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Bodyweight Back Exercises



Pull-downs for lats and rows for the middle of the back. This is impossible to do at home with no gym equipment, right? RIGHT? Actually, there are some great bodyweight back exercises that you can do at home, on the road, or at the office that hit the same muscles that weights do in the gym. Let’s start with the most obvious: the wide-grip pull-up.

Wide-Grip Pull-up

In the gym, trainers use a combination of wide-grip pull-ups and lat pulldowns. Both of these hit the outer part of the lats. This is where you build the ‘V’. Now, when we’re talking about specific bodyweight back exercises, the wide-grip pull-up is a must. This alone offers a great lat workout. If doing a wide-grip pull-up with your bodyweight is too much, you can modify it placing your feet under the pull-up bar; you can give yourself as much support as you need to finish the pull-up. It’s better to use the support and make sure you nail your lats than to cheat the pull-ups by using other parts of your body.

Bodyweight Underhand Rows and Bodyweight Overhand Rows

Both are possible with a table edge. If you’re looking for more of a lat workout, then opt for the underhand row. For this variation, keep your body straight and lay your head under a table or any object that offers a ledge to hold on to. Grip onto the edge with an underhand grip and, keeping your body straight, pull yourself up toward the table. To hit the upper and middle back, use the overhand rows. You can lay the other direction, legs under the table, and grip the table with an overhand grip. Boom – you can do rows anywhere. Daily Spot has the best back workouts in the game: bodyweight, home gym, full equipment, all programs update every day. Start your one month trial today!

Parallel Close-Grip Pull-up

Hang on a parallel bar with your palms facing each other and arms shoulder-width apart. Pull until the bar reaches chin level and then pause.


Stability Ball Rollout

Start in front plank position with forearms on the ball, feet on the floor. Pull the ball towards you getting up into a pushup position. Roll ball back out and repeat.


Wide-Grip Pull-up

Hang on a bar with your hands more than shoulder width apart, palms away. Pull until the bar reaches chin level and then pause. Lower your body and repeat.


Machine Back Extension

Lie on back-extension machine with your body in a straight line. Cross your hands on your chest or place hands behind your head. Exhale and lift your chest up. Hold a moment and then slowly lower back down.



Dumbbell Back Exercises

Barbells and dumbbells both have unique abilities to isolate the back. One major difference with dumbbell exercises is a greater range of motion, which provides a nice benefit of isolating the back without having to engage other muscles. Here’s an example: when doing bent-over barbell rows, there are a lot of outside factors that could come into play. Your entire upper body must stay straight to full isolate the lats. You must have discipline not to engage the legs to help jumpstart the lifts. When opting for dumbbells, you could instead use the single-arm dumbbell row. It works the same muscle group, but here you have a bench supporting the rest of your body, allowing you to better isolate the back.


Barbell Back Exercises

No reason to bring up more workouts here than barbell rows and barbell deadlifts. These two barbell back exercises are the most common that you’ll see in the workout routines prepared by Daily Spot experts. They’re likely the most popular barbell back exercises that trainers user with their clients. Naturally, the barbell offers a less range of motion than the dumbbells. Don’t think that’s always a bad thing. It’s not. Once you find the right range of motion, the barbell will help to reinforce it. Once the form is perfected with a standard barbell row, a simple grip adjustment can hit an entirely different part of the back. In this case, having less range of motion is actually beneficial because it controls the motion of both arms simultaneously.