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If you want to strengthen your back muscles, you now have the opportunity.

In this article you will find out which bodyweight exercises are best for this.

You will also get tips on how to incorporate the exercises into your training.

Let’s get started!

Strengthening the back muscles is basically not a problem.

But first you should be clear about why you want to do this:

  • Do you want a more attractive rear view?
  • Do you want to get stronger?
  • Do you want to correct your posture?
  • Do you want to prevent complaints?
  • Do you already have complaints and want to get rid of them?

Maybe the reason for you is somewhere in the middle. Or is it a mixture of several factors. That’s perfectly fine too.

The only reason for exclusion from not starting the exercises now is if you currently have symptoms.

In the case of acute pain, you should consult a doctor to clarify the cause.

A physiotherapist can then help you to work specifically on your problem. Here you will find initial clues as to what your complaints could be.

In any case, follow my advice, even if you currently have no complaints.

All of the other reasons mentioned above for wanting to strengthen your back muscles are great. Get started!

Also think about why this reason is important to you? Would you like to correct your posture, for example, to have more self-esteem and be more self-confident?

Your why helps you to stay tuned to the training and is an important building block to get good habits through motivation.

Before we start with the exercises, one more note: When we talk about wanting to strengthen the back muscles, then the superficial back muscles are primarily meant. That is, the muscles that are also visible. At least as important, however, is the deeper layer of our back muscles (autochthonous back muscles), which are mainly strengthened by the coordinative demands of one-sided movements.

10 bodyweight exercises that strengthen your back muscles

With that we have already clarified the important points in advance and come to the exercises. Have fun with it!

1.  Bridge

Stressed muscles: You mainly train your back muscles (especially erector spinae muscles), but also your legs and upper arms (triceps brachi muscles).

The bridge – my favorite exercise when it comes to strengthening your back muscles.
Correct technique: For beginners, it is recommended to use the Po lifter. So just lie on your back, bend your legs and then lift your buttocks up, keeping your shoulders and arms on the floor. Later you can go to the bridge by tilting your head back from the supine position and pushing yourself up with your arms. If you get even better, you can even go into the gymnastics bridge and push yourself up with your hands until only your feet and hands are touching the floor. In the other exercises, the most important thing is to bend your back as much as possible. Since you do it with the help of your muscular strength, you have no injuries to fear. However, increase yourself a little more slowly than you might do with other exercises.

Common mistakes: Too shallow bend in the back (gets better over time), feet too far forward, hands too far away from the head

Required equipment: mat

2. Chin-up

Stressed muscles: You mainly train the front of the upper arm (M. biceps brachii and brachialis) and your broad back muscle (M. latissimus dorsi).

Correct technique: You can do pull-ups on the pull-up bar with different grip techniques. If you want to do more for your upper arms, the comb handle is the right choice. Your palms are facing you. I recommend the upper grip (instep grip) with the back of your hand facing you (like the other fingers, you can put your thumb over the bar or around the bar), because you can address your latissimus (broad back muscle) better . In any case, it is important that you use the full range of motion, i.e. go down into the slope (but keep your shoulders tense) and go as high as you can – at least with your head over the bar. If you can’t do this enough, a resistance band (I use the one from Via Fortis *) or switching to another exercise (e.g. reverse bench press) can help.

Here you can find more information about pull-ups.

Subscribing to my blog updates also helps in this case: In January a post on the topic “How do I do my first pull-up” goes online.

Common mistakes: Half repetitions (don’t go all the way down), work with leg swing. Concentrate on performing calm movements to counteract this.

Required equipment: Pull-up bar, possibly resistance band

3. Reverse bench press

Stressed muscles: You mainly train the front of your upper arm (M. biceps brachii and brachialis), your trapezius muscle (M. trapezius) and your broad back muscle (M. latissimus dorsi).

Correct technique: You may be familiar with the classic gym bench press. Well, in this exercise you don’t push, but – it’s the other way around – you pull yourself up to the bar, or in our case to the table. Make sure that you use the full range of motion and that your wrists are as in line with your forearms as possible.

Common mistakes: Half repetitions (i.e. don’t go all the way down), sagging of the upper body, etc.

Required equipment: Table (alternatively broom and armchair)

4.  Superman

Stressed muscles: You mainly train your back extensors (M. erector spinae), your shoulders (M. deltoideus) and your buttocks (M. gluteus maximus)

Common mistakes: Lie down and pause during the sentenceCorrect technique: You lie on your stomach and then raise your arms and legs at the same time as high as you can. Then slowly lower yourself back down (without laying your arms and legs completely on the floor) and start the next repetition.

