Do

  1. Get on your knees and place your hands on the floor in front of your body at shoulder width.
  2. Contract your abs and lift one hand and the opposite knee slightly off the floor. You are now balancing on the other hand and knee.
  3. Now extend your arm and leg all the way out. Try to form a straight plane from your hand to your foot.
  4. Hold this position for about 10 seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise with the other side.


  • This exercise gets harder when you perform the exercise on your toes instead of your knees.
  • Don’t raise your leg and arm higher than your back. The exercise works best when you form a straight plane from your hand to your ankles.

14. Scapular Push-Ups

Scapular push-ups are a variation exercise of the regular push-up. It is one of the best Rhomboid exercises.

It places greater activity on your, rhomboids, serratus anterior muscles than the traditional push-up. This results in higher recruitment of your scapular stabilizing muscles as well (the technical term for the shoulder blades).

The scap push-up promotes natural scapula motion and better shoulder mobility.

Scapular Push Ups Rhomboid exercises

How To Do

  1. Get into a high plank position with your feet hip-width apart and your hands underneath your shoulders, shoulder-width apart.
  2. Let your chest drop between your arms, so your shoulder blades merge together, “retract”.
  3. From here, push through the palms of your hands slowly and round through your back to a protracted position. You will feel your shoulder blades spread apart.
  4. Then repeat. Down and up, slowly. Be sure to breathe in on the way down and out on the way up.


  • Your spine is to be neutral, chin tucked, and elbows directly inline with your shoulders.
  • Use a small range of motion, do not lower your chest all of the way to the floor.
  • While your body is sinking, Retract and protract your shoulder blades.

15. Hindu Push Up

The Hindu push up is a traditional Indian-style exercise practiced by wrestlers.

Each repetition includes going from a downward dog position to a cobra pose, swooping by holding the head and body close to the ground.

The arms would be straight at the beginning and the end of the exercise. This variety of push ups has existed for centuries among Indian martial artists. It works on core strength, back, shoulders, hips, and triceps.

Hindu pushup

How To Do

  1. Start in a downward dog pose, with your hands shoulder-width apart, your body in a V shape, and your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Bend your elbows and lower your chest until it’s just above the floor, going into low plank pose.
  3. In a scooping motion, scoop your head upward while arching your lower and upper back and go into cobra pose.
  4. Go back to the starting position, you don’t need to reverse through the sweeping and arching motion. Simply return to your starting position.


  • Engage your core, relax the spine and neck, open the shoulders and keep the movement smooth.
  • Keep the elbows close to your body.

Sets And Reps For Back Muscles

Of course, the number of sets and reps will be determined based on your fitness journey, but here is a great starting point:


According to the latest scientific evidence, 12–20 weekly sets per muscle group may optimize muscle growth.

  • Beginners: ~10 sets per week.
  • Intermediate: ~15 sets per week.
  • Advanced: ~20 sets per week.

When a certain amount of volume stops being effective and your progress stalls, you can add sets to increase volume and use that as a driver of renewed progress. 

Of course, the number of sets and reps will be determined based on your fitness journey, but here is a great starting point:


The best rep ranges and loads to work with.

  • For muscle endurance: Aim for 15-20+ reps, with a moderate amount of resistance.
  • For muscle strength: 6-10 reps, with a heavier amount of resistance.
  • For muscle hypertrophy (increased muscle size): Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps, with a moderate to heavy amount of resistance.

It is always best to start with a lower number of reps and sets, and then gradually increase as your strength improves

Bodyweight Back Workout Routine

Beginner Friendly Workout Plan #1

I, Y, T, W420-30 Sec
Prone Cobra48-12

Back Workout Without Equipment

Cat- Camel48-12
Side Plank and Rotate46-8
Good Morning410-15

Advance Bodyweight Back Workout Plan #3:

Pull Ups48-12
Scapular Push-Ups38-12
Hindu push up410-12

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

How often should we work on our back?

A. Back workout can be done at least 2 days a week with a minimum of 48-72 hours rest in between.

Can Bodyweight Exercises Build Muscle?

Yes, bodyweight exercises can build muscle if you use the following principles: increase reps, decrease rest times, perform variations, train to failure, increase time under tension, and implement mechanical drop sets.

Lower back bodyweight exercises

  1. Supermans
  2. Bridge Variations (Basic Bridge, Single-Leg Bridge, Glute Bridge March)
  3. Bird Dogs
  4. Bird Dog
  5. Back Extensions
  6. Cobra Stretch
  7. Dead Bug
  8. Hip Thrusts
  9. Good Mornings
  10. Hollow Body Hold

Upper Back Bodyweight Exercises

  1.  I, Y, T, W
  2.  Side Plank and Rotate
  3. Pull-Ups
  4. Chin-Ups
  5. Inverted Rows
  6. Scapular Push-Ups
  7. Bodyweight Rows
  8. Hindu Push Up
  9. Plank Rows
  10. T-Raises


This bodyweight back workout is highly recommended for anyone interested in building a wider back and gaining strength.

It not only helps build muscle in a specific area, but it also makes the upper body stronger and increases muscle mass overall.

It is easy to do and requires no more scientific details and fancy equipment. You could try incorporating some exercise from these 15 exercises into your bodyweight body workout regimen.

If you consistently do this bodyweight back workout, the results will speak for themselves.

Thanks for reading, enjoy working your back workout!

Stay Fit, Live a Happy and Healthy Life


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Bodyweight Back Workout At Home Without Equipment

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