The back of a human body is the column that supports your entire being, so it’s only natural that people perform bodyweight back exercises to make sure they’re strong. The muscles on our back also look extremely attractive when they’re pumped, so that’s just another reason.
The bodyweight back exercises are special forms of training that can be done with or without equipment (weights, medicine ball, etc.) and these exercises help us develop the muscle structure on our back.
We will be talking about some of the best bodyweight exercises, who are they best for, how to properly do them, and more, so stick around if you want to find out.
Who Are Bodyweight Back Exercises Best For?
Some basic workout exercises are recommended for virtually anyone while there are some specific exercises that are recommended for certain categories of people. Of course, everyone could benefit from them, but some people actually “need” them. These categories are:
It’s only fitting that bodybuilders are the first to benefit from this kind of exercises – these people need to get as much muscle mass as possible. They simply like feeling good and looking good. As we’ve mentioned before, the back muscles are extremely attractive. They are often the trump card of every bodybuilder.
Bodybuilders also go through rigorous training regimes, and they often do intermediate and expert level workouts and exercises. This is one of the main reasons why their back muscles look so cool. Some of the most famous bodybuilders are:
- Kevin Levrone
- Lou Ferrigno
- Dennis Wolf
- Lee Haney
- Johnnie O. Jackson
- Flex Wheeler, and of course
- Arnold Schwarzenegger
2. Combat Sports/Athletes
In this category, we have two possibilities – athletes and combat sport practitioners either work hard to develop their back muscles or they have them as the result of their hard training. Basically, it’s pure math – muscles are added to your overall weight, so it’s natural that some people want to “fill up” on as much as they can (more muscles = less fat).
Combat sports practitioners often go through extreme training regimes (just like Bodybuilders, but the procedure is much different), and this often gives them a well-balanced muscle structure. Most of the time, they need muscles covering the majority of their skin to act as shields and pads against blows.
Athletes, on the other hand, often don’t train their back muscles in particular, unless they’re practicing heavy-lifting or similar sports. Most athletes got their back muscles as a “side effect” of their hard work and training.
3. People with severe back problems
Posture issues, spinal problems, and similar health issues are often the concern of the people with severe back problems. Some of these diseases are hereditary while some are actually “earned” due to sedentary lifestyle, incorrect posture, and other. Some of these problems include:
- Adult Scoliosis
- Cauda Equina Syndrome
- Cervical Herniated Disc
- Compression and Wedge Spinal Fractures
- Tailbone pain
If you’re experiencing any of the aforementioned problems, you should visit your doctor as soon as possible – he (or she) will give you the instructions on the best back exercises for you.
4. Elderly People
As people age, they tend to follow the gravity down – everything seems a bit harder, the nerves are more sensitive, and the bones get more brittle. Since the spine supports our whole weight, it’s one of the organs that’s most susceptible to damage over time – this means that the spine is the first to suffer. This may cause elderly people some pain, but there’s no need for alarm.
Elderly people are human too, and they can exercise in the same way that the younger people can and should – the only difference is in the quantity and quality of their exercises. These people shouldn’t strain themselves too much, and they also shouldn’t spend too much time doing anything in particular.
You might not know this, but there are special gyms for elderly people that are specialized in providing help and information on the best back exercises for them. Some of these exercises include:
- Eccentric Straight Leg Raise
- Bent Knee Raise
- Curl Ups
- Cat and Camel
- Back Extension
What are the benefits of Bodyweight Back Exercises?
You can easily deduce that one of the main benefits of doing bodyweight back exercises is that you’ll pump up your back muscles and get in shape. However, there are tons of other benefits you can take advantage from:
You will improve your posture/Spinal health
Sedentary lifestyle (if you sit through most of the day) is the back-killer. No matter how comfortable your chair might be, your back’s natural position isn’t the “sitting one”. A healthy back requires you to be on the move, to walk, jog, and run.
One of the best advantages that the bodyweight back exercises can offer you includes the improved posture & spinal health. We should also mention that no amount of exercising can right the wrong caused by such a lifestyle – you should consider spending less time sitting and more time walking.
The posture is the way we hold our back when we’re walking or standing in an upright position – there’s a dispute of whether or not “sitting” should be included. These exercises can minimize the damage to your back and help you get the posture with an optimal angle.
Skill up faster
Since your back is the “pillar that supports your whole weight” (as we’ve mentioned earlier), it’s quite obvious that you use it for the vast majority of actions – from simply standing still to calisthenics. Having a firm, strong back might help you do things faster and better.
Lifting things will no longer be a problem
You may think that your hands do all the work when you lift something, but you’d be wrong – it’s your back. Think of it this way – having a weak back will often give you back aches and cramps. Moving out, helping, and any job that includes lifting won’t be a problem to anyone who has a firm back.
What is the composition of your back muscles?