Required equipment: mat

5. Eagle Wings

Worked muscles: An exercise for your upper back and your legs.

Correct technique: Stand in a slight straddle position and lean your stretched upper body forward. Then raise your stretched arms to the side so that you have to activate the muscles between your shoulder blades.

Then, put your weight on one leg and bend it as much as you can. Then switch sides.

You don’t need any equipment for this exercise.

6. Crab Reach

Stressed muscles: You not only strengthen your back (especially the erector spinae muscle), but also stretch your hip flexors a little. It is generally an anti-desk movement – ideal as a counterbalance for people who sit a lot.

Correct technique: The starting position is backwards in support.

Then you raise one hand backwards and push your hips up as far as you can.

Your gaze wanders towards the ground.

You don’t need any equipment for this exercise.

7. Wall Slide

Stressed muscles: The “wall glider” helps you to control the often neglected lower part of the hood muscle (trapezius muscle). This is also one of the most important muscles when it comes to avoiding a “hunched back” (so-called hyperkyphosis).

Correct technique: You can do the exercise while standing or, as in the video below, while sitting. Whatever you choose, lean your back against the wall and keep your elbows pressed into the wall the whole time.

Move your arms up and down between straight up and bent to the side. Hand and lower back do not have to touch the wall.

If you feel an increasingly intense burning sensation between your shoulder blades, you’re doing it right.

Do you have a hunchback? Then this article on will probably help you.

8. Floor scales

The floor scale is an often underestimated exercise.

Stressed muscles: It not only strengthens your back. No, but almost your entire body and also helps you to train your balance.

Correct technique: The classic floor scales work in such a way that you stand on one leg and lower your upper body forward while you stretch the other leg and lift it backwards. So that the upper body and the lifted leg form as one line as possible.

That’s pretty difficult at the beginning. That’s why I’ve linked a good video that explains the structure of the floor scale from beginner to advanced.

9. Plank

Who doesn’t know them. Good old Plank.

The forearm support can not only strengthen your abdominal muscles, it also helps you to keep your back strong.

Especially in the version that I am presenting to you here: The diagonal plank!

Stressed muscles: That would go beyond the scope. It’s a real full body exercise.

Correct technique: Use the forearm support on the floor. If you can’t do that yet, support yourself e.g. on an armchair or table – the higher the surface, the easier the exercise.

Then raise your left arm and right leg in the air at the same time and move both outward. Put down and switch sides, always staying in support.

10.  Pulling the door

Pulling the door should not be missing at any bodyweight back strengthening party.

Muscles under stress: You primarily train the front of your upper arm (M. biceps brachii and brachialis), your trapezius muscle (M. trapezius) and your broad back muscle (M. latissimus dorsi).

Correct technique: You tie your bath towel around the buckle of your door so that you can grab each end easily with one hand. Then you put your feet under the door handle and lean your upper body back. Depending on the degree of difficulty, your legs are in different bent positions (the more bent, the more difficult). Then you pull yourself to the door.

Frequent mistakes: Slipping away due to incorrect footwear or training with socks, getting up or stretching the legs when pulling forward, not a complete range of motion.

Required equipment: door, bath towel

Training recommendation to strengthen the back muscles

You can train your back muscles just like other muscles.

At the beginning, strength endurance training is recommended. Here you choose the level of difficulty of the exercises so that you can do 20 repetitions so as not to overwhelm your muscles. Later you can go into muscle building training or strength training by making the exercise so difficult that you can only manage a few repetitions with good technique.

If you want to train more generally and preventively against back problems, a back circle is recommended:

  • Choose your practice time: beginners e.g. 30 seconds, advanced e.g. 60 seconds
  • Choose your break time: beginners e.g. same length as the exercise, advanced e.g. half as long as the exercise or even shorter
  • Choose the exercises – for example the 10 presented here
  • Think how many rounds of the circle you want to make.
  • Start your timer and get started!

I have also found some of the exercises presented here in my e-book “P.A.T. Bodyweight Training ”is used. This means that you will be presented with 6 different difficulty levels so that you can choose the one that suits your fitness level.

Oh yes: If you strengthen your back, you shouldn’t forget your stomach: The 11 best abdominal muscle exercises to do at home.

I wish you a lot of fun with your training and a strong back!

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