If you’re all about bringing sexy back with a sexy back, you’ve come to the right place. These bodyweight workouts for your back will strengthen the key muscles to prevent hunched shoulders and lower back issues without any complicated gym equipment or weights.

Don’t be nervous about getting started. These 15 bodyweight workouts recommended by certified personal trainers will have your back.


Soulja Boy, Tell’em the Superman isn’t just a crowd-pleasing dance move. With this simple exercise, you can rock your lower and upper back, abs, glutes, and shoulders.

Do it right:

  1. Lie facedown with arms outstretched in front of you.
  2. Lift arms and legs off the floor simultaneously, creating a stretch down your back.
  3. Hold for a few seconds, then lower back to the floor.

Aim for 3 sets of 8–10 reps.

Pro tips:

  • Avoid looking up, which can uncomfortably stretch your neck.
  • Lie on a comfortable surface like a yoga mat or carpet.

Prone pull

Getting tired of the Superman? That’s like a toddler getting tired of crawling — you’re meant for bigger and better things, like THE PRONE PULL!

Sorry if that name was a bit of a letdown (sometimes all-caps can’t fix everything), but this exercise can give you some impressive back and shoulder results.

Do it right:

  1. Start in the Superman position.
  2. Raise your arms and chest off the floor.
  3. Pull both arms back toward your ribs, keeping elbows up to form a W shape.
  4. Extend arms back out and lower your body to the floor.

Aim for 3 sets of 10 reps.

Pro tip: Keep your body stable by squeezing your glutes and abs.

Glute bridge

If you want to strengthen your lower back while building up that back, you won’t want to skip this move.

Do it right:

  1. Lie faceup with hands on the floor near your hips for balance.
  2. Push through heels and tighten glutes to raise your butt off the floor.
  3. Drive your hips up until shoulders, hips, and knees are in a straight line.
  4. Keeping abs engaged, slowly lower to the floor.

Aim for 3 sets of 10–12 reps.

Pro tip: Keep your abs engaged to avoid overextending your back.

Cobra Pose

The Cobra strengthens your abs, back, and legs in one move. Bonus points if you hiss at the top of each rep.

Do it right:

  1. Lie facedown. Spread your hands on the floor, keeping elbows tucked tightly into body.
  2. Press hips and legs firmly into the floor and push into hands to lift your torso.
  3. Hold for 15–30 seconds.

Try for 3 sets of 3–5 reps.

Pro tips:

  • Reduce the strain on your elbows and neck by pointing your elbows back, not out.
  • Don’t try to get more lift than you’re ready for — go slow, and don’t strain at the top.

Reverse snow angel

Like the snow angels you used to do growing up but without quite as much childlike bliss, reverse snow angels will have your lats working like the (snow) devil.

Do it right:

  1. Lie facedown with your arms at your sides.
  2. Lift arms and shoulders a few inches off the floor.
  3. Slowly move your hands past your shoulders and overhead.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position.

Aim for 3 sets of 10 reps.

Pro tips:

  • Keep your elbows straight and arms reaching long throughout the movement.
  • Put on your reverse snow suit — whatever that means.

Plank row

If you’ve done too many planks and you’re getting bored of being a board, introduce this little twist to switch it up. You’ll really feel the burn in your back and midsection.

Do it right:

  1. Start in plank position on your hands.
  2. Lift one arm, leading with your elbow in a rowing motion, then lower your arm.
  3. Repeat on the other side.

Alternate arms for 30–60 seconds.

Pro tips:

  • Don’t let your butt sag (for now and forever).
  • Avoid swinging from side to side.
  • Focus on using your lats to lift your arms. Imagine you’re pulling something heavy off the floor.

Band pulldown

You won’t get let down by the band pulldown. In this deceptively simple move, all you need is a resistance band to put your back to work.

Do it right:

  1. Secure the band in a doorframe at or above shoulder height.
  2. With your arm extended at shoulder height, grip the band.
  3. Brace your core and squeeze your glutes.
  4. Pull down using your lat muscle, with elbow straight, until hand is at waist height.
  5. Return to the starting position.

Do 3 sets of 10 reps, or until you can’t do any more.

Pro tip: To ensure that your lat is doing the work, keep your shoulder from creeping up toward your ear.

Band row

Can’t get to a rowing machine at the gym? A band row just might row your boat. It’s just as good at pumping your back and biceps, and all you need is a resistance band and a solid place to wrap it around.

Do it right:

  1. Loop a resistance band or tube around an immovable object in front of you (like a post, pole, or doorframe.)
  2. Sit or stand upright with a neutral spine, holding one end of the band in each hand.
  3. Pull back on the band, keeping your elbows near your hips.

Aim for 3 sets of 12–15 reps.

Pro tip: Make this move harder by slowing it down and pausing in the contracted position.

Inverted row/TRX row

It can be tempting to look at someone else doing this exercise and think, “I could do 100 of those, easy.” But you’ll be surprised how intense of a back/biceps burn this move can give you just by using your own bodyweight.