Ever wondered how are the muscles on your back called? Most of us who lack professional medicinal terminology simply say “back & spine”, but there are a whole bunch of these muscles. Let’s discuss it further:
Lats – Latissimus Dorsi
Latin expression for “The Broadest Muscle of the back”. You use this muscle for extension and transverse extension (horizontal abduction) and internal rotation of your shoulder joint. Plainly speaking – Pulling with your right hand towards your right ribcage section strains this muscle.
Traps – Trapezius
Trapezius got its name after the geometrical figure which it resembles. Essentially, this “connection” of muscles start from the beginning of your neck and go all the way down to the half of your spine, extending to the beginning of your left shoulder, and connecting back via your left-side of the neck.
Latin word for “the Rounded Muscle”. It attaches itself to your scapula and humerus and it’s considered to be very thick. Most people think that these muscles are somehow connected to your Trapezius muscle section, but that’s wrong, even though they’re extremely close.
Plainly speaking, the Deltoid Muscle group is also called “shoulder muscle group” by people who aren’t well-versed in medicine. Your shoulders are very delicate, mainly because they consist of various smaller fibers (“heads” in medicinal terminology”).
Another mathematical back muscle, the Rhomboid is called that way because it’s actually a “rhomboid” that connects your right-side spatula muscle points. Oddly enough, we don’t have this muscle on our left-side.
This muscle group is quite hard to define -it actually overlaps the Trapezoid muscle group, and they’re located in the upper extremity, connecting to the vertebral column.
What are the best bodyweight back exercises?
There are various groups of bodyweight exercises that are separated by their function (and by the muscles they strain). Some exercises are ideal for your stamina, some are pretty good overall, and some will give you a significant boost to your strength.
1. Muscle Endurance Bodyweight Exercises
Whenever we exercise, our muscles strain and hurt. They rejuvenate while we rest as they prepare themselves for the increased amount of pressure in the future. This is one of the main reasons why fitness trainers accentuate “coming to the training regularly”.
Every type of exercise is able to improve your muscle endurance – it’s just that some exercises can do it faster. Some of the best muscle endurance bodyweight exercises are:
- Horizontal pull-up
Everyone’s favorite, the horizontal pull-up is often associated with the majority of back exercises. Your feet should rest firmly on the bench (reducing the weight you are about to lift), pull the weight, and slowly back it down. This allows for easy repetitions, and that’s why it’s so cool for your muscle endurance.
- Squat pull-up
Squats are generally extremely good for your back (only if your back is straight, though), and they make you work your legs too. Now, a squat pull-up might be easier to do when compared to a standard pull-up, but they’re ideal for muscular endurance buildup. Repetitions are easy, and the results apparent.
2. Strength Bodyweight Back Exercises
Most people get the idea that big muscles often mean great strength – wrong. Your strength is very easily determined by how easily you put up with a high level of muscle stress (for comparison: the fatigue is measured by how long you can put up with it). There are certain exercises that could improve the amount of stress your muscles can withstand:
- One arm pull-up
This one is extremely hard, mainly because it puts an enormous amount of strength in your arm. This exercise is very frustrating, as it might take months before you could do a single one, let alone more.
- Front lever pull-up
The position alone is incredibly demanding, and performing a pull-up will hurt like hell in the beginning. This is, however, one of the best strength back bodyweight exercises ever.
- The Classic Pull-up
Even kids these days are performing these exercises, and they’re ideal for everyone because they get harder as you get heavier. It’s no surprise that kids who barely weigh 50kg can do a whole set of 10 reps and heavier people struggle with 5. This exercise is always interesting, and it should be done whenever possible.
Ideal bodyweight back exercises that can be done without any equipment
Surely enough, you’ve seen professional bodybuilders in movies as they flex their muscles in a gym next to high-end gear and equipment. This way of commercializing the bodybuilding culture often gives people the wrong idea – you can get your back pumped up, straight, and strong – even if you don’t go to the gym.
There’s a whole list of exercises that can be done without any equipment or gear whatsoever, and they’re equally capable of improving your back-muscle condition as the ones that require special equipment.
Some of the best are:
- Reverse Snow Angels
All you need to do is lay on the ground with your face down, legs straight (support yourself with your toes). This exercise got the name because you’d be making snow angels if you just rolled over. Remain in this position and stretch your arms above your shoulders and above your head. Return them slowly without them touching the ground and repeat.
Every country has its own name for this exercise, but there was a silent consensus about the universal name – Superman. You don’t need to fly, don’t worry, but you need to lie still face-down, raising your legs and arms simultaneously.
We’ve seen what some of the best bodyweight back exercises are, we’ve mentioned who are they ideal for, how to do them, and how they affect your muscles. We hope that this article helped you in any way, and we’re just going to give you the last piece of advice for the closing words.
If your back starts to ache during any of these exercises, stop immediately. Back pain is nothing compared to severe issues that can occur at a later point.