You already know the toughest back bodyweight exercises require, at the very least, a pull up bar.
But what if you don’t have one?
I’ve been traveling a lot for the last 2 weeks, and every hotel gym I visited was missing a pull up bar.
Let’s agree on this – your upper back is the most challenging muscle group to train without equipment…
And here’s the thing… any bodyweight push, squat, lunge or ab exercise can progressively train every other muscle group in your body without equipment – except your back. Damn it.
Remember, to gain muscular strength, you need significant load and tension in the muscle, and ultra high rep, fast work does not provide this.
But if you don’t have significant load, how can you at least build tension without equipment?
A fast and furious pace with little rest isn’t the only way to get sexy results. Slowing down your tempo and holding still can actually make your workouts more effective.
You can improve your technique on tough exercise positions, plus build tendon and ligament strength with isometric training.
So what bodyweight back exercise can you do if you have zero equipment – or if you’re travelling?
Try these 5 beginner exercises. Be warned… It’s not as easy as it looks!
1. Prone Cobra
Don’t be surprised if you struggle with this initially. I remember the first time I tried it… it was the longest 30 seconds of my life.
While this exercise helps to develop the strength of the spinal muscles, it’s also highly effective at tightening your abdominal muscles.
Here’s how to do it – and make sure you point your thumbs up to the ceiling so that you target the back of your arms. Try 3 sets of 30 seconds, with a 30 second rest between sets.
2. Single Leg RDL with T-Squeeze
Want to work every muscle on the back of your body – at the same time?
Of course you do.
This is a fun hybrid exercise that I created, that works your entire posterior chain (the fancy word for muscle groups on the back of your body).
Take your time, concentrate on nailing the form and make sure to hold the position for at least 5 seconds. That’s the isometric part where you build tension. Do 2-3 sets of 10 reps on each leg to start with, taking a 30 seconds rest between sets.
3. Hard Style Plank
If you think the plank is just a boring core exercise… wait until you try this.
Here’s the trick to firing up your back muscles. You need to engage your lats, by locking your shoulders down and back.
So once you get into plank position on your forearms, think of pulling your elbows toward your pockets so that your chin is directly above your thumbs. Hold it for 30-45 seconds and do 2 sets.
Now that’s how you build tension in your back… and boy, you will be drenched in sweat…
4. Stick Up
If you sit at a computer all day, and have rounded shoulders with your head in the forward position, this might be a very challenging exercise for you…
The hardest part is keeping your shoulder, elbows and wrists in contact with the wall as you slide your arms up and down the wall.
This brings your shoulder blades down and back, and you should feel a strong contraction in the muscles between your shoulders blades. Try 10-12 reps, for 3 sets with 30 seconds rest between sets.
No, this has nothing to do with flying or Superman Halloween costumes.
It’s just a fantastic bodyweight exercise that can tighten up your back, shoulders, hamstrings and butt all in one big bang. Try 12-15 reps, for 3 sets with 30 seconds rest between sets.
It’ll work you like crazy!
Super Back Circuit Challenge
You can do any of these exercises between sets, or you can string them together for a super bodyweight back circuit.
Do each exercise for 30-45 seconds, with a 15 seconds rest between moves.
If you want a step-by-step program to tone and tighten your arms and back, then check this out:
What’s your favorite bodyweight back exercise that requires zero equipment?
Let me know in the comments box below the post…