Use this easy-to-perform routine to safely build a strong, lean, and sculpted back.
A strong back is key to preventing back pain and injury. Studies show that strengthening the muscles around the spine can significantly reduce back pain and help improve symptoms in patients suffering from chronic back pain. (1)
Living in a time where sitting hunched over a computer screen all day is the norm, it’s no surprise that chronic back pain is one of the most prevalent and expensive medical conditions today. By incorporating the right exercises into your routine, you can make your back and it’s supporting muscles both stronger and more flexible.
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When it comes to strengthening your back, there is no need to spend time and money on fancy gym memberships or equipment. Instead, you can use your bodyweight to develop strong, sculpted, and flexible back muscles from home or during breaks at the office. You can practice this workout up to three times a week.
You’ll need: a yoga mat or soft surface
Easy Bodyweight Back Workout
Baby Cobras | 10 reps
This yoga pose is great for warming up the spine and strengthening the muscles that surround it, sculpting your entire back.
- Start lying face down on your mat. Rest your forehead down and bend your elbows to place your palms on the mat next to your ribs. Untuck your toes and press the tops of your feet firmly into your mat.
- Inhale as you lift your forehead, chest, and palms off the mat. Keep your gaze down and forward so that your neck is long. Squeeze your elbows up and back.
- Exhale to slowly lower everything back down to the starting position.
- Repeat for 10 reps.
Swimming Superman | 8 reps
This exercise activates the lats and improves posture by strengthening the spinal muscles.
- Continue lying face down on your mat. Place your forehead down and reach your arms out in front of you, resting your palms face down.
- Inhale to lift your hands, arms, forehead, chest, and legs off the mat into a superman position.
- Then, keep everything lifted as you exhale, turn your palms outward and “swim” your arms back and down by your sides. Pause here and continue to lift up.
- Stay lifted and bend your elbows, then inhale and reach them back overhead to the start position. Exhale to lower everything down.
- Repeat for 8 reps.
Bird Dog | 12 reps
This basic exercise sculpts your back, shoulders, and booty.
- Start in a tabletop position. Stack your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees. Engage your abs and bring a neutral position in your pelvis.
- Inhale as you pick up your right hand and reach the right arm straight forward. At the same time, pick up your left leg and straighten it back behind you. Your right hand should be in line with your shoulder and your left foot should be in line with your hip.
- Hold here for a moment and feel your back, shoulders, and glutes working. Then, place the hand and the knee back down.
- Switch sides by using the alternate arm and leg, then continue alternating for a total of 12 repetitions.
Robot Bridge | 30 sec
This bridge variation strengthens the lower back and the muscles in between your shoulder blades.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent, your feet hip-width distance apart, toes pointing forward.
- Bend your elbows to 90 degrees so that your upper arms are on the mat and your fingers point up towards the sky.
- Inhale to slowly lift your hips up to come into a bridge. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and press down through your triceps. Engage your lower ab muscles. Relax your glutes so that your back is doing most of the work.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then gently release.
Rowing Plank | 10 reps per side
This plank variation strengthens your core and sculpts your upper back and shoulders.
- Start in a high plank position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your feet separated a little wider than hip-width distance. Make sure your hips can stay in line with your shoulders. If you feel any strain in your lower back, rest your knees on the ground.
- Shift your weight into your left hand and inhale to bend your right elbow, “rowing” it up towards the sky. Squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top. Then, exhale to place the hand back down.
- Switch sides, then continue alternating for 10 reps per side. Try to keep your abs square to the floor the entire time.
Modified Staggered Push-Up | 8 reps per side
This push-up variation tones and sculpts the upper back and shoulders.
- Start in a modified plank position with your knees on the ground. Keep a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Cross your ankles.
- Stagger your arms, bringing your right hand forward two inches and your left hand back two inches.
- Inhale to bend your elbows to come into a push-up. Your right elbow should point out and your left elbow should point back. Exhale to press back up and straighten your arms.
- Repeat for 8 reps, then switch sides by staggering your arms with your left hand forward and your right hand back.
Single Leg Bow | 30 sec per side
This exercise will give you a strong, sexy back and core.
- Lie on your belly with your forehead resting down.
- Reach your left arm above your head and your right arm back alongside your body. Bend your right knee and catch a hold of your foot.
- Inhale to kick your right foot up and back into your hand. At the same time lift your left arm, turning the palm inward, as well as your head, chest, and left leg. Point your left toes back.
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then gently release and lower down. Switch sides.
Standing Backbend | 10 reps
This exercise strengthens and tones the lats, rhomboids, and erector spinae – the muscles that run along the spine – to create a lean, toned back.
- Start standing up with your feet hip-width distance apart. Engage your abs and bring a slight bend into your knees.
- Reach your arms above your head with your palms facing forward.
- Take a deep inhale, then exhale and bend your elbows to 90 degrees. Squeeze your elbows and shoulder blades back and down. At the same time, lift up with your chest to come into a slight backbend.
- Inhale to reach back up, straightening your spine. Repeat for 10 reps.
Modified Camel | 3 reps
This exercise strengthens your entire core, opens your chest, and sculpts your back.
- Kneel on your mat with your knees hips-width distance apart or a little wider. Engage your abs and inner thighs.
- Place your palms on your lower back with your fingers pointing upward. Squeeze your shoulder blades together to feel an opening through your chest.
- Press down with your palms and inhale to lift your chest up and back to come into a slight backbend. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then use your abs to rise back up and straighten your spine.
- Repeat for 3 reps.
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