Bodyweight and free weight back exercises are more effective than machine exercises. This means that you can effectively train back muscles at home. Of course, for back workout a horizontal bar and dumbbells are necessary, and if there is also a bar, training will become much more diverse and harder.
How to Build Back Muscle at Home?
The first condition for effective training is equipment. Unfortunately, you can’t thoroughly load your back muscles with dumbbells only. To build back muscles, you need to continuously increase the working weight. If the working weight is 12 kg, it is good for 6-8 workouts. Then you need to increase the load.
To build muscle, you need to choose weight so that you can do no more than 12 repetitions in the set
The 10 Best Back Exercises at Home
1. Bent-Over Dumbbell Row
- Grab two dumbbells of the same weight and lean forward.
- Bend your knees and keep your back straight without rounding your lower back.
- Lower your straight arms.
- Exhale, pull the dumbbells to the waist, moving your elbows along the body.
- At the top point, squeeze the shoulder blades together, increasing muscle contraction, and gently lower the dumbbells as you inhale.
When pulling dumbbells, do not swing the body. Try to pull the weight with the muscles of the back, not the arms.
2. One-Arm Dumbbell Row
For this exercise you will need a horizontal surface, such as a bench or a chair.
- Place your knee and outstretched hand on the bench, and bend forward until your back is parallel to the floor.
- Grab the dumbbell with your right hand.
- As you exhale, row the dumbbell toward your waistline.
- At the top point, the shoulder turns slightly towards the working arm.
- Inhale, slowly lower your hand.
After completing the required number of repetitions on the right hand, repeat on the other side.
3. Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
Although Romanian deadlift targets the buttocks and biceps femoris, this is a basic exercise that develops back muscles, strengthens the corset and posture. You can’t build a strong back without basic exercises.
- Grab the dumbbells, place your feet shoulder-width apart, slightly bending your knees. Keep your back straight.
- Inhale, bend the body forward, lower the dumbbells to about the middle of the lower leg.
- Be careful, do not round your back.
- As you exhale, lift the body back without bending backward in the lower back.
4. Wide Grip Pull-Ups
Exercise is performed on the horizontal bar. You can do it both at home and outdoors. Wide grip allows you to build a wide, V-shaped back.
- Grab the bar with a wide grip, bend your knees.
- Exhale, pull your rounded chest upwards towards the bar, trying to touch it with your chest.
- At the top point, squeeze the shoulder blades together.
- While inhaling, slowly lower, fully straightening your elbows.
If you can’t do many repetitions, it’s okay. The main thing is to do as much as you can in one set.
5. Сlose Grip Pull-Ups
This type of pull-ups helps build a thick back. Biceps is also worked in the exercise. But it is important to perform pull-ups due to the the back muscles.
- Grasp the horizontal bar with a reverse grip.
- Bend your knees. Exhale, pull yourself to the crossbar.
- As you inhale, slowly lower body back down to starting position.
Do as many reps as you can. If your bodyweight is too light and you can easily do more than 12 repetitions, you can add weight. For example, you can use a dip belt.
6. Plank Dumbbell Front Raise
The static version of the plank is an excellent way to strengthen even the smallest back muscles. But here a dynamic plank variation is presented, which is performed with light dumbbells.
- Take dumbbells in your hands and place them on the floor under the shoulder joints. Feet are shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your body straight. Tighten the muscles of the back and abdomen to prevent bending in the lower back.
- During the exercise, only shoulder joints move.
- As you exhale, raise your straight right arm in front of you.
- Inhale, lower your right hand, and in the same way raise your left hand, continuing to alternate movements for the same number of repetitions.
7. Plank with Opposite Arm & Leg Raise
The more advanced variation of the previous exercise is a balance plank. Here you need to simultaneously raise the opposite leg and hand. Thus, in the exercise, all stabilizer muscles work, that improve body balance and coordination.
If home equipment is limited to dumbbells, you can do the exercises with bodyweight. Perform the exercise alternately, the same number of repetitions on each side.
8. Lying Hyperextension
This exercise strengthens the muscles that stabilize the spine, muscles of the back and buttocks, and the muscles of the abdomen, which must be kept in static tension the whole exercise. Despite the simplicity of the exercise technique, it is rather difficult to perform properly. The muscles in the exercise are loaded no worse than in barbell exercises.
- Lie on your stomach, straining the abs muscles.
- Keep the feet the shoulder-width apart. Stretch your arms in front of you. You can also hold them along the body if it is hard to do the exercise.
- Exhale, keeping the abs tense. Raise both the hips and the thoracic region from the floor to the maximum height that the back muscles can reach without excess deflection in the lumbar region. Do not rush, do the exercise slowly.
- Inhale, slowly return to the original position. In this exercise, the more repetitions you do, the better.
9. Barbell Good Morning
For this exercise, you need a barbell. If you can’t do the exercise, you can replace it with Romanian deadlift with dumbbells. Select the weight. If there are no power racks at home, carefully lift the barbell from the floor with a flat spine. Bend your elbows and put the barbell on the top of your chest. Then lift the barbell overhead on straight arms and lower it to the top of the trapezius muscle below the seventh protruding cervical vertebra.
Make sure that the bar does not slide down your neck.
- Place your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees.
- As you inhale, lower the body so it is parallel to the floor. Do not round the back.
- The bodyweight should move from the entire foot to the heel. Bend at the hips until your hamstring muscles start to limit your movement.
- Exhale, return to the original position. In this phase the lumbar extensors work the most.
- Do the required number of reps.
10. Bent-Over Barbell Row
- Barbell row is similar to the first exercise with dumbbells, therefore, without a barbell at home, the exercise is easy to replace. Lift the barbell from the floor, grasping the bar with the neutral grip with hands shoulder width apart.
- Lower the body, bending forward with a flat spine. Lower your straight arms down.
- Exhale, row the weight up till the lower abdomen. Inhale, lower your arms down.
- At the upper point, squeeze the shoulder blades together, contracting the back muscles. At the lower point, fully stretch them.
Back Workout Routine at Home
Warm-up for 5-7 minutes.
- Wide Grip Pull-Ups: 3-4 sets x 6-12 reps.
- Сlose Grip Pull-Ups: 3-4 sets x 6-12 reps.
- Bent-Over Barbell Row or Bent-Over Dumbbell Row: 3-4 sets x 6-12 reps.
- One-Arm Dumbbell Row: 3-4 sets x 6-12 reps.
- Plank: 3-4 sets x 12-24 reps.
- Lying Hyperextension: 3-4 sets x 15-20 reps.
Cooldown: stretching the muscles of the back.
Do from 3 to 4 sets with a 1.5-2-minute rest. You can train according to this program once a week, it will be enough. Since the back muscles are large, they need more time to recover. For back training, it is not necessary to have a barbell or a cable machine. The main thing is to have dumbbells and work with bodyweight. Of course, pull ups is the best option if you want to build your back muscles, but don’t have any equipment.