5 Bodyweight Exercises To Strengthen & Tone Your Back Muscles

mbg Fitness Contributor By Heather Marr
mbg Fitness Contributor
Heather Marr is a personal trainer from Canada who specializes in training models. She is the co-creator of The Model Trainer Method and co-founder of Liftologie.com.
5 Best Exercises To Strengthen Your Back Muscles — No Equipment Required

Image by BONNINSTUDIO / Stocksy

It seems that at-home workouts are the new normal for the time being. But when it comes to targeting all the muscles in your back without your usual gym equipment—it can be a bit daunting. However, it's totally possible to exercise at home and stay on track with your back-strengthening goals, and that includes your upper and lower back muscles (yes, really!).

Below is a fun, challenging bodyweight back workout you can do at home with nothing but a sturdy table or desk, and some music to get you pumped up. For a complete routine, complete the indicated number of sets and reps for each move, before continuing on to the next.

1. Table Inverted Row

Table Inverted Row Bodyweight Exercise

Illustration by mbg Creative

How to: Begin by lying under the table with your feet together and legs extended. Using an overhand grip, place your hands on the table edge positioned just slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. This is your starting position. Pull yourself up toward the table, engaging your back while breathing out. Your chest should be nearly touching the table, with your core tight and your body in line. Pause, then slowly lower to the starting position while breathing in. That's one rep. Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

Note: If this move is too difficult, changing your foot position can remove some of the bodyweight. Place your feet together with your legs at a 90-degree angle to perform your repetitions. If this move is too easy, position your feet on an elevated surface (like a chair) with your legs fully extended.

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2. Dolphin Kicks

Dolphin Kicks Bodyweight Exercise

Illustration by mbg Creative

How to: Begin by lying facedown on a table, with your hips at the edge, and your feet on the ground. Place your hands on the sides of the table to support yourself. Raise your feet off the ground with legs extended and toes pointing away from you. This is your starting position. Raise your legs, using your lower back and glutes while breathing out. Your legs should remain extended with your toes pointing away from you. Pause, holding the top position for a count of five. Slowly lower your legs to the starting position while breathing in. That's one rep. Complete 3 sets of 15 reps.

Note: If this exercise is too difficult, position the hips fully onto the table surface to increase trunk support

3. Superman Pull

Superman Pull Bodyweight Exercise

Illustration by mbg Creative

How to: Begin by lying facedown on the ground with your legs extended behind you, toes pointing down. Your arms will be extended overhead, with your palms facing down. Raise your chest, arms, and legs off the floor slightly. This is your starting position. Using your back, bring your elbows in toward your chest while breathing out. Pause, squeezing your back, and slowly return to the starting position while breathing in. That's one rep. Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

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4. Reverse Snow Angels

Reverse Snow Angel Bodyweight Exercise

Illustration by mbg Creative

How to: Begin by lying facedown on the ground with your legs extended behind you, toes pointing down. Your arms will be at your sides, with your palms facing the ground. Raise your chest and arms off the floor slightly. This is your starting position. Using your back, move your arms in a controlled arc motion, bringing them out to the side, then above your head. Pause, and slowly return to the starting position while breathing out. That's one rep. Do 3 sets of 15 reps.

5. Bird Dog

Bird Dog Bodyweight Exercise

Image by mbg Creative

How to: Begin on your hands and knees, with knees approximately hip-width apart and hands approximately shoulder-width apart. This is your starting position. Reach your right arm forward and your left leg back behind you while breathing out. Your right arm and left leg should be fully extended. Pause, then slowly return to the starting position while breathing in. That's one rep. Do 3 sets of 30 reps, switching sides with every rep.

Focusing on what we can control right now is key. We can choose to use this time to experiment at home and find fun, creative ways to train and challenge ourselves. Stay positive, and simply do the best you can with what you have available!

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