Do it right:

  1. Grab the handles or bar with your palms facing each other. Keeping elbows tucked in at sides and your weight in your heels, lean back to form a straight line from heels to head.
  2. Lower yourself down from the bar or handles, then use your back and biceps to pull back up to the starting position.

Aim for 3 sets of 5–8 reps.

Pro tips:

  • Maintain a tight core so your hips don’t sag.
  • Pretend you’re squeezing a pencil between your shoulders.
  • To make a MacGyver-esque TRX substitute, you can tie a knot in the middle of a bedsheet and close it on the other side of a door.

Inverted row with elevated feet

As if the inverted row weren’t hard enough, you can turn up the pain and crush your abs, back, and biceps with this advanced version.

Do it right:

  1. Grip a bar or TRX handles from below, with palms facing your feet, and elevate both feet on a bench or chair.
  2. Pull your chest toward your hands, then lower back down.

Try for 2–3 sets of 12–15 reps.

Pro tips:

  • Don’t let your hips sag.
  • Squeeze your glutes to keep good posture.


Yes, chin-ups are super hard, but you can build up to a chin-up by doing just the eccentric/lowering portion of the exercise or by doing inverted rows with elevated feet.

Do it right:

  1. Grip the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart, palms facing your body.
  2. Don’t move your lower body around too much — try to use as much core and upper-body strength as possible.
  3. Pull your body until your chin is above the bar, mostly using your back muscles.
  4. Slowly lower yourself down.

Complete as many reps as you can!

Pro tips:

  • Lean back slightly and pull your shoulders down to recruit your lats.
  • To help lighten your load, tie an exercise band in a loop over the bar and put your knee through it.

Wide-grip pull-up

Don’t do this one for the first time in front of your boo. Even if you can do 10 normal pull-ups, there’s no guarantee you can do even 2 wide-grip pull-ups.

  1. Grab the bar with palms facing away from you, hands set wider than your shoulders.
  2. Slide your shoulders down and pull chest toward the bar. (Try not to kick or swing your legs!)
  3. Lower yourself back down.

Aim for 3 sets of at least 8 reps.

Pro tips:

  • Maintain a natural position in your back.
  • Straighten your arms completely at the bottom.
  • Want more difficulty? Strap on a heavy backpack.

Eccentric-focus pull-up

The eccentric-focus pull-up is a seriously useful exercise if you want to activate your back muscles, and you don’t even have to reach full pull-up status to do this mega-intense, next-day-crying type of move.

Do it right:

  1. Do a regular pull-up.
  2. Lower yourself down slowly, with a 3-to-5-second count, before doing another rep.

Pro tips:

  • Don’t thrust. Focus on lowering as slowly as humanly possible.
  • You can skip the pull-up part of this move, if needed. Just jump up to get your chin over the bar and slowly lower down.

Eccentric-focus chin-up

Just like the pull-up variation, the eccentric-focus chin-up strengthens your entire back, but it does so while also chiseling your biceps.

Do it right:

  1. Do a regular chin-up.
  2. Lower down with a 3-second count before doing another rep.

Pro tip: Extend your arms fully before repeating.


This is one of the hardest, most unobtainable exercises known to the world of recreational weightlifters. You basically explode so hard through a pull-up that your body sails over the bar and you glide effortlessly into a dip, throwing the majority of your body over the bar.

Sound cool? Yes. Sound impossible? Almost. (If you can do 10+ pull-ups, you can do a muscle-up.)

Do it right:

  1. Start in a pull-up position and swing your legs gently forward to build momentum.
  2. Once your legs are swinging back, pull up as explosively as you can while tucking your knees toward your chest — this will help you swing up and around the bar. (Not done yet, though!)
  3. As you’re moving your chest over and around the bar, perform a dip to push yourself all the way to the top of the exercise — arms locked out, knees hanging just below the bar.
  4. Lower yourself back down.

Pro tips:

  • Practice pull-ups, dips, and swinging your knees while hanging from the bar.
  • Don’t be afraid to kick and swing your legs on this chin-up variation: You’ll need the momentum to assist your muscles here.
  • Keep your arms locked into your sides on the dip.

First things first: Know thyself. Your perfect workout has to be a good combination of rational and aspirational. You wouldn’t want to settle for 10 minutes of Supermans if you’re a newbie, but you definitely wouldn’t want to include muscle-ups in there, either.

As a general rule, your workouts should combine pull-down and row movements. The pull-downs are “width” exercises, while the rows build thickness and density, says Pete Gaffney, founder and head trainer at PGPT.

And before you start any workout routine, remember the advice of your fifth grade gym teacher: Don’t forget to warm up! In this case, our gym teacher is James Shapiro, an NYC-based certified personal trainer.

“Be sure to warm up your shoulders and activate your deep core muscles before any of these exercises,” says Shapiro. “This will help you get the most of your workout and prevent injury.